Friday 23Oct13, at KL Sentral, waiting to board the 10.30 pm overnight train to Singapore to visit an old classmate over the coming weekend.
Reading John chapter 5.
The Jews, the Jews.
John 5:1, at the Pool of Bethesda, Jerusalem.
" . . . there was a feast of the Jews"
Also in John 6:4, at a mountain across the Galilee Sea.
" . . . the Passover, a feast of the Jews, was near."
Who were "the Jews" in the Gospel according to John? Was John writing to a Gentile audience?
Similarly, in John 7:2, in Galilee, we read,
" Now the Jew's feast of Tabernacles was at hand . . ."
The Jews, the Jews. Who exactly were the Jews? Why did John have to mention explicitly that those were Jewish feasts?
Perhaps, a clue can be gleaned from other similar verses in the Gospel account:
John 7:13 tells us that no one spoke openly of Yeshua the Messiah for fear of the Jews.
In John 5:10, we are told the Jews taught that it was against the Torah to carry one's bed on Shabbat.
John 5:16, 18 records for us that the Jews sought to kill Yeshua, while John 6:41 tells us the Jews complained against the Messiah for claiming to be the bread from heaven.
From the above references, we get a picture that those Jews were fearsome people who complained against the Messiah and even sought to kill Him,
Was John referring to ALL Jews? Was he describing the Jewish race in general?
No, he couldn't be.
John first mentioned the Jews in John 1:19, where he referred to them as "the Jews of Jerusalem", and not any Jew in general.
Also, John actually recorded the words of our Messiah in John 4:22, telling the Samaritan woman at the well that the Jews are the people who knew the true God whom they worshipped, and that salvation actually came from the Jews!
John 4: 22
"You Samaritans worship what you do not know, we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews."
Notice from the verse above that our Master Yeshua identified himself with the Jewish race when he asserted, "we worship what we do know".
I conclude that "the Jews" in John's Gospel does not refer to all Jewish people in general, but instead to a particular of Jews in Jerusalem, most probably the powerful and influential Jewish religious leaders who held positions of authority in society at that time.