John 5:18

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“For this reason the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him,

because he was not only breaking the sabbath,

but was also calling God his own Father,

thereby making himself equal to God.”

Nearly all the historical evidence points to Jesus as generally law-observant. Like other Jews of his time, he seems to have entered into disputes about certain legal issues. He had a “program” for the reform/restoration of Israel in light of the kingdom/reign of God he saw breaking in, and the Pharisees, among others, had a different program. They may well have argued about the interpretation of points of the Law. Further, Jesus seems to have been convinced that following him, or accepting the “in-breaking” reign of God, was more important than some stipulations of the Law.

The fact is much, perhaps most, of the disputes about the Law in the gospels date from after the destruction of Jerusalem (70 CE/AD), long after Jesus’ death. After the destruction of Jerusalem, the issue facing Judaism was how to re-constitute itself without the Temple (and, later, the land). The Pharisees and their successors, the rabbis, argued that strict observance of the Law, especially in the home and family, was the key. The followers of Jesus, still largely Jewish, argued that accepting the messiahship of Jesus was the way to a “true” Judaism. Therefore, the disputes about “the Law,” were primarily between the followers of Jesus and other Jews, and tend to be overstated in regard to Jesus’ own feelings on this subject.

These passages also call into question the “generalization” of “the Jews,” when it was surely only certain Jewish leaders who would have been the antagonists in the above texts.

Call out:
Jesus the Jew and His Religion

Jesus, a Galilean Jewish Teacher
Jesus, The King of The Jews
Sociology, Jesus and Judaism in Galilee

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