There two groups of people in our readings for today, Jews and Greeks.
The first important thing to realize here is that these words are only superficially referring to ethnic groups.
For both John and Paul, “Jews” and “Greeks” are not people of Jewish heritage or people who were born in Greece.
Jews and Greeks are people of two different spiritual personalities.
Consider our texts about Jews and Greeks for Tuesday in Holy Week. We have a story and a theological description.
The story comes from the Gospel of John: “Among those who went up to worship at the festival were some Greeks. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and said to him, ‘Sir, we wish to see Jesus.’ Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. Jesus answered them, ‘The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.’”
It’s actually an unfinished story. We don’t know if the Greeks actually met Jesus or not.
They probably did, and heard Jesus’ teaching on the grain of wheat falling into the earth. But let’s come back to this in a moment.
Our other description of Jews and Greeks comes from Paul in 1 Corinthians: “For Jews demand signs and Greeks desire wisdom, but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.”
Here we have Paul describing these two types of spiritual personalities.
What can we learn from these two passages? Continue reading