The Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes and Zealots are central characters in the New Testament, and there is no understanding Jesus without understanding the larger conversation into which he entered. In this episode we examine each of these four major sects of first century, Palestinian Judaism and their answers to the central question of the day: What must we do to provoke the God of Abraham to resume the project of salvation?
What we will discover is that Jesus regards each group as fundamentally mistaken; and the paths they offer leading only to harm. (And in turn, each of these groups will find reason to see Jesus – and the following he gains – as a serious threat to their power and to Israel’s well-being.)
This short introduction to the gospels will provide essential background to understanding and interpreting Jesus – his ministry and his message.
(This sermon was originally presented at Canvas [Irvine, CA], 19 January 2014. To learn more about Canvas, click here!)
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