Diverting Attention – by Jim


Some Christians claim that Jesus only ever directed one’s attention to God, that he did not draw attention to himself. One can hardly imagine a greater argument against this than the Gospel of John, which opens “In the beginning was the Word, and the word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being….” And that Word, of course, was Jesus. Here, John rewrites the opening of the Torah to replace the Creator with Jesus.

Moreover, John overwrites Pesach with Jesus, making Jesus into the Passover lamb. It is clearly absurd that he attributes the fulfillment of the command not to break the Passover lamb’s bones to Jesus’ bones not being broken. And one ought to strenuously object such obvious abuse of scripture, when one is asked to take it seriously. However, the absurdity of such a claim lends itself more to amusement than to establish serious theology. But the claim that Jesus is the Passover lamb is more significantly troubling than it initial absurdity suggests.

Making Jesus the Passover lamb directs one’s attention from what God did to what Jesus is supposed to have done. I feel I hardly need to explain the Passover lamb. The story is well known. Exodus 12.26 tells us the meaning of the Passover lamb: “You shall say, ‘It is the passover sacrifice to the Lord, for he passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt, when he struck down the Egyptians and spared our houses.” It is to remind Israel of their deliverance by God. But John expropriates the observance, hi-jacking it to place his own meaning upon it. John takes the sacrifice meant to remind Israel of the Exodus and the great deliverance of God and makes it about the death of Jesus instead. Some will argue that one can remember both things with the sacrifice, now. Adding the crucifixion to the things memorialized in Passover doesn’t mean that one cannot think also of the Exodus. So, now God shares the spotlight. Clearly, attention has been given to Jesus.

But someone could say that Jesus didn’t point to himself. They could say that John pointed to Jesus, but that was later, in explaining Jesus. Jesus’ ministry was to point to God, and that’s what he did. Anyone who says this is mistaken.

Jesus clearly draws attention to himself, rewriting the meaning of the unleavened bread. It is related, just like the lamb, to the Exodus. God established the Festival of the Unleavened Bread, and He says, “You shall observe the festival of unleavened bread, for on this very day I brought you out of the land of Egypt: you shall observe this day throughout your generations as a perpetual ordinance” (Ex. 12.17.) Not only does God fix the festival to mark the Exodus, He establishes it in perpetuity.

Contrast this to Jesus. The Last Supper is at the beginning of the Festival of Unleavened Bread. So, when he takes the bread and breaks it, it is already taking away from God and drawing attention to himself when he says, “Take eat, this is my body” (Mt. 26.26). He says nothing about remembering God. Instead, the disciples are to remember Jesus. In Luke, he takes even another step. “This is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me” (Lk. 22.19). Jesus overlays a ceremony to remember himself over one that was meant to remember the acts of God.

It is not credible to say that Jesus only drew attention to God and never to himself. Because he sometimes said things to which few people could object, does not mean that he never said anything objectionable. Just as the NT at times wrote about honoring God and sometimes about honoring Jesus, so did Jesus divert attention from God to himself. He made a divinely ordained festival to be about himself, distracting from the mighty acts of God in freeing the Jewish people from cruel oppression. To argue that he never drew attention to himself is simply untenable.

If you found this article helpful please consider making a donation to Judaism Resources by clicking on the link below.


Judaism Resources is a recognized 501(c) 3 public charity and your donation is tax exempt.

Thank You

Yisroel C. Blumenthal


This entry was posted in General. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Diverting Attention – by Jim

  1. paul says:

    From the stand point of Jesus not being God Himself would have this posted coment as some what true. However if Jesus was God incarnate then the glory of the Father hasnt been diverted, but only glorified. The veil has truly been placed on the eyes of the house of Jacob.

    2 cor ch 3

    • Sharbano says:

      Have you actually read in the prophets of whom the veil is placed upon.

    • Annelise says:

      Paul, I agree with you that if the glory and presence of God were in Jesus, then he would not have been distracting attention from God when he drew it towards himself. I don’t think that he was actually God incarnate, though.

    • tony says:

      ” However if Jesus was God incarnate then the glory of the Father hasnt been diverted, but only glorified”

      impossible, the father is not the same person as jesus and jesus is a form which is seen.
      now the form is being glorified and the father is put in a distance. your mind forces the separation between the two persons.

      • tony Exactly! The Christian claim that Jesus is God is no more than a word game. If someone loves God with all his/her heart. soul and might, the Christian would still want to take part of that love (if not all of it) and give it to Jesus.

        1000 Verses – a project of Judaism Resources wrote: >

        • tony says:

          imagine there is a person called steve who exists as fully steve and fully dog.
          one day steve discovers that his family is giving “steve the dog” full respect just like they would give “steve the human”. his wife gives same love and respect to “steve the dog” as she would give “steve the human”

          should steve be offended?

          his wife could say, “but that dog is fully you, steve”
          should steve feel jealous?

  2. Dina says:


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.