The Profession of Faith
other historical sources, the better to understand the meaning of
Paragraph 1. Jesus and Israel
From the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry, certain
Pharisees and partisans of Herod together with priests and scribes
agreed together to destroy him.
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
ill-intentioned persons suspected Jesus of demonic possession.
He is accused of blasphemy and false prophecy, religious crimes
which the Law punished with death by stoning.
Many of Jesus’ deeds andwords constituted a “sign of contradic
but more so for the religious authorities in Jerusalem, whom the
Gospel according to John often calls simply “the Jews,”
than for the
ordinary People of God.
To be sure, Christ’s relations with the Pharisees
were not exclusively polemical. Some Pharisees warned him of the danger
he was courting;
Jesus praises some of them, like the scribe of
12:34, and dines several times at their homes.
Jesus endorses some of
the teachings imparted by this religious elite of God’s people: the resur-
rection of the dead,
certain forms of piety (almsgiving, fasting, and
the custom of addressing God as Father, and the centrality of
the commandment to love God and neighbor.
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.
2:7, 14-17; 3:1-6; 7:14-23.
7:12; 7:52; 8:59; 10:31, 33.
1:19; 2:18; 5:10; 7:13; 9:22; 18:12; 19:38; 20:19.