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New Testament: Jews don’t know, don’t honor and don’t love G-d

April 7, 2014

jews-praying-jews-dont-loveThe Gospel of John is Christianity’s most beloved piece of literature bar none. When introducing someone to their faith for the first time, Christians almost invariably advise the potential convert to read this gospel before they read any other book of the Christian Bible. This is because many Christians believe that this book is the perfect summary of their religion, introducing the all important concept of deity of Jesus (that G-d became a man) and making the reader aware that the spiritual salvation from sins and the eternal life can only be obtained, according to Christianity, through Jesus and him alone.

And it is precisely because this book is so honored among Christians that what it has to say about the Jewish people is bound to have some serious implications for how Christians perceive their Jewish neighbors. The message this book teaches about Jews is outlined by pastor John Piper in his message titled If You Believed Moses, You Would Believe Me, for He Wrote of Me. Piper attempts to demonstrate from the Gospel of John that by rejecting Jesus, his enemies  (i.e. Jews) have failed and continue to fail the following three tests when it comes to their relationship with G-d:

1. Since Jews don’t know Jesus they do not know G-d:

In John 8:19, Jesus’ adversaries, who claimed to know God, said, “Where is your Father?” And Jesus answered, “You know neither me nor my Father. If you knew me, you would know my Father also.” The fact that these adversaries do not know Jesus—do not perceive his deity or Messiahship or his role as the Suffering Servant (Isaiah 53) shows that they don’t know God. “You know neither me nor my Father.”

2. Since Jews don’t honor Jesus they do not honor G-d

In John 5:23, Jesus says, “Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him.” The Father and the Son are revealed in Scripture as such a unity that if you dishonor one, you dishonor the other. If you claim to honor God today but reject Jesus as the divine Son of God and crucified and risen Savior and Messiah, your claim is false, and you do not honor God.

3. Since Jews don’t love Jesus they do not love G-d

Jesus said in John 5:42–43, “But I know that you do not have the love of God within you. I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not receive me.” How does Jesus know that they don’t love God? Because they don’t receive Jesus for who he really is, the Son of God.

Obviously then, for any person, but especially a Jew as in the context of the Gospel of John, to claim to know, honor and love G-d without bestowing the exact same honor on the man Jesus is to merely deceive him or herself. G-d is not pleased with such a person, but the “wrath of G-d”, according to John 3:36, “rests of him”. Pastor Piper summarizes the implications:

In sum then, you can test yourself and others as to whether you know God, or honor God, or love God. And the test is Jesus. Any claim by a Jewish person or a Muslim or a Hindu or a Buddhist or a spiritualist or an animist or a Christian—any claim to know God or honor God or love God while not receiving Christ as the Son of God and the crucified risen Savior is a false claim. The measure of all true knowing God, honoring God, and loving God is knowing, honoring, and loving Jesus for who he really is.

By conjuring up an unrelieved picture of supposed Jewish failure to know, honor and love G-d, the Gospel of John became instrumental in setting up anti-Jewish attitudes in Christianity that persisted for the next two thousand years and to this very day.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Concerned Reader permalink
    August 30, 2014 4:06 am

    Gene with much respect, the context of John 5 tells us exactly what Jesus was condemning. He was condemning those people who were criticizing the healing of a paralyzed man on the Shabbat. These accusers of Jesus were saying to the recently healed man, “it is a violation for you to carry your mat on the Shabbat,” This mat, arguably this handicapped man’s main possession that he was carrying, should hardly be considered a violation of carrying on the sabbath. Later sages developed the laws of the eruv for cases precisely like the one that Jesus was dealing with. When Jesus is accused of placing himself above G-d, he says, “I do nothing that I don’t also see the father doing.” Jesus even clarifies in light of this episode,

    “Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father; the one who accuses you is Moses, in whom you have set your hope. 46 For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me, for he wrote about Me. 47 But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?”

    These verses are not a blanket condemnation of all Jews. The very next chapter says in fact, that in light of this event and the feeding of 5,000 people, the people sought to coronate him by force. It doesn’t sound like the text is meant as a blanket damning of Jewish people.

  2. August 30, 2014 9:01 pm

    CR, don’t worry, I don’t actually believe that Jesus said any of the things the church scribes who penned and edited John attributed to him. On the other hand, being a religious propaganda at heart, it was certainly meant to paint ALL “non-Jesus” Jews as wicked, heartless, and obstinate. And how later Christianity interpreted John is a matter of historical record.

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