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What do you make of these verses?
Jesus has just raised Lazarus and some observers go and tattle tell to the chief priests and Pharisees.
There is a great deal in these verses that seems based on assumptions about which I am unaware.
1. Why would everyone believing in Jesus would cause the Romans to destroy the Temple and the Jewish nation?
2. Was it common that the appointed high priest had the ability to prophesy about the future?
3. In what way was it seen that Jesus' death would be "for the nation" and also for the scattered children of God, who I suspect in Jewish eyes of the day would refer to the diaspora Jews? I don't think Caiaphas is thinking about everyone's eternal salvation.
4. Is the motivation to kill Jesus being presented as a way to save the Jewish nation? save it from what? save it how?
5. Is it then ironic that the Jewish nation and Temple were destroyed anyway? Is it correct to read into this statement the author's intentional irony, and what should be inferred from such irony?
I DO think Caiaphas in this story is thinking about everyone--the book was written, after all, in a time period when the Jews appeared defeated, destroyed, Temple-less, doomed to wander forever as a shamed nation among the nations until fully assimilated--though "eternal salvation" in John is not at all the way we think of it today IMO.
There is a great deal of irony in John's Gospel, like the words Pilate speaks of Jesus being the king. Many times in this Gospel a person says something, and they are right, though they have no idea what they are really saying.
So did Jesus' death prevent the whole nation from perishing? In other words, did they all die 40 years later, or did just the Jerusalem "Jews?" (in quote because there is no much controversy between scholars about who John means whenever he says "the Jews.")
These are great questions!
It is not clear to me what is meant with several of John's words - Jews, Greeks, but also light, life, truth, bread, drink.
Indeed, good questions! Because anyone might stop by and read this, I'll include some very basic content in my attempts at answers. Hopefully that doesn't make it sound patronizing. For context, I'm a conservative evangelical who totally believes all this stuff.
1. The Romans were an occupying power that granted a degree of local political and religious autonomy as long as the local leaders maintained peace and did not challenge the authority of the emperor. The Jewish people hated living under Rome's rule, and, remembering Scriptural prophecies about the Messiah, expected such a figure to show up and lead a revolution that would permanently restore Israel to the years of glory it enjoyed during King David's reign. This messianic fervor was so high that the chief priests and Pharisees knew that it would take just one charismatic man to spark revolt in the land and incur the inevitable, merciless retribution of Rome. Jesus, especially after raising a man from the dead, seemed to fit that profile.
2. There is no pattern of high priests prophesying about the future in the Old Testament. Prophet and priest were usually separate offices. As high priest, though, Caiaphas legitimately held a role as mediator between God and God's people. John is pointing out that God chose to speak through this high priest even though Caiaphas was himself evil and had no idea what he was saying.
3-4. So when Caiaphas said "it is better for you that one man should die for the people, not that the whole nation should perish” he meant that Jesus must be killed to maintain political stability and thereby save the nation from the Roman army. He did not have eternal salvation in mind. God, however, did. The truest meaning of those words, then, is that Jesus would die in place of God's people - both those inside the nation of Israel and outside it, including me - bearing the punishment for our sin.
5. Yes! Intentional irony pervades the Gospel accounts. It's ironic that the religious leaders wanted to kill Jesus because people thought Him to be the Messiah... and He actually was. It's ironic that people thought the Messiah would come to subvert the existing authorities... when He actually came to be killed by them. It's ironic that the Council thought they were getting rid of Jesus... when He was actually getting rid of them, permanently and exclusively taking over the offices of prophet, priest, and king of God's people. It's ironic that Jesus used their last act - their condemnation of Him - as the means of their own dissolution. It's ironic that they thought killing Jesus would save the nation and the Temple... when it actually changed the meaning of both those terms forever. General Titus's work in AD 70 only formalized what actually happened four decades earlier the moment the Temple curtain tore from top to bottom. What should be inferred from such irony? A lot, starting with the line from the old hymn:
"God is His own Interpreter; He will make it plain."
"So when Caiaphas said "it is better for you that one man should die for the people, not that the whole nation should perish” he meant that Jesus must be killed to maintain political stability and thereby save the nation from the Roman army. He did not have eternal salvation in mind. God, however, did."
Isn't it amazing how G-d can fathom the true meaning of what we say, even when we think we're saying something entirely different?
"Intentional irony pervades the Gospel accounts. It's ironic that the religious leaders wanted to kill Jesus because people thought Him to be the Messiah... and He actually was. It's ironic that people thought the Messiah would come to subvert the existing authorities... when He actually came to be killed by them. It's ironic that the Council thought they were getting rid of Jesus... when He was actually getting rid of them, permanently and exclusively taking over the offices of prophet, priest, and king of God's people. It's ironic that Jesus used their last act - their condemnation of Him - as the means of their own dissolution. It's ironic that they thought killing Jesus would save the nation and the Temple... when it actually changed the meaning of both those terms forever."
It is ironic how some Americans thought that they were saving the Iraqi People when they actually were destroying them. It is ironic how all those people voted for Obama to save civil liberties and he has cemented their permanent destruction. It is ironic that many Christians think that the world is ending, and it actually is ending, but not in the way they think.
Clearly G-d's hand at work. Perhaps there should be an appendix to the scriptures?
"Jews" just means people descended from Jacob, usually implying adherance to the form of Judaism prevalent at that time. "Greek" in the New Testament sometimes refers to people from Greece, but often is a generic term for non-Jews, synonymous with "Gentile".
The other terms all relate to themes that run through the Old Testament, and especially to particular events which develop those themes. So to understand "bread" in John, for example, you have to read the story about manna in Exodus. Where one of those terms is introduced in John, watch for an OT quote or allusion, then flip back and read that passage and its surrounding context. That will allow you to see the connections and thus understand these terms and John's larger argument.
Uh, this forum doesn't display posts as organizedly as I expected. My second one addresses post #3.
4 The Jewish people hated living under Rome's rule, and, remembering Scriptural prophecies about the Messiah, expected such a figure to show up and lead a revolution that would permanently restore Israel to the years of glory it enjoyed during King David's reign. This messianic fervor was so high that the chief priests and Pharisees knew that it would take just one charismatic man to spark revolt in the land and incur the inevitable, merciless retribution of Rome.
Was Messianic fervor at a high level, such that it was the topic of regular discussions either at the popular level or at the priestly level or at the government level?
I realize that the NT refers to OT prophecies of a messiah, but when I read those passages in context I do not take from them that they are prophecies about a future messiah who will lead Israel out of bondage, or to salvation.
Were those biblical (OT) passages undestood in a way that pointed to a Messiah who is to come, such that they caused the Jewish people to live in expectation?
(Note - to clarify which prior post you are commenting on, you can indicate the comment number - >4, #4. I am often lazy about that courtesy.)
19.28 Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, though a secret one because of his fear of the Jews
12.11 since it was on account of him that many of the Jews were deserting and were believing in Jesus
11.36 so the Jews said, "See how he loved him!"
11.45 Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him
Are you saying that all of these uses of the word "Jews" means the same thing, simply "people descended from Jacob" and people who adhere "to the form of Judaism prevelant at that time"?
12.22 Now among those who went up to worship at the festival were some Greeks.
Are you saying that these Greeks were just people from Greece who decided to come to Jerusalem to worship the Jewish God at the Passover? non Jews and Gentiles who have come from Greece to see Jesus?
>9 ~6 Ah, another Christian expert on Jews.
Ooops. Lawecom, you must have cited the wrong post. Post 6 said nothing about Jews, much less any 'expertise' about them, but simply provided a response to post 3 regarding understanding how the author of John's Gospel used certain (originally Greek) terms.
Let's look at 6.35.
"I am the bread of life."
The OT context is explicitly given to be the manna from heaven, which was eaten by hungry people. Jesus says that "whoever comes to me will never be hungry"
And yet there are hungry all over. Have they not come to Jesus? Are there no Christians who are hungry, and starving?
The manna from heaven physically fed empty stomachs. What is the bread from heaven? Does it feed empty stomachs, or is this just spiritual feeding? or maybe food for the time when you are in heaven, after that last day?
Who has eaten of the bread from heaven and as a result has not died?
My goodness, then the several posts by Richard must have also misunderstood what was being said. He also thought that "Jews" meant "Jews" and that the author was giving an interpretation of what "Jews" meant. It was an interpretation of what "Jews" meant in John (who may have possibly also been a Christian), but presumably the author thought that John wasn't writing gibberish, and that he knew what he meant when he wrote "Jews." John may have even thought that what he meant referred to, ah, Jews, and wasn't just a shorthand for a purely theological abstraction concerning "the evil ones who do the will of Satan."
Perhaps John was writing gibberish and didn't have a clue who or what "the Jews" were. Perhaps this author is writing gibberish and doesn't have a clue. Is that your point? It was my point.
>12 If you look at that verse in the complete context you see Jesus saying in verse 33: "For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world." This is refering to spiritual life, because His coming down from heaven had nothing to do with physical life. Therefore, when He says in verse 35, "He who comes to Me shall never hunger," He is still referring to spiritual things. He also makes it clear that He is referring to spiritual things when He says in verse 40, "that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life."
The manna from heaven fed hungry people. Jesus now takes the imagery but does not feed hungry people? only spiritual sustenance?
What about the promise that those who eat him will never die?
And what about the physically hungry?
I think that woman at the well had to go back to draw more water from the well the day after Jesus left.
Those who eat will never die spiritually. And of course the woman had to drink more physical water. That is what I was saying, the context leads to an understanding that He was speaking of spiritual matters and not physical matters in that passage. That does not mean that He does not care about the physcially hungry or thirsty, but that was not His topic there.
It seems to me Jesus is offering a sweet bye and bye. I will take care of you when you die, but you are on your own with the Romans.
11.48 Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness and they died. 50 This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die.
Yet every one of those who ate of the spiritual bread from heaven has died, just like those who ate the manna during the Exodus. They ate of the bread of life and died, as their ancestors ate of the manna and died.
Yes! Jesus is showing His superiority to the manna which came from heaven. Because those who do eat of the true Bread from heaven will have everlasting life, just as He said in verses 40, 47, 51, 54, and 58. With Jesus saying this 5 times I am not sure how much clearer He could have made it. And in verse 58 He plainly is comparing Himself to the manna.
But those with whom Jesus is speaking died anyway, even with the bread of life, just like those in the Arabian desert with Moses.
The bread of life did not keep them alive, as promised that "one may eat of it and not die."
You will never thirst. You will never hunger. You will never die.
But that is true only after this life.
Does spiritual mean when you are dead?
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