Considering Culture (II)

Introduction

I’m not going to introduce any new material today. Instead, you’ll have a chance to put into practice the things we have been talking about over the last few weeks by studying one or more of the following examples on your own.

Example 1

“Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple,” (Mat 4:5)

There are cultural and geographical factors that will enrich your understanding of this verse. Use the tools and techniques we have discussed to answer the following questions:

  • Where is the holy city?
  • Why did Satan tempt Jesus to cast Himself down from a pinnacle of the temple?
  • If Satan was trying to destroy Christ, wouldn’t it have made more sense to tempt Him to jump from the top of an exceeding high mountain (Mat 4:8), than from the pinnacle of the temple?

Example 2

“Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.” (Mat 5:38-41)

Research the history behind this passage and use what you find to help answer the following questions:

  • Who established the an eye for an eye rule?
  • Whose idea was compel thee to go a mile rule?
  • Was Jesus saying these rules were not valid? If not, what was Jesus’ point about both these laws?

Example 3

“Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.” (Mat 6:1-4)

The Lord didn’t have to explain the concept of alms to His original audience. What did they know that we don’t? Research the culture and answer the following questions:

  • What were alms?
  • Why would people sound a trumpet when they did alms?

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