The evangelist betrays a vast knowledge of Judaism, its feasts, its Scriptures
The evangelist betrays a vast knowledge of Judaism, its feasts, its Scriptures

76. About the Jews, the Fourth Gospel has a very positive statement, made by Jesus himself in the dialogue with the Samaritan woman: “Salvation comes from the Jews” (Jn 4:22). 325 Elsewhere, to the statement of the High Priest Caiaphas who said that it was “advantageous” “to have one man die for the people”, the evangelist sees a meaning in the word inspired by God and emphasises that “Jesus was about to die for the nation”, adding “not for the nation only, but to gather into one the dispersed children of God” (Jn -52). The value of the Jewish patrimony is clearly acknowledged: Abraham saw Jesus' day and was glad (8:56); the Law is a gift given through Moses as intermediary (1:17); “the Scripture cannot be annulled” (); Jesus is the one “about whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote” (1:45); he is “a Jew” (4:9) and “King of Israel” (1:49) or “King of the Jews” (-22).

The word “Jews” is found 71 times in the Fourth Gospel, usually in the plural, three times in the singular (3:25; 4:9; ). It is applied especially to “Jesus” (4:9). The name “Israelite” only appears once; it is a title of honour (1:47). A certain number of Jews are well disposed to Jesus. One such is Nicodemus, a “leader of the Jews” (3:1) who saw Jesus as a teacher come from God (3:2), defends him before his Pharisee colleagues (7:50-51) and, after his death on the cross, takes charge of his burial (). At the end, “many of the leaders” believed in Jesus, but lacked courage to declare themselves as his disciples (). The evangelist frequently reports that “many” people came to believe in Jesus. 326 The context shows that it is the Jews, except in 4:39,41; the evangelist is sometimes precise, though rarely sufficiently so (8:31; ; ).

There is no serious reason to doubt that the evangelist was Jewish and that the basic context for the composition of the Gospel was relations with the Jews

Their opposition begins with the curing of the paralytic on the sabbath day (5:16). It intensifies when Jesus makes himself “equal to God”; they try from then on to have him put to death (5:18). Later, like the High Priest during the trial of Jesus in Mt and Mk , they accuse him of “blasphemy” and try to punish him accordingly by stoning (-33). It has been noted with good reason that much of the Fourth Gospel anticipates the trial of Jesus and gives him the opportunity to defend himself and accuse his accusers. These are often called “the Jews” without further precision, with the result that an unfavourable judgement is associated with that name. But there is no question here of anti-Jewish sentiment, since - as we have already noted - the Gospel recognises that “salvation comes from escort girl Atlanta the Jews” (4:22). This manner of speaking only reflects the clear separation that existed between the Christian and Jewish communities.

Nonetheless, “the Jews” are often hostile to Jesus

A more serious accusation made by Jesus against “the Jews” is that of having the devil for a father (8:44); it should be noted that this accusation is not made against the Jews insofar as they are Jews, but, on the contrary, insofar as they are not true Jews, since they entertain murderous intentions (8:37), inspired by the devil, who is “a murderer from the beginning” (8:44). The only concern here is a small number of Jesus' contemporaries, paradoxically, of “Jews who had believed in him” (8:31). By accusing them openly, the Fourth Gospel puts other Jews on guard against the temptation to similar murderous thoughts.