John 4:22 (Through the Jews)

Judaism

You Samaritans know very little about the one you worship, while we Jews know all about him, for salvation comes through the Jews.
(John 4:22)

Read: Joshua 3:1 – 6:27

Relate: For a lot of scholars down through time the second half of this verse has caused problems. Augustine had to bend over backwards trying to explain how Jesus was only talking about those Jews who would recognize Jesus as Messiah. Another scholar would say that salvation came through the Jews as a point of departure, not as a place of origin. Basically that would mean that salvation only becomes salvation when it leaves behind the trappings of Judaism. Through does not mean in but rather out of in this context.

Many more modern scholars have even more trouble with this statement. The thing is, so called scholars today like to claim that the book of John is a very anti-semetic book. They’ll look at some of the times Jesus is especially harsh with the Pharisees and where he attacks some of the cultural trappings of the Judaism that turned people away from God and on to ritual and say, “You see. John is trying to show that Jesus was very anti-semetic”. When looking at Jesus statement to the Samaritan woman here, Rudolph Bultmann leads the way in saying that this verse was actually added on by some editor at some later point. The problem I have with that is that the clash and conflict between Christianity and Judaism would get progressively worse over the next couple centuries. At no point before the canon was solidified would some bogus editor have had both the motive and opportunity to make such a change. Just because something in scripture doesn’t fit neatly with your preconceived ideas doesn’t mean it can be dismissed out of hand. All scripture is God breathed.

React: The fact is, in a very real way Salvation does come through the Jews. The Gospel, although timeless in essence, is a very real story played out within a historical context and at a particular time. Jesus Himself was an observant Jew. He obeyed and followed the laws of God given in the Torah (although not always the cultural misinterpretations added on to these laws). Nearly all of what He preached and taught was spoken to the children of Israel and to separate it from its cultural and historical context is to leave the door wide open for misunderstanding and heresy. If we are to excise Judaism from the story of salvation then we would need to cut out about two thirds of our Bible. (And we wouldn’t be able to make proper sense from what we have left) As Richard Neuhaus says, “The second Person of the Holy Trinity, true God and true man, is Jewish flesh.”

Respond: 

God, I want to know You more. I want to know You in the fullness of Your glory but also in the richness of Your humanity. To better understand the story of the gospels and the reality of my salvation, help me to not pull it out of its very real historical context. You are my salvation and I long to know everything I can both with my head and my heart about all that You are.

 

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3 thoughts on “John 4:22 (Through the Jews)

  1. I always get a loving chuckle out of Christians that do not embrace the history and the truths revealed in Judaism. The salvation we hold onto is revealed through the Jewish rocky road trying to figure this whole thing out. They had been taught and told by God that they were the chosen, His beloved. They were trying to work toward His forgiveness and redemption and the whole time it was a lesson of “you cannot do it, LOOK, I AM here and you need me!” Thank you, God that I am “grafted in” that the lessons you were teaching the beloved Jews was extended to all of mankind, your children!

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