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“Salvation comes from the Jews” (John 4:22)
I can never possibly plumb the depths of the content and spirit of John Chapter 4, v.5-30, the account of Jesus and the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s Well.
As a Hebrew Catholic, I am particularly taken by Jesus’ saying to her that “salvation comes from the Jews” (v.22). What does this mean and what are the implications?
The Catholic Church from the very beginning, being initially 99.9% Jewish [and now 99.9% Gentile],greatly appreciated its Jewish roots and background, and firmly condemned the first heresy, Marcionism, which essentially saw no value in the Old Testament [the Tanach, or Hebrew Bible], and even in much of the New Testament, except the Gospels.
As many people know, Jewishness comes from the mother, not the father. Since Mary was/is Jewish, Jesus is of course Jewish, no matter what the anti-Semites say!
Interestingly enough, at the beginning of his ministry, Jesus saw his mission to establish the Kingdom of God first and foremost among the Children of Israel, and nowhere else: for why else would he have said to the Syro-Phoenician [Canaanite] woman from the region of Tyre and Sidon in Matthew 15:21~28: “I was only sent to the lost sheep of the House of Israel”?
Yet, after the Resurrection, he definitively broadened his mission to include the whole world, as per Luke 24:47, when he taught the apostles, just before they witnessed his Ascension to God the Father: “That repentence for the remission of sins be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.”
Note well the last clause: “beginning at Jerusalem”.
Unfortunately, during these last few decades, since relations between the Jewish people and the Catholic Church have improved extraordinarily [and this is all for the best!], there has unfortunately been a serious downside to this otherwise wonderful development.
This did not come from the Jewish side, but from some well-meaning Catholics who have adopted an extreme theological position by holding that both Jews and Christians have their own valid covenant from God, and therefore neither side needs to seek the “conversion” of the other in order to be saved. This is commonly called the “the two parallel covenants” theory.
I believe that this is a most serious latter-day heresy which needs close examination by the Catholic Church at its highest level.
In a previous article in AD2000 (November 2014), “Is the Hebrew Bible incomplete?” [page 15], I tried to show that unfortunately for Jewish people for almost 2,000 years, and certainly since about 30 AD, the year when Jesus the Jew from Nazareth died on a Roman cross outside the walls of Jerusalem, there is no guarantee of salvation.
I did not in fact use Christian sources to demonstrate the rightness of my position, but the Babylonian Talmud: and what could be more Jewish than that!
As anyone who knows Hebrew and Aramaic can read in volume Yoma 39 a and b what the well-respected Rabbi Judah HaNasi [135-220 AD] said, “Forty years before the destruction of the Temple, the purple thread stopped going white.”
This was a national catastrophe for the Jewish people, for no longer did the Jew have a guarantee on Yom Kippur that his/her sins had been forgiven by God. By simple mathematics, if we take away 40 from 70, the year Rome destroyed the Second Temple in Jerusalem, we are left with 30: the year that Jesus died on the Cross, and it is only his blood that is capable of taking away the sins of all mankind, both Jewish and Gentile.
The blood of the thousands of Passover lambs, slaughtered between the two evenings of Pesach (“Passover”), could not take away the sins of the people.
As St. John the Baptist rightly pointed out, Jesus was “the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world” (John 1:29).
(Andrew Sholl is co-founder of the Association of Hebrew Catholics, which aims to end the alientation of Catholics of Jewish origin and background from their historical heritage. It conducts regular monthly meetings in cities where its numbers make this possible.)
Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 28 No 9 (October 2015), p. 7
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