Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Jews for Jesus (Part 4)

In this series of posts I’m attempting to explain the Christian understanding of Judaism.

Michael Medved, in his blog I referenced in an earlier post, said of Moishe Rosen, founder of Jews for Jesus, “he lived his life as a devoted Christian, so his public insistence that he was still fully Jewish emphasized Jewish identity as merely ethnic—denying the religious component important to most Jews.” Let me respond to that statement.

Because the New Testament says we are all one in Christ, there should be no distinction between races, nationalities, original religious background, or gender, as we read in Colossians 3:11 (NIV):

Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.

We read something similar in Galatians 3:28 (NIV):

There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Jews who become Christians are still ethnically Jewish, of course, but are no longer religiously Jewish. They have given up their Jewish religious practices for faith in Christ, although some may keep the Passover since it so clearly points to Jesus. There is not so much a denial of the Jewish religious component with converted Jews as there is a deep appreciation of the Jewish heritage of Christianity. But these converts also understand that they no longer have to keep Kosher or follow other Jewish religious laws because of what Christ did on the cross.

I would add that Christians should respect the Jewish religion because it was handed down by God through Moses. If Jewish people choose to follow those ancient God-given practices, that is their choice and we must respect that. I would hope Jewish people in turn would honor their fellow Jews’ choice to accept Jesus as their Messiah, and not think they have “gone over to the other side” and given up being Jewish. Hopefully this series of posts has helped my Jewish brothers and sisters to understand where Christians, including those who are ethnically Jewish, are coming from.

Naturally what I have written may be difficult for some Jews to swallow, and I don’t expect you to agree. However, this is what the Bible says, so that’s what Christians believe. So this is why Christians sometimes share the Gospel with Jews, hoping they will come to faith in Christ. It isn’t out of disrespect. I hope these series of posts will give some understanding of why Christians believe what they believe to our Jewish brothers and sisters, and will promote respect for our Jewish heritage among Christians. May God bless you – Jew and Christian – on your walk of faith. Shalom.

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