|Can I believe in Yeshua (Jesus) and still be Jewish?|
by: David Brown
I have a friend that is married to a
Jewish man, she is Lutheran. I was telling her about a Messianic Jew that
came & spoke at our church. She doesn't think that it's possible for a Jew
to believe that Jesus is the Messiah and still be Jewish. She thinks they
would then be Christian. Any insight on this?
A: This is actually what most Jewish people think as well. It is ironic that a Jewish-born person can become an Atheist or a Hindu and still be considered "a Jew," but if he believes in the Jew Yeshua (Jesus) as the Jewish Messiah as prophesied in Jewish Scripture, he is no longer considered a Jew!
We believe that Christianity is Jewish, and even more Jewish than what is commonly called Judaism. Jesus identified Himself as a Jew in John 4:22, in the same breath that He testified that salvation comes through the Jews. The Jewish lineage of Jesus is well documented in both the Gospels of Matthew and Mark.
All of the original disciples were Jews. Paul mentions his genetic descent in 2 Corinthians 11:22 and Romans 11:1. He also taught all those who accepted the Jewish Scriptures, which in Christianity became known as the "Old Testament."
The Church was born of Jewish believers on the Jewish holiday of Shavuot, better known in the Gentile world by its Greek name of Pentecost.
The Greek word "Christos" means "Anointed One" as does the Hebrew word "Mashiach," better known to English speakers as "Messiah." The first Christians were so called because of their very Jewish belief in the promised Messiah, known to Greek speaking Jews as "ho Christos."
In Acts 10:45, Peter and his Jewish companions were amazed that Gentiles could receive the Holy Spirit. Until that time Christianity was an exclusively Jewish phenomenon.
Non-Christian Gentiles often referred to Christian groups as "Jews." Paul warns about people pretending to be Jews in order to infiltrate the church!
The book of Hebrews, so named because it was addressed to Hebrew (Jewish) believers, explains how the regulations of the Jewish Torah and the history of the Jewish people were signs of the New Covenant (or New Testament) prophesied by Jeremiah.
The religion commonly known as Judaism today, however, is based on the
interpretations of rabbis, who do not necessarily interpret the Jewish
Scriptures the way Jesus did. Jesus proclaimed that not a word of the
Jewish Scripture would go unfulfilled. (Matthew 5:18). He believed himself
to be the prophesied Messiah.
Apparently, as the church grew and became more and more Gentile, both sides came to use the term "Jew" to mean non-Christian Jews, but according to the Bible:
"A man is not a Jew if he is only one outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code." (Romans 2:28-29)