“Mary…sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said” (Luke 10:39). What would it have been like to sit there, right beside Mary on the floor, listening to Jesus teach in real life? Maybe this night the after-dinner discussion was on Jesus’ teaching of the Good Samaritan and debate about Judean-Samaritan relations of the day. Maybe Mary asked questions about how Jesus’ teaching related to the story in 2 Chronicles 28. Surprisingly to us today, Mary would have had the opportunity to attend the study sessions at the local synagogue, as Jewish women were encouraged to attend if they were able—and some even attained the high-level education to contribute to rabbinic debates. Mary was a first-century Jew and part of the same culture and religious background that shaped Jesus’ ministry; she would have heard his teachings in their original context and would have been familiar with the issues of the day—and understood Jesus ’first-century pop-culture references.
But what about us today as we encounter Jesus through the English translations of our Bibles, 2,000 years later? We’re separated by time, cultural differences, religious traditions, and language barriers that can sometimes make the Bible seem distant or confusing. How do we hear and understand Jesus’ teachings as Mary did then?
This spring the Tuesday Ladies’ Bible Class is using the Bible and the book Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus to learn more about the life of Jesus and the first-century Jewish world in which he lived. By studying the Jewish roots of the Christian faith, we will “retune our hearing and thinking” so we can understand Jesus better and hear him “with the ears of a first-century disciple,” just like Mary did.
This class will be taught on Tuesdays, 9:30-11:00 AM, in the Fireside Room from February 7 to March 7. Please sign up at the Activities Corner if you need childcare.
If you’re unable to attend the class, I will make videos of each lesson and post them on my Geo-Logos YouTube channel for you to follow along in the study.