Understanding the Difficult Words of Jesus
The Golden VineBy Dr. Richard Booker
Modern scholars have greater access to documents and research developmentsrelating to first-century Judaism than at any other time in history. Many scholars, whoonly a few years ago were trying to disprove the Bible, are now working together togain a better understanding of the ancient culture in which Jesus lived. Archaeologicalfinds have become so plentiful that some have hailed these times as the beginning ofa golden age of biblical archaeology.
All of these discoveries have not only given us further proof of the veracity of theBible, but have given us a greater understanding of the period in which Jesus livedout His life on the earth and further evidence of the Jewishness of His teaching. Hewas Jewish and His teachings reflect His Jewishness.
The church at Rome was admonished by Paul that the Christian faith was neverintended to be a repudiation of its Jewish roots, but rather, the engrafted GentileChurch was actually a branch that grew out of these roots (Rom. 11:18). The essenceof these teachings is that without Judaism there would be no Christianity.
Perhaps the most convincing evidence of the thorough-going Jewishness of Jesus isHis method of teaching. Over the past fifty years, studies of the Jewish nature of theearly Church have brought to light many new insights into the first century docu-ments, especially concerning the idioms and Galilean teaching methods of Jesus. Inthese articles we will study some of the more common idioms in the life of Jesus andHis disciples.
An interesting Jewish concept can be seen in the illustration of the True Vine in John15:1.
Jesus said, "I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser."
At the time of Jesus, a golden grapevine was draped across the four columns at theentrance to the Temple. Josephus records that its beauty was such that it was knownas a marvel of size and artistry to all who saw with what costliness of material it hadbeen constructed.
The Mishnah says that people would sometimes make a freewill offering by purchas-ing a golden leaf, berry, or cluster which the priests would then attach to this vine.
Often those who gave generously to the Temple had their names inscribed on thegolden leaves. This was a custom that all were familiar with in Jerusalem.
When Jesus depicted Himself as the True Vine, He was undoubtedly contrastingHimself with this artificial vine, suggesting that if the disciples would offer them-selves to Him to the degree that people offered their substance to this goldensymbol, the result would be abundant spiritual fruit.
As modern believers, we can sometimes focus on the religious symbol representedby the golden vine and miss the true vine of Messiah's life. May we always seek theLord Himself rather than religious activities that might make us feel good but do nothelp us walk with God.
About Dr. Richard BookerRichard Booker, MBA, Ph.D., is an ordained Christian minister, President of Sounds of theTrumpet, Inc., and the Founder/Director of the Institute for Hebraic-Christian Studies.
He is the author of thirty books which are used by churches and Bible schools around theworld. He has also developed many seminars and Bible college level courses and writes regu-larly for Christian magazines.
Dr. Booker has traveled extensively for over thirty years teaching in churches and at confer-ences on various aspects of the Christian life as well as Israel and the Hebraic roots of Christianity.
Dr. Booker and his wife, Peggy, lead yearly tour groups to Israel where, for eighteen years, Dr. Booker was aspeaker at the International Christian Celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem attended by over5,000 believers from 100 nations.
Dr. Bookers teachings are designed to help believers better understand the Bible and their covenant God. Hehas a God-given ability to communicate the Scriptures in clear, easy-to-understand language with practical ap-plication for everyday Christians that brings life out of the Bible and into peoples hearts.
Dr. Booker and Peggy founded the Institute for Hebraic-Christian Studies (IHCS) in 1997 as a ministry to edu-cate Christians in the Hebraic culture and background of the Bible, build relationships between Christians andJews, and give comfort and support to the people of Israel.
Their tireless work on behalf of Christians and Jews has been recognized around the world as well as being rep-resented at the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus.Dr. Booker has a daily television program which can be seen on the internet at www.godslearningchannel.comand around the world via satellite. He has produced over 350 programs.
Dr. Booker is a spiritual father to many believers around the world.
Visit Dr. Richard Booker online:www.drrichardbooker.com or www.rbooker.com
Sounds of the Trumpet, Inc.Institute for Hebraic-Christian Studies
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