How Jewish was Jesus?
Jesus was Jewish since he was born one, led a Jewish lifestyle and attended the synagogue for his teachings and scriptural quests. Additionally, Jesus was referred to as Rabbi, which was a Jewish term for a great teacher. All the same, Jesus was not like any other Jew since he is regarded by Christians as a Son of God who came to save the world. The Jews rejected Jesus and continue to, since he is disregarded as the messiah. However, Jesus was not only sent for the Jews but for all mankind, meant to accomplish the new covenant. However, when he was crucified and later resurrected, and ascended to later send the Holy Spirit, the Jews were most of his followers who even debated on whether to become circumcised or eat particular foods, an occurrence similar to the Jewish period (Brown, 2008). The messianic concept is another phenomenon that qualifies Jesus as a Jew. Jesus is however, not awarded much regards in Jewish history due to his claim of the messianic eagerly awaited for but which he failed to qualify for due to his lack of fulfillment of the messianic prophesies. He is seen as a false messiah in the Jewish history, just like Simon bar Kochba, who almost led to destruction of Judaism (Brown, 2008).
The Jewish view regarding Jesus is that he led a normal Jewish life such as preaching when the Roman reign was in place. He taught the fellow Jews and even used illustrations that they were familiar with in his teachings and having themes which emphasized the gentile’s acceptance in the new kingdom. Therefore like any other religious Jew, Jesus was executed as a result of being opposed to the Roman authorities. Most importantly, Jesus had been greatly influenced by Israel traditions aware of the need for purity for the Jews. He was aware of the Jewish scripture and used imagery from the scriptures in his teachings such as the Mustard seed. His miracles were also very contextual such as the wedding at Cana of Galilee where he turned water into wine for people to celebrate (Freyne, 2005). Jesus was born by Jews, Mary and Joseph in Galilee, which is located in the Jewish region. He interacted with Jews in his daily life as disciples and audience. He went to synagogue for worship and used Jewish scriptures to teach not to mention his participation in Jewish festivals and pilgrimages such as one in the Jerusalem temple. His life, birth, language (Aramaic and Greek common in Galilee), teachings and death are Jewish as revealed by the gospel books of Mathew, Mark Luke and John.
Jesus is so attached to the first century Jewish practices regarding religion such as the Sabbath observance in the synagogues and his observance of the Passover in Jerusalem, which emphasize his attachment to the Jewish values. During his time, he adhered to Judaism and never identified himself with other religious groups such as the Pharisees as well as the Seducees but he in fact condemned them just like Jews of his time did. He refers to Jews as the children of Israel in his teachings and regarded as the king of the Jews, who was a descendant of David as genealogically traced. He is also referred to as son of David who would establish an everlasting dynasty (Freyne, 2005).
However, he is not perceived much as a Jew but as he is not portrayed as being from another background but that of the Jews. His originality was obvious but as a retrospect, he is not seen as a Jew but as a person who established Christianity.
Brown, M. L. (2008). Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus: New Testament Objections. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker publishing Group.
Freyne, S. (2005). Jesus, a Jewish Galilean: A New Reading of The Jesus-Story. London: T&T Clark International.
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