52 Books A Year - Book 2
My second book for this year was "The Jewish Gospel of John: Discovering Jesus, King of All Israel" by Dr. Eli Lizorkin.
I really enjoyed my time with this book. It is a simple walk through the book of John, but with a Jewish tour guide. Why a Jewish guide? Basically, it was written in Israel, to Israelites, relating things that happened among the Israelites, Roman occupiers, and sojourning people of that time. Much of what we hear when we read this book (and other biblical texts) comes off the shelf from centuries of theological filters. This attempts to put a pause on that and see if there is something that many of us have been missing.
For instance, how many times have we heard sermons about the grace that was shown to the woman (at the well) who had been divorced five times and, at that time, was living with a man out of wedlock (in other words, shacking up)? Well, simply put, the words don't say that. They say this: "for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband." - John 4:18. If you take a tiny step back you could see other options for this. She may have been widowed that many times (think of the Saducees' question to Jesus regarding that type of misfortune). She also could have been living with a relative since it was tough for a woman to provide shelter in those days. Now, it can be tough on anyone (equal opportunity economic challenges).
Dr. Eli addresses one reason this gospel has been used as an anti-Jewish document. Why does it speak of (in our English) "the Jews" in a seemingly negative light? Why does it also speak of Jews in a positive light? He calls Jews "His own" and He states "Salvation is from the Jews." So, how can it be anti-Jewish and pro-Jewish at the same time. The author invites us to join him on a fresh walk-through. Maybe there is an explanation...
Dr. Lizorkin hopes to make a difference in Jewish-Christian relations. I think, if Christians and Jews would read this book, it would truly make an impact for the better. I also believe that this book has helped me know my Yeshua (savior) better. And that's a good thing indeed.
I really enjoyed this read. I intend to check out more of what Dr. Lizorkin has to say. Now on to my next book. What are you reading?