Sunday, December 15, 2019

15. He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him.

John’s Gospel can sometimes sound rather anti-Semitic. Often John refers to those who oppose Jesus as “the Jews”, despite the fact that Jesus and all his disciples were obviously also Jewish. Probably John was Jewish too, so what is going on here? John’s Gospel was written around the end of the first century AD, at a time when the Jewish people were coming to terms with the trauma  of the Roman army’s destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70. The Jewish people were expelled from their land. Different Jewish groups (of which Christianity was one) blamed each other for this, and Christians were forbidden to enter the synagogues.It is against this backdrop that John writes, and clearly he has an agenda. It is not that he criticises Judaism in itself; it is the Jewish leaders whomoppiosed Jesus with whom he has difficulties, especially those who had colluded with Rome to crucify  him. When says “the Jews”, or refers negatively to Jesus “own people” as he does here, this is what he means. It would have been very helpful, though, if this was what he had said! Possibly it might have helped prevent the cataclysm of suffering which Christians have inflicted on Jewish people over the centuries too.

Family feuds are often the most bitter and long-lasting. Are there arguments within your extended family which have rumbled on for years? Is there anything you can do to help heal them?
What are the flashpoints around which people in your family, neighbourhood or workplace argue?
Can you think of any situations where people have managed to disagree yet still remain kind to each other?

Have you felt angry with anyone today? Has anyone been angry with you? Pray for those people.

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