Monday, November 12, 2012

Dissertation Update & an Encounter

I am currently researching Jesus’ words, “salvation comes from the Jews”, and how this phrase functions within the Gospel of John (4:22). Why is this important? G-d has clearly shown us the importance of Israel and that His heart for the nations is rooted in His love for the Jewish people. This particular verse (and many others) suggests a very important role for G-d’s chosen people. By presenting a scholarly argument for the continued importance of G-d’s covenantal people with regards to Jesus and salvation, much restitution can be made concerning the regrettable anti-Jewish viewpoints throughout Church history and Jewish-Christian relations in general. It will also help to further unify Jew and Gentile in the Body of Messiah.  

During the Nazi regime, this verse was a point of issue (John 4:22):
     1)      With a view to the ‘de-judaization’ of Christianity, attempts were made in Germany to scrap the verse altogether from school bibles.
     2)      In his 1936 edition of the Gospel of John, for example, ‘Landesbischof’ Weidemann of Bremen simply left the verse out.
     3)       In 1938, after some initial resistance, the evangelical Landesbischof of Baden-Baden gave his approval to a similar emendation.
     4)       For pedagogical reasons, story number 12—Jesus and the Samaritan woman—of the Neudruck of the Biblische Geschichte which was intended for evangelical religious studies classes was henceforth to be printed without the ‘objectionable’ clause ‘Denn das Heil kommt von den Juden’ (salvation comes from the Jews).
     5)      In 1940, the Institute for the Exploration and Removal of the Jewish influence on the German Church published its ‘de-judaized version’ of the New Testament in which John 4:22b was contorted to read “the famous anti-Semitic slogan ‘The Jews are our misfortune.’”

Clearly this verse holds a lot of weight historically, and I haven’t even scratched the surface. 

Being aware of this historical "scholarship" directly relates to how we interact with the Jewish people in Israel. Today we went to a local coffee shop and talked with one of the baristas about who we are. When she found out that we weren't Jewish and that Tom is studying the Bible she said, "I know who you are." She went on to explain that she met some people in New Zealand who were not Jewish but who loved Jesus and loved the Jewish people. It was the first time we've had a non-Messianic Jew not be shocked that we, as Gentiles, love the Jewish people. But clearly this seed of truth was already planted within her.

The truth is most Jewish people see the followers of Jesus as enemies because of things done in the name of Christianity, such as the research Tom discovered about the Nazis changing scripture. With this awareness we chose our words carefully and come into situations with a spirit of unification instead of separation. When we as followers of Jesus interact with the Jewish people with a heart of love, appreciation, and understanding then they are more receptive to the message of Jesus as Messiah. 

On our way home Tom and I rejoiced that this girl had a positive view of Jesus' followers. The seeds are being planted in people all over the land, and every time we can share more light and water the truth of G-d's love for all of us then we are that much closer to his return!


  1. Those quotes from WWII era translations are unbelievable. What a controversially charged verse you have chosen! Pioneer away; can't wait to hear more updates.

  2. Content and the visual aid of the picture made me feel like I was sitting down for a mind-blowing chat with Tom again over a cup of delicious brew. Thanks for sharing your finds with your readership :)