Sunday Devotional: Salvation is from and also for the Jews

John 4:5-7, 21-26

Jesus came to a town of Samaria called Sychar,
near the plot of land that Jacob had given to his son Joseph.
Jacob’s well was there.
Jesus, tired from his journey, sat down there at the well.
It was about noon.

A woman of Samaria came to draw water….

Jesus said to her,
“Believe me, woman, the hour is coming
when you will worship the Father
neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.
You people worship what you do not understand;
we worship what we understand,
because salvation is from the Jews.
But the hour is coming, and is now here,
when true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and truth;
and indeed the Father seeks such people to worship him.
God is Spirit, and those who worship him
must worship in Spirit and truth.”
The woman said to him,
“I know that the Messiah is coming, the one called the Christ;
when he comes, he will tell us everything.”
Jesus said to her,
“I am he, the one speaking with you.

“…salvation is from the Jews”

What does that mean?

The best explanation I’ve found is in the book, Salvation is from the Jews, by Roy H. Schoeman, a Jewish convert to Catholicism, on the critical salvific role played by Jews and Judaism. From pp. 20-21:

[T]hree of the roles that the Jewish people were called upon to play in salvation history — first, to give themselves completely to God, resulting in a uniquely intimate covenant between them and God; second, by their loyalty and virtue to bring blessing, and eventually the ultimate blessing of the Redeemer, to all of mankind; and third, to foreshadow prophetically later salvation history in their own history.

Yet this does not exhaust the role that the Jews were to play. The Jews were also to host the Incarnation itself, to be the people among whom God would become man. If God were to be on a uniquely intimate basis with the Jews and eventually to incarnate among them, they would have to be free from all involvement with other deities, free from all spiritual pollution. Hence the severity of the restrictions in the Old Testament against any form of idolatry or sorcery, both of which establish ties between the practitioners and fallen spirits. This purity, and the development of virtue and piety among at least some of the Jews, would have to reach its ultimate fruition later in producing an individual of such devotion and virtue that she could give her flesh to be the flesh of the God-man, that she could be His human mother. This individual was, of course, the Blessed Virgin Mary.

But salvation is also for the Jews.

I love St. Paul, the former Saul, because he, though a Jew, was the apostle who most championed the bringing of the gospel — the good news of Jesus Christ — to non-Jews, the Gentiles. Christians through the ages and throughout the world have St. Paul to thank. (See “St. Paul, whom Christ struck blind”)

Paul the Apostle, by Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn c. 1657

In a powerful passage in his Letter to the Romans, however, St. Paul specifically addresses unbelieving Jews. His words should be a reminder to us that, however difficult, we are to pray for instead of curse them.

Romans 11:13-15, 29-32

Brothers and sisters:
I am speaking to you Gentiles.
Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles,
I glory in my ministry in order to make my race jealous
and thus save some of them.
For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world,
what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?

For the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable.
Just as you once disobeyed God
but have now received mercy because of their disobedience,
so they have now disobeyed in order that,
by virtue of the mercy shown to you,
they too may now receive mercy.
For God delivered all to disobedience,
that he might have mercy upon all.

See also:

May the peace and love of our Lord, Jesus the Christ, be with you,

~Eowyn

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JCscuba
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JCscuba

Great, apparently you are back. Good Luck, J.C.

josephbc69
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I think that this line is extremely important: “For God delivered all to disobedience, that he might have mercy upon all.” It created a level playing field, so to speak, in which all of us can partake. Some 40 years ago I won a contract to create a 3.5 acre soccer field for the township of Castlegar, BC. The work was done by myself and my neighbour, John Hodges, who used the same tractor as the one from his farm. The most difficult part of the entire task was getting the field levelled to specifications. The rest was pretty straightforward,… Read more »

the #1 Itinerary
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Great post ?

William
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William

There are semantic and historiographic differences on what is meant by “the Jews”. Some academics like Israeli historian Schlomo Sand (a Marxist) insist that there is no such entity as the Jewish People, only the Jewish religion, and that the vast majority of people who call themselves Jews are of Khazar extraction and have no historical connection to the Holy Land. But the biblical Jews are a unique and discrete entity. And they are obviously a significant presence in the Bible. I’m still sorting out my views on all of this but always fall back to the position that the… Read more »

William
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William

Addendum: Often when I am exercised and typing triple brackets, I remind myself that many, maybe a majority, of the people I have called friends in the course of my life have been Jews. Generally interesting and intelligent people. Sometimes wonderful people. This helps me to regain my equilibrium. Moderation and balance in all things. Aequanimitas in all matters of the mind and heart. Thus be it ever

Alma
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Alma

And with Your Spirit, Amén. The Blessed Virgin Mary painting is radiant, it was a beautiful inspiration to whoever created it. Very beautiful.

caltrop
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caltrop

Translating the Greek literally – ….”salvation from Judea is”, Strongs concordance 2453.

Salvation is from one sprung from the tribe of Judah.

Steven Broiles
Member

Our Lord also said that He did not come to destroy the Law, but “to fulfill it.” He came to the Jews, and they rejected Him. The Catholic Church used to have a prayer for the conversion of the Jews, and the Second Vatican Council—to my understanding—has suppressed that prayer. This does not help matters, in my humble opinion. From what I can understand about the matter, the Jews today do not have “their own Covenant,” but are bound to the same New Covenant Our Lord established with His Passion. My understanding is that they have impressed upon the conciliar… Read more »

Auntie Lulu
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Auntie Lulu

Dr Eowyn . . . Wonderful and inciteful lesson for today . . . indeed, our cousins, the Jews were and are to be covered by the Salvation offered by Jesus Christ.

pigpen51
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pigpen51

The Jews were part of the Old Testament promise of God, and they were His people. However, they rejected Him. I still believe that they have some significance in the end times, but salvation is offered to them in the same way as it is to everyone living in the New Testament times, as is shown by this Bible verse. Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. Jesus came preaching to His… Read more »

Lophatt
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Lophatt

Jews have played a major role in Salvation. The story of the Samaritan woman at the well is tells us quite a few things. Worship at the Temple is no longer necessary. Non-Jews being considered “substandard” is no longer acceptable. Sharing things in common and the insistence on the Temple cult is no longer desired. It’s a very rich allegory. Jesus teaches his Disciples that God created everyone equally and it is not prohibited to talk and/or share with others not of your tribe. Later, the first council with St. Peter would revolve around this very thing regarding dietary proscriptions… Read more »

Hello
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Hello

None of this ever makes any sense to me as many times as I read or hear it. Jews are the chosen ones. The Savior was there. It’s “The Holy Land” and wars are fought over it. I am supposed to accept both Jesus as my Savior, which I have, and accept that my most prized private part was cut off by Jewish doctors? They call it the cute term “circumcision” and it’s all throughout The Bible. It is male genital mutilation and it is legal in the US whereas when it’s done to a female doctors go to prison.… Read more »

Alma
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Alma

Salvation is meant for all humanity. HE is so compassionate HE forgives those who repent come Judgment Day.

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