“So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, ‘How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.’ Jesus answered, ‘I have told you, and you do not believe.’” vss. 24-25a
Because the gospel of John was written at a time of intense conflict in synagogues between those who believed that Jesus was the Messiah and those who did not, the writer regularly refers to Jews as the enemies of Jesus. While he’s likely only referring to religious authorities, his references were often used through the centuries to vilify and persecute the Jewish people. Some would even say that his verses are a primary source of antiSemitism, a stain on Christian history that persists to the present. Though we can’t blame John for the ugly racial hatred that exists in the world we can easily see how those passions have been fanned by his words. It is true that not everyone who encounters Jesus accepts him as messiah–like the religious leaders of Jerusalem some would like more evidence. But unbelief is no reason for us to treat anyone with contempt and condemnation. After all, Jesus went to his death loving those who crucified him, and he is our model for dealing with all people, no matter what their religious beliefs, or lack thereof. He even humbled himself and washed the feet of Judas, his betrayer, on the night before he died. And John tells us that story too!
Thought for the Day: Why is antiSemitism so persistent?