How Jewish is your Jesus?
How do you respond to a Jehovah’s Witness?
Last week we examined the concept of Jesus as Word of God, by looking at the ancient Aramaic word, memra, the equivalent to the greek word, logos, that we see in that opening salvo of the Gospel of John:
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made." (John 1:1)
Here we see the word / logos / memra / Jesus as the means whereby God created the Universe. The idea of the Word of God as Creator is more familiar to modern Jews than they would possibly admit to. In their prayer book, the Siddur, is the following prayer, recited before drinking water.
Blessed are You, Lord, our God, King of the Universe, by whose word everything comes to be. (emphasis mine)
But there’s one group of people who have a lot of trouble with our view of Jesus, the memra of God, the Creator of all.
There’s a tapping on your front door. You open it to a couple of smiling, earnest and well dressed Jehovah’s Witnesses. They are sincere people but, on one very major point of theology, they are sincerely wrong. This is how their Bible “translates” John 1:1
“In the beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god.” (John 1:1, New World Translation)
Can you spot the difference? Of course you can. The JWs don’t see Jesus as God, they see him as a god, a created being just like you and me, but a bit more important! If only these people had the understanding of the memra, rather than the dodgy Bible translation of a 19th Century Christian cult, then surely the true light would dawn on them. Next time they come visiting and you run out of patience with them, hit them between the eyes with the Jewish view of a Creator God, a view re-inforced by another scripture, taken from the Book of Hebrews.
“In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.” (Hebrews 1:1-3)
These verses just cement our understanding so far. Jesus, the Son of God, was the means by which the universe was created. Don’t accept the diminished views of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. He is no created being. He is, most definitely, God Himself.