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The Profession of Faith

147

other historical sources, the better to understand the meaning of

the Redemption.

Paragraph 1. Jesus and Israel

574

From the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry, certain

Pharisees and partisans of Herod together with priests and scribes

agreed together to destroy him.

317

Because of certain of his acts—

expelling demons, forgiving sins, healing on the sabbath day, his

novel interpretation of the precepts of the Law regarding purity,

and his familiarity with tax collectors and public sinners

318

—some

ill-intentioned persons suspected Jesus of demonic possession.

319

He is accused of blasphemy and false prophecy, religious crimes

which the Law punished with death by stoning.

320

575

Many of Jesus’ deeds andwords constituted a “sign of contradic­

tion,”

321

but more so for the religious authorities in Jerusalem, whom the

Gospel according to John often calls simply “the Jews,”

322

than for the

ordinary People of God.

323

To be sure, Christ’s relations with the Pharisees

were not exclusively polemical. Some Pharisees warned him of the danger

he was courting;

324

Jesus praises some of them, like the scribe of

Mark

12:34, and dines several times at their homes.

325

Jesus endorses some of

the teachings imparted by this religious elite of God’s people: the resur-

rection of the dead,

326

certain forms of piety (almsgiving, fasting, and

prayer),

327

the custom of addressing God as Father, and the centrality of

the commandment to love God and neighbor.

328

576

In the eyes of many in Israel, Jesus seems to be acting

against essential institutions of the Chosen People:

—submission to thewholeof theLawin itswrittencommandments

and, for the Pharisees, in the interpretation of oral tradition;

— the centrality of the Temple at Jerusalem as the holy place where

God’s presence dwells in a special way;

— faith in the one God whose glory no man can share.

317 Cf.

Mk

3:6; 14:1.

318 Cf.

Mt

12:24:

Mk

2:7, 14-17; 3:1-6; 7:14-23.

319 Cf.

Mk

3:22;

Jn

8:48; 10:20.

320 Cf.

Mk

2:7;

Jn

5:18;

Jn

7:12; 7:52; 8:59; 10:31, 33.

321

Lk

2:34.

322 Cf.

Jn

1:19; 2:18; 5:10; 7:13; 9:22; 18:12; 19:38; 20:19.

323

Jn

7:48-49.

324 Cf.

Lk

13:31.

325 Cf.

Lk

7:36; 14:1.

326 Cf.

Mt

22:23-34;

Lk

20:39.

327 Cf.

Mt

6:18.

328 Cf.

Mk

12:28-34.

158

530

591

993