I’ve heard many speakers and teachers say that “Jesus was a Jew,” and indeed, He was. When someone in an audience piped up and added, “He still is,” the statement went from being trite to intriguing. The author of Hebrews states that Jesus is the same, yesterday, today, and tomorrow. (Hebrews 13:8) We may want to consider the Jewishness of Jesus when we study His life, His works, and His teachings. D. Thomas Lancaster, a scholarly student and teacher of the Word of God makes this transition for us in his book, King of the Jews. He presents the Master from a wholly Jewish perspective.
I write Christian Drama and I like to research, making certain that the props and costuming are as authentic as can be. I also study the words of Scripture to make sure that I am expressing the correct meanings in my dialogue. In my reasearch, I came across Lancasters book and found it mose useful. I am aware that projecting twenty-first century interpretation between the lines of the gospels may have caused an unintentional distortion of the original meaning. We know that Jesus is omniscient and knew that twenty-first century folks would be reading the Gospels. Still, He was recorded as speaking to first century Jews in words and idioms that they understood. Connecting His words to context gives the reader a deeper insight into the teachings of the Master.
This teaching method is called a remez. Rabbis traditionally use the remez, a word or phrase that brings another context to mind for the purpose of enhancing significance and understanding.
As writers, we employ this technique, as well. We carefully chose words that illicit certain emotional responses. For instance, we might not describe a likable heroine as having ice blue eyes. In the same way, giving the villain periwinkle blue eyes might make him seem less intimidating.
Lancaster shows us a humble Jesus, blending in with and relating to His disciples and followers. He gives detailed interpretations of certain parables. He also proposes some interesting theories.
King of the Jews also includes an exhaustive bibliography, scripture index, and even a subject index to assist the reader in his/her studies.
I recommend King of the Jews for any Christian who’d like to step out of the box and allow him or herself to be challenged by new Messianic insights. I believe you will find this book life changing.