John, 'the Jews' and us

John's context and ours

A recurring challenge for preachers, teachers and readers of the Gospel of John is making sense of its references to “the Jews.” At Jesus’ sentencing Pilate goes “out to the Jews” to tell them that he finds no reason to crucify Jesus (18:38). After Jesus is dead, John says that two men—Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus in secret “because of his fear of the Jews” (John 19:38), and Nicodemus, earlier described as “a leader of the Jews” (3:2), who came to see Jesus under cover of darkness (presumably out of that same fear of the Jews)—claim the body of Jesus for anointing and burial.

 

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