Friday, April 23, 2010

Why is John the most Jewish Gospel?

It is often said that John is the Gospel to the world (Matthew to the Jew, Mark to the Roman, Luke to the Greek). However, in 1924 Israel Abrahams said, "To us Jews, the Fourth Gospel is the most Jewish of the four!" How is that so? If it so, why do so many people tell new converts to begin reading this Gospel?

If we look at what is being said it would seem that Israel Abraham is way off base with his assertion that the Gospel of John is the most Jewish of all the Gospels, after all it has been agreed upon by many Christian Theologians that Matthew wrote his Gospel to the Jews. We see how Matthew in 2:2 writes the following, with regards to the wise men who had come to see the new born King of the Jews; “where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the east and have come to worship Him” (New King James Version). This would make one think that this is what any Jewish person would want to hear especially when you look at the fact that Matthew made sure to link Jesus to the house of David as this was revealed by the prophet Isaiah; There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, And a Branch shall grow out of his roots, Isaiah 11:1(NKJV). I then realized that in the book of Matthew Christ is seen as the seed of David and not as the Son of God or the Living Word of God. In the book of Mark he is seen as a servant and in Luke as the savior of man but not in the way that Jews would expect.
In the Gospel of John all are being told that in no uncertain terms that the Living Word of God {Elohim}, if we refer back to Genesis 1:1(NKJV) which states; “In the beginning God {Elohim} created the heavens and the earth, then we see John in his very first verse state; “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning, John 1:1-2 (NKJV). John who is Jewish is showing that Jesus is the prophesized Messiah and that they need not worry or fear that they are abandoning God because this is God {Elohim} in the flesh, which he proclaims in verse 14; “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” When we look back at the name “Elohim” it means the strong One Who manifests Himself by His own Word (Towns, 124). Now the Jewish people know that if they believe in the Word of Elohim, then they will live by the provisions of God, just as the children of Israel did in the wilderness with manna, Christ is the living Manna of God or as stated in John 6:35(NKJV) by Christ; “I am the bread of life.”
The Gospel of John in 20:31 (NKJV) states; “but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.” Unlike the other Gospels, John focuses on the belief in the Word as the way to live and be blessed. The Word is the spirit of God, It is the light of God, it is the Salvation of God it is Yeshuah, which is the Messiah, the Christ and the blessing that was promised to come through Abraham for the entire world. It is for this reason that John is the most Jewish because it is grounded more in Jewish tradition and customs and relationship with and to God as it is totally about the glory of God.
I close with the three words that give reason as to why those new to the church should read the gospel of John first, those three words according to the John MacArthur Study Bible are; “signs, believe and life.”(MacArthur,1570) The signs or prophecy that reveal the Messiah will give belief to the truth of Christ as the Son of God who was sent to be a blessing for the world and the realization of spiritual life.

Pastor LaVaughn Carter
Patient Perseverance Ministries ©2010

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