Sunday, 27 March 2016
The Parables: Jewish Tradition and Christian Interpretation,
Brad H Young, Hendricksen, 1998
Chapter 11, "The Find" (pp. 199-221), page 207
Brad Young then draws our attention to the way some rabbinic figures talked about the kingdom as part of daily life.
The great rabbinic scholar Solomon Schecter speaks about a visible and an invisible kingdom that he discerns in ancient Jewish thought. The visible rule of G-d is universal and national. The invisible aspec of the kingdom he describes as "less expressive of an accomplished fact than of an undefined and indefinable ideal, and hence capable of a wider interpretation of varying aspects."
Young asserts that Yeshua never defined the kingdom, but descibes what it is like - a way of pointing beyond words to a higher or truer reality. He suggests that the parables portray spiritual reality in conrete word-pictures, while the rabbis saw the same spiritual reality in the prayers.
By reciting the Shema, they experienced the spiritual force of G-d's reign in words of prayer. Because of the inward realisation of the divine presence of the sovereign Creator, saying the Shema becomes an act in which the person receives the kingdom ... Schecter's understanding of this ancient Jewish idea of receiving the kingdom when reciting the Shema is worth noting.
What can we learn from this? Does reciting the Shema have that currency for us as believers in Messiah?