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RLJ-1779 -- OCTOBER 25, 2020

Part 3: Historical Introduction

It is possible to read the Bible and be ignorant of the culture in which Jesus lived. Three men had claimed to be a man anointed by God, accumulated followers, only to be executed by the Romans and dash all hopes. Meanwhile, the city of Jerusalem was not only the political focus of Israel, but it was also the epicenter of religious life. There were no hotels for the millions of Jews which came to visit, and those who lived within the city operated a bed and breakfast type business from their homes, creating a tourist center that brought in a lot of money for the townspeople and the surrounding countryside. Visitors had to exchange their currency for temple scrip which was used to purchase overpriced sacrificial animals. Matthew thought that Jesus would return during his lifetime, and as he got older, he realized he needed to record what he had witnessed. The gospel account was written after Jesus ascended, but before the Romans destroyed the temple in 70 A.D.
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