Salvation? From the Jews?

 

Salvation will come from the Jews! A simple enough statement don’t you think? I have been re-thinking this simple statement. What does salvation mean? Does it come from the Jews?

My initial way of looking at this was to simply say that Jesus was a Jew and salvation therefore came from the Jews. And fair enough, no probs, we could just leave it at that……but that would make a boring post wouldn’t it?

Salvation is a term that has been narrowed down in meaning, particularly because we tend to think in terms of a salvation sometime in the future…when we die perhaps. Jesus salvation ushered in a new kingdom, a new way of living as human beings – a much deeper living than just giving up swearing, cigarettes, liquor and women. (sadly that is how many view new life) The thought occurred to me the other day as I was invited to photograph an inter-faith, multi cultural walk – The Jews have given us…in real concrete terms, a salvation that can usher in God’s Kingdom ways on earth – like we pray in the Lord’s Prayer…may your Kingdom come.

About five hundred years ago, in Germany, Martin Luther wrote some pretty horrific stuff about the Jews. Here is Luther’s recommendations for Christians to carry out against the Jews: Treatise by Luther “Jews and their Lies”

  1. to avoid Jewish synagogues and schools and warn people against them;
  2. to refuse to let Jews own houses among Christians;
  3. for Jewish religious writings to be taken away;
  4. for rabbis to be forbidden to preach;
  5. to not offer protection for Jews on highways;
  6. for usury to be prohibited, and for all silver and gold to be removed, put aside for safekeeping and given back to Jews who truly convert; and
  7. to give young, strong Jews flail, axe, spade, spindle, and let them earn their bread in the sweat of their noses.

Martin Luther was echoing the fears of the nation, lets call the mechanism at work here ‘scapegoating’. The problems of the country were laid on an innocent ‘scapegoat”. There was an undercurrent of national fear and mistrust for centuries and several hundred years later as feelings quietly simmered below the surface –  facebook posts began to appear everywhere – designed by the Nazi’s these posters demonized the Jews in inventive ways. They were portrayed among other things, as rats that would undermine their society – they were a danger to their way of life. We all know the story and what happened. This is where I think it gets interesting – the Jews, in a very real, very horrific way relived the salvation Jesus offered two thousand years ago. Jesus was the innocent ‘scapegoat’ in exactly the same way that the Jews were in those dark times in Germany. There is a very real salvation that the Jewish re-enactment of the Gospel can offer to the world at this time.

If you haven’t noticed there have been an increasing number of facebook posts being posted on the internet – all with the same characteristics of the scapegoating posts of Nazi Germany. There are the same undercurrents of fear and suspicion and to be honest – I look at it all and wonder whether we have learned anything from Christ and the salvation picture from the Jews. There is a salvation that comes from the Jews – in more ways than one.

Do we dare to see Christ in our Muslim brothers and sisters? (And other refugees and immigrants) Matt 25:41-44

Are our minds too dull to see it? There is only one way forward to fight fear…. and that is love.

 

 

 

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Comments
6 Responses to “Salvation? From the Jews?”
  1. adamjbrooks says:

    I was talking to a parent of a student of whom I teach who happens to be a Muslim. She was telling me she used to be a teacher in the church and during the times of 9/11 and the Bali Bombings, she was quite actively helping those in her community. However, after being the target of a bigoted attack, she now struggles to walk down the street alone.

    My wife said some wise words to me once, “your actions towards others can do one of two things, they can either bring you together or they can tear you apart”. WWJD?

  2. adamjbrooks says:

    I was talking to a parent of a student of whom I teach who happens to be a Muslim. She was telling me she used to be a teacher in the church and during the times of 9/11 and the Bali Bombings, she was quite actively helping those in her community. However, after being the target of a bigoted attack, she now struggles to walk down the street alone.

    My wife said some wise words to me once, “your actions towards others can do one of two things, they can either bring you together or they can tear you apart”. WWJD?

    • adamjbrooks says:

      Mosque not Church. Force of habit!

    • Tapman says:

      Thanks Adam, that is the point isn’t it. Our Australia is becoming a scary place to live for the marginalized, for the poor and the refugees…..

      • lcamyopinion says:

        so… through history Jewish people have suffered unjust rejection, prejudice and suffering. The cross tells us that right in the middle of all of those things is where God chose to meet with humanity, is where God is seen most clearly. Perhaps it is fitting that the same Martin Luther who said the horrible things above also articulated this Theology of the Cross very clearly. Hypocrisy? A paradox? Or perhaps just the reality that all of us are suseptible to the temptation to scapegoat the “other”.

        Another Martin Luther (King) said…”The moral arc of the universe is long but it bends toward justice” Wise and hopeful words. But let me play with them a little. Perhaps the Theology of the Cross says that the compassionate heart of God is enormous and all encompassing, but it bends toward those who suffer unjustly.

        So, salvation has indeed come from the Jews… and now through Muslims who are presently being scapegoated here in Australia and around the world. The answer to your second last question is, of course… “Of course!”

      • Tapman says:

        Thanks for that – I just hope we see some of that salvation – learn to live and love before things escalate. My reference to Matthew was from my cynical side – it is so often the religious who do not see and why would they see Christ in the Muslim, they are the “enemy” after all. My latest word is dualism, I am slowly learning what it means – and dualistic thinking is exactly where we are heading – us and them, good and bad. I am yet to define and understand how to think non-duallistically……I learn slowly. Cheers

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