Sunday, September 21, 2008

Jesus and Judaism

The Jewish Essence of Christianity
Christians from a variety of denominational backgrounds are discovering the Jewish essence of the Christian faith. Jesus calls his people to "make disciples of the nations" (Matt.28:19). When Christians embark on understanding the Jewish essence of Christianity, this is an important part of discipleship.

What are some of the aspects in understanding the Jewish essence of Christianity?

The Jewishness of Jesus
As Philip Yancey says, “Is it possible to read the Gospels without blinders on? Jews read with suspicion, preparing to be scandalized. Christians read through the refracted lenses of church history. Both groups, I believe would do well to pause and reflect on Matthew’s first words, “a record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, son of David, son of Abraham.” The son of David speaks of Jesus’ messianic line, which Jews should not ignore; a title without significance for him.” Notes C.H. Dodd,"The son of Abraham speaks of Jesus’ Jewish line, which Christians dare not ignore either." As Jaroslav Pelikan says:
"Would there have been such anti-Semitism, would there have been so many pogroms, would there have been as Auschwitz, if every Christian church and every Christian home had focused its devotion and icons of Mary not only as Mother of God and Queen of Heaven but as the Jewish maiden and the new Miriam, and on icons of Christ not only as Pantocrator but as Rabbi Jeshua bar-Joseph, Rabbi Jesus of Nazareth?"

The Jewish Aspects of Jesus’ life:

Jesus participated in Mikvah: (Matt 3:13-16)
Circumcision (Luke 2:21): Jesus’ parents are obedient to Mosaic Law by having him circumcised on 8th day
Mary’s Purification (Luke 2:22-24): Mary follows purification law (Leviticus 12)
Jesus’ family went to Jerusalem every year at Passover: (Luke 2:41)
Jesus’ model prayer bears resemblance to typical Jewish prayers:(Matthew 6:8-13)
Jesus wore “tzit-tzit” or fringes: (Matthew 9:20)
Jesus revered the Temple and ceremonial worship: (John 2:16)
Much of Jesus’ teaching is done in context of Jewish Holy Days: Sabbath (Matthew 12); Feast of Tabernacles (John 7); Feast of Passover (Matthew 26); Hanukkah (John 10)
Jesus taught in the synagogue: (Luke 4:14-20; John 18:20)
Jesus gathered disciples:(Matthew 8:23)
Paul says Jesus became a servant to the Jewish people: (Romans 15:8)
Jesus settled disputes: (Mark 9:33-37)
Jesus debated other rabbis: (Matthew 12:1-14)
Jesus viewed His mission to lost sheep of Israel: (Matthew 15:24)
Jesus commissioned the seventy to go to the lost sheep of Israel: (Matthew 10:5-6)
Jesus viewed himself as being revealed in the Torah, the Prophets and the Psalms, (Luke 24:44); (John 5:39)
Jesus taught Scripture was authoritative: Jesus quotes passages from the Torah in the temptation in the wilderness: (Matthew 4:1-11)
Jesus discussed how Scripture (The Tanakh) is imperishable in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:2-48)
Jesus also discussed how Scripture is infallible: (John 10:35)

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