Friday, July 23, 2004

The Ten Commandments in John

John's Gospel focuses a great deal on the struggle between Jesus and the Jewish leaders. The Jews accuse Jesus of breaking the Law, especially in regards to the Sabbath (5:18, 9:28-29). Jesus claims to be above the Law, because God is His Father (5:18), He is the author of it (8:6-8), and He is greater than Moses anyway. But I think He also turns around the argument to show how the Jews are not keeping the law either. There's some obvious passages that point to this, like chapter eight where Jesus tells the Jews that lying and murder is not the behavior of someone who loves God through faith.

Here's another idea I had though, which is still in its formative stages. I'm thinking that John makes a point of showing how the Jews break each of the Ten Commandments. I haven't figured all ten out yet, but some of the similarities so far as striking.

1. "You shall have no other gods before Me." - This is the main problem with the Jews throughout the book. The passage I would choose to illustrate this at its most blatant is 19:15, when the Jews proclaim "We have no king but Caesar". This sin is everywhere though, since Jesus is the Son of God and the Jews reject Him.

2. "You shall not make for yourself an idol..." - I'm not sure about this one yet.

3. "You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain..." - Not sure.

4. "Observe the Sabbath day and keep it holy..." - This is a major theme of the conflict in chapter 5. The Jews say that Jesus does not honor the Sabbath, but a careful study of the passage shows that Jesus is the one who honors it by bringing rest, celebration and salvation. The Jews prefer the wilderness wanderings instead of Sabbath rest, and set themselves against Jesus' right interpretation.

5. "Honor your father and your mother..." - Maybe the Jew's sin is that they are good at honoring their real father, the devil. They lie and murder because that's what he does (8:44). They claim that Abraham is their father, but they do not do his works (8:37-39).

6. "You shall not murder." - The Jews try repeatedly and succeed in killing Jesus. They also try to kill Lazarus after he's raised from the dead (12:10). The Jews are murderers because their father the devil is a murderer too (8:44).

7. "You shall not commit adultery." - It seems like Jesus is accusing the Jews of this sin in the story of the woman caught in adultery (8:1-11). The Jews bring her in on charges to test Jesus, but something funny is going on since this is the first time in recorded history where a single person was caught in the act of adultery. The Jews, if not directly involved with this woman, realize their guilt when Jesus asks for someone to cast the first stone.

8. "You shall not steal." - Not sure. Perhaps this is connected to making the temple into a "house of robbers" (2:16, Matt 21:13), or demanding the release of Barabbas, a robber (18:40).

9. "You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor." - This is how the Jews get Jesus convicted, by lying about what He said. They are liars because their father is the devil (8:44,55).

10. "You shall not covet your neighbor's wife..." - Not sure.

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