John 8:28, The Earliest Christian Church, Part III of IV
Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.
//Yesterday, I promised to bring up some similarities I’ve noticed between Johannine Christians and the Ebionites, that early Jewish Christian sect that I believe stems from the first church in Jerusalem. Here are some that come to mind; if you can think of more, please let me know!
– John’s emphasis, in both the Gospel and Revelation, is Jerusalem. (Contrast this to the other three Gospels, where Jesus spends all of his time in Galilee before making that one fateful trip to the big city.) The Ebionites (being Jewish Christians) revered Jerusalem as God’s city, and continued to pray toward Jerusalem.
– John’s Gospel emphasizes community, a close-knit segregated brotherhood. The Ebionites lived communally and seemed to draw away from other groups, including other Christian groups.
– John’s concept of the pre-existent Christ (see today’s verse above as an example) matches Ebionite doctrine. They saw Jesus as a true prophet who had repeatedly appeared throughout history. Jesus’ first appearance was in Adam.
– The Ebionites understood the resurrection to be a spiritual event, not bodily resurrection. If you set aside the final chapter of John’s Gospel, which surely is an add-on, then John also describes the resurrection as spiritual.
Curiously, in many ways the gospel considered to be of highest Christology (John) aligns with the thinking of the very first Christian church, often described as a low Christology!