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The gospels are filled with examples of ways in which Jesus used the culture of his surroundings to teach His lessons. He drew on very familiar aspects of life around him to illustrate his points in ways that could be easily understood by those who truly heard what He was saying.
Rural Palestine was an area of many farmers. Jesus used agricultural examples in many of His parables because the people listening to Him recognized the situations he was talking about.
Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on ricky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, multiplying thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times. (Mark 4:3-8)
In the same way, Jesus frequently referred to Himself as the Good Shepherd and to the people as sheep, because there were many sheep in the area and the people understood what was involved in caring for them.
Jesus recognized the importance of sharing meals with others, the social requirements based on different economic or political or religious groups for status and standing, the fundamental relationships of family and friends. And, most important of all, Jesus related to the Jewish religious faith of his environment, taking examples from the religious writings and using quotes from the scriptures to justify His actions, to explain how others were mistaken or misdirected, to challenge the error of others' actions.
Jesus entered the temple area and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. And as he taught them, he said, "Is it not written: 'My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations'? But you have made it 'a den of robbers.'" (Mark 11:15-17, quoting Jer. 7:11)
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