A lot of people who call themselves Christians have a limited understanding of who Jesus was. Jesus was a jew.
Yes, they believe He was the Son of God. They also may even believe that He was the Messiah, the Christ, and the Savior of mankind. And yes, they believe he was born of a Virgin, lived a sinless life, died on the cross to pay for our sins and rose from the grave. They accept all that.
The one thing they forget is that Jesus/Yeshua was not a technically a Christian. Jesus was a Jew. He lived as a Jew and participated in all of the holidays and religious observances. He did not come to eliminate Judaism.
Do I need to convert to Judaism to follow Jesus?
The Apostles argued with one another about this very topic. Some maintained that in order to be a follower of Jesus a person would first have to convert to Judaism. The Apostle Paul was on the opposite site and maintained that there was no prerequisite for “Christian” believe, other than to follow Jesus. He said there was no longer Jew or Greek, just believers and non-believers.
Some Christian despise Jews
To make the topic more difficult, there are Christians who call Jews “Christ killers” and maintain that they were the enemy in the New Testament accounts.
Of course, there were the Romans, the occupying force, who oppressed the Jewish people and bled them for taxes. The Romans were the instrument of execution, taking Jesus to the cross after a mock trial.
The Jewish religious leaders demanded His crucifixion, believing Jesus to be dangerous to the faith. The crow screamed at Pilot, “Let His blood be on our heads,” as they demanded His death. There was plenty of blame to go around. But Jesus did not have to die because of the Jews or the Romans.
Jesus came so everyone can be redeemed
Jesus explained that he did not come to abolish the Law and the Prophets, but to fulfill them. He was not there to overcome the Roman army, or to dismantle the Jewish traditions.
He was there to pay the price for sin, not just for the people in Israel at the time, but for all people in all places at all times. Logically, it was sin that killed Jesus. The players were secondary.
Christians separate themselves from Judaism
Christians separate themselves from the Jewish people., thinking that the divide is too great. I personally think this is nonsense. While I am a follower of Jesus, I have a deep affection for the Jewish people and the faith that Jesus practiced.
He was always a part of history, the formation of the faith and He will return to us to complete the final chapter, which has yet to be written. God is not done with His chosen people. He has watched His community of believers in Christ for over 2000 years, but He was not forgotten Israel and His Jewish children.
“The Chosen” highlights the Jewishness of Jesus/Yeshua
The television drama, “The Chosen” has done a beautiful job of bringing out the Jewish traditions. The show gives us a backstory on the Biblical accounts. It clearly shows that Jesus was God and Man, and more importantly, a Jew.
The second episode of the first season shows Jesus going to a Shabbat/Sabbath dinner, observing the Jewish custom. He went to Jerusalem for Passover, celebrated Hanukkah and the other observances. Rabbi Jason Sobel’s book “Mysteries of the Messiah,” is a joy to read and teaches us about the Jewish roots of the Christian faith.
Understanding the Jewish Faith Helps Us to Understand the New Testament
When we embrace the Jewish roots, so much of New Testament Scripture becomes clearer and the pieces fall into place. Jesus did not come to establish Christianity; he came to announce the Kingdom of God. Jesus, of course, is the absolute essential in bringing man and God together.
To follow Jesus means to do what Jesus did. You don’t have to become a Jew to do this, but understand that understanding the Jewish faith will bring vibrancy and excitement to the Christian tradition. We get to see more of Jesus in His fullness.