Thursday, November 26, 2009

John 11:47-53 – Jesus Dies For The Israel Nation

John 11:47-53 – Jesus Dies For The Israel Nation

So the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered the council, and said, "What are we to do? For this man performs many signs. If we let him go on thus, every one will believe in him, and the Romans will come and destroy both our holy place and our nation." But one of them, Ca'iaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, "You know nothing at all; you do not understand that it is expedient for you that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation should not perish." He did not say this of his own accord, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus should die for the nation, and not for the nation only, but to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad. So from that day on they took counsel how to put him to death.

The advent of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, changed human history; it inevitably changed Jewish identity.

The passage from Judaism to Christianity rouses the passions of Jew and Gentile alike. The Jew accuses the Christian missionary of attempting to destroy the physical integrity of the people, though not, of course, by physical means. Father Hruby seems to accept the assessment for he says: “If Israel refuses to identify itself with the new Israel, which the Church pretends to be, it is because such an identification would lead, ipso facto, to the end of the Jewish people.”

Christians are surprised to learn that belief in a Jewish Messiah should appear to imperil the existence of the Jewish people. They are bewildered and hurt at the resentment their well-intentioned missionary overtures encounter among Jews. When the so-called “Anti-Mission Law” was passed in the Knesset, the parliament of Israel, the reaction of Christians was one of heated indignation. What is more, the very thought of adding the religious pluralism of the Christian world to that obtaining already in the Jewish world is enough to fill the Jew with horror.

Is it to be wondered at that religious and secularist Jews combine forces to resist the Christian missionary, who proclaims salvation for the individual and prepares the earthly extermination of the people? Jesus of Nazareth had no such intention. Had he not come to save the Jews? (cf. Mt. 1:21) He himself was a Jew, born in Bethlehem of a Jewish mother, Mary, and circumcised on the eighth day of his life. He was of the tribe of Judah (cf. Heb. 7:14), a scion of the royal house of David (cf. 2 Tim. 2:8; Rm. 2:26). Jesus directed his public ministry to the lost sheep of Israel whom he loved and for whom he was to die before dying for others (Jn. 11:51-52).

When the Samaritan woman rounded on him pertly, saying: “You are a Jew. How can you ask me, a Samaritan and a woman, for a drink?” Jn. 4:9), he does not reject the attribution. By announcing to the confused woman that “salvation comes from the Jews” (cf. Jn. 4: 22), he implicitly acknowledges that he was a Jew. The author of the Apocalypse bestowed on the Risen Christ the epithet “Lion of the tribe of Judah” (cf. Rev. 5:5). St. Peter teaches that Jesus had come to grant Israel “repentance and forgiveness of sins” (cf. Acts 5:31), not a destructive aim, surely.

JEWISH IDENTITY by Elias Friedman, O.C.D

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