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Jews reclaim Jesus as one of their own
Some Jewish leaders are encouraging Jews to see Jesus as one of their own.
April 5th, 2012
02:36 PM ET

Jews reclaim Jesus as one of their own

By Richard Allen Greene, CNN

(CNN) - The relationship between Jews and Jesus has traditionally been a complicated one, to say the least.

As his followers' message swept the ancient world, Jews who did not accept Jesus as the Messiah found themselves in the uncomfortable, and sometimes dangerous, position of being blamed for his death.

Mainstream Christian theology's position held that Judaism had been supplanted, the Jewish covenant with the divine no longer valid, because of the incarnation of God as Jesus and his sacrifice on the cross.

Jews, for their part, tended largely to ignore Jesus.

That's changing now.

In the past year, a spate of Jewish authors, from the popular to the rabbinic to the scholarly, have wrestled with what Jews should think about Jesus.

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And overwhelmingly, they are coming up with positive answers, urging their fellow Jews to learn about Jesus, understand him and claim him as one of their own.

"Jesus is a Jew. He spent his life talking to other Jews," said Amy-Jill Levine, co-editor of the recently released "Jewish Annotated New Testament."

"In reading the New Testament, I am often inspired, I am intrigued. I actually find myself becoming a better Jew because I become better informed about my own history," she said.

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, a media personality who recently launched a bid for a U.S. House seat, argues in his own new book, "Kosher Jesus," that "Jews have much to learn from Jesus - and from Christianity as a whole - without accepting Jesus' divinity. There are many reasons for accepting Jesus as a man of great wisdom, beautiful ethical teachings, and profound Jewish patriotism."

And Benyamin Cohen, an Orthodox Jew who spent a recent year going to church, admitted that he's jealous that Christians have Jesus.

"He's a tangible icon that everybody can latch on to. Judaism doesn't have a superhero like that," said Cohen, the author of the 2009 book "My Jesus Year."

 

"I'm not advocating for Moses dolls," he said, but he argued that "it's hard to believe in a God you can't see. I'm jealous of Christians in that regard, that they have this physical manifestation of the divine that they can pray to.

"There could be more devout Jews than me who don't need that, but to a young Jew living in the 21st century, I wish we had something more tangible," he said.

The flurry of recent Jewish books on Jesus - including this month's publication of "The Jewish Gospels: The Story of the Jewish Christ" by Daniel Boyarin - is part of a trend of Jews taking pride in Jesus, interfaith expert Edward Kessler said.

"In the 1970s and 1980s, Christian New Testament scholars rediscovered the Jewish Jesus. They reminded all New Testament students that Jesus was Jewish," said Kessler, the director of the Woolf Institute in Cambridge, England, which focuses on relations between Jews, Christians and Muslims.

A generation later, that scholarship has percolated into Jewish thought, he said, welcoming the trend: "It's not a threat to Jews and it's not a threat to Christians."

For Jews in particular, he said, "It's not so threatening as it was even 30 years ago. There is almost a pride that Jesus was a Jew rather than an embarrassment about it."

Boteach agrees, writing in "Kosher Jesus" that "Jews will gain much from re-embracing him as a hero."

"The truth is important," Boteach writes. "A patriot of our people has been lost. Worse still, he's been painted as the father of a long and murderous tradition of anti-Semitism."

Boteach aims to claim, or reclaim, Jesus as a political rebel against Rome and to exonerate the Jews of his death. But Boteach's book has attracted plenty of criticism, for instance for blaming the Apostle Paul for everything he doesn't like about Christianity, such as hailing Jesus as divine and cutting his ties to Judaism.

"Paul never met Jesus, and Jesus certainly never would have sanctioned Paul's actions and embellishments," Boteach argues about the apostle who wrote much of the New Testament. "Jesus ... would have been appalled at how his followers would later define him."

"Jews will never accept his divinity. Nor should they," Boteach writes, in one of many instances of presuming to know what Jesus really thought and meant. "The belief that any man is God is an abomination to Judaism, a position that Jesus himself would maintain."

He cherry-picks the Gospels to to suit his arguments, writes in casual modern idioms (calling Pontius Pilate a "sadistic mass murderer" and comparing him to Hitler), and gets wrong the most basic details of the Passion story, such as the amount of money Judas took to betray Jesus.

Other experts in the field label Boteach's book "sensationalistic," and call him a "popularizer," but Kessler sees "Kosher Jesus" as part of the trend of Judaizing Jesus. Cohen, the "My Jesus Year" author, offered some support for Boteach even as he expressed doubts about the book.

"I understand what Shmuley is trying to get at there," he said, but added: "I don't think anyone has the right to say 'This is the definition of Jesus,' especially a rabbi. He's not ours to claim."

Levine, who teaches New Testament and Jewish studies at Vanderbilt University Divinity School, also framed Jewish efforts to study Jesus in terms of mutual respect.

"Speaking personally as a Jew, if I want my neighbors to respect Judaism, which means knowing something about Jewish history, scripture and tradition, I owe my Christian neighbors the same courtesy. It's a matter of respect," she said.

She urged Jews to "become familiar with the material and make up their own mind as to how they understand Jesus."

Ironically, she added, Jews can understand their own history more thoroughly through studying the life of Jesus.

"The best source on the period for Jewish history other than (the first-century historian) Josephus is the New Testament," she said.

"It's one of those ironies of history that the only Pharisee writing in the Second Temple period from whom we have records is Paul of Tarsus," she said. " 'The Jewish Annotated New Testament' is designed in part to help Jews recover their own history."

But she also wants Christians to use it to understand Judaism more deeply, she said. While many Christian leaders acknowledge that Jesus was a Jew, she said, not many know much about what that means.

"Many Christian ministers and educators have no training in what early Judaism was like," she said. "Not to take seriously first-century Judaism seems to dismiss part of the message of the New Testament."

Cohen, the "My Jesus Year" author, found that Christians were very interested in Judaism during the 52 weeks he spent going from church to church.

"Many Christians look on Judaism as version 1.0 of their own religion. Because of that historical relationship, they're interested in a lot of the theology of Judaism," he said.

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For his part, Cohen learned much that surprised him. "I was shocked when I went to church and heard them give sermons about the Old Testament," he said. "I had no idea Christians read the Old Testament."

"One week, I went to church and the pastor gave exactly the same sermon my rabbi did the night before about Moses and the burning bush, and the pastor did it much better," he continued.

Cohen came away from his Jesus year with a clear understanding of what he believes.

"People ask me all the time if I believe in Jesus. Do I believe he exists? Sure. Do I believe he's your God? Sure, I have no problem with that," he said he tells Christians who ask.

"I understand Christians' love for Jesus and I respect that," he said. "If anything, I learned a lot from them and did become a more engaged Jew, a better Jew, and I appreciate my Judaism more because I hung out with Jesus."

- Newsdesk editor, The CNN Wire

Filed under: Jesus • Judaism

soundoff (2,641 Responses)
  1. sy

    I didn't realize that Jesus having been a Jew was ever under question. The whole issue is that we as Jews, recognizing Jesus as a human being, dont recognize Jesus as God as worshipping a human being would be equivalent to idolatry, which is strictly forbidden In the Judaism. Splitting God up into three forms is also not compatible with Judaism as doing so, per our teachings, weakens the idea of God being an Almighty force, if it's not outright idolatry. That Jesus was a scholar, a Jew, a rabbi, that has never been an issue as far as I've known.

    April 12, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
    • brian wolfe

      that gabriel? came to mohammad and mohammad started a religion is against the word of God.

      April 12, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
    • md2205

      Logically speaking, infinity cannot be split into any parts as then it wouldn't be infinity. There would be a boundary, which would make G-d not infinite.

      April 12, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
  2. JR

    Great article. As for the comments... it's Jews & Gentiles arguing over prophesies. Just like the 1st century. :) God bless you all.

    April 12, 2012 at 8:11 am |
    • md2205

      People are allowed to bring up viewpoints and perspectives and to have rational and respectful discussions about them, as is occurring on this blog. I would venture to say that topics may be validly discussed in whichever generation people find themselves.

      April 12, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
  3. Alexander

    I am a Jew, I wouldn't necessarily say the most pious one, and I can say this article stands against EVERYTHING me AND most Jews ever believed in. Perhaps some Jews might be jealous of "Christians who have a tangible god", I think Christians ought to be jealous of us who do NOT have a tangible god, but that set aside, whereas I acknowledge Jesus was Jewish, there is absolutely nothing about him that we as a people miss... so, he was Jewish, but aside from that... NOTHING.

    April 12, 2012 at 2:13 am |
    • Paul

      May I ask you what you think the fullfillment of Daniel 9:24-27 is with regard to the Messiah?

      April 12, 2012 at 2:17 am |
    • dionysusBeer

      @Paul- The Old Testament was written after the prophecy and the Jewish people were familiar with the Old Testament prophecies. Not only that, but the NT was written about 60 years after Jesus died. If Jesus' followers wanted to make Jesus seem divine, they could easily make their story contain references to the prophecies without much trouble.

      April 12, 2012 at 8:49 am |
    • sy

      I totally agree. That Jesus has been "ignored" in Judaism from a religious standpoint is simply because he is not seen by us as any more divine than any other human being. At that, if what the Christian bible says is accurate, some of his teachings went against what Judaism says God told us (like eating pigs is ok, to name one). So if he was a rabbi, he wasn't a very good one. Most of Jesus' teachings of being a good person (like "love your neighbor") are basic tenets of Judaism that all rabbis teach.

      April 12, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
    • brian wolfe

      Nothing can be farther from the truth than mortals claiming to be prophets having a word from their god like in mormonism and islam.

      April 12, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
    • md2205

      I don't think that most people are jealous that someone has something tangible to pray to. Something that is physical is not infinite and did not create the world and the people in it. That is what Abraham was all about. In his day, it was against the law not to worship idols, but he proved that the idols couldn't do anything. He put an axe in the hand of the largest idol in his father's idol shop, and wrecked up the rest of the idols. When his father came back to the store and saw the wreck, he asked Abraham what happened, and Abraham answered him that the largest idol chopped the rest of the idols to pieces.

      I think there are many people who want to classify themselves a certain way, and this Benyamin Cohen may say he is an Orthodox Jew, but most Orthodox Jews realize the same point as above. Even Moses, whom the people believed in that he transmitted to them what G-d wanted of them, was not worshiped by the Jews.

      April 12, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
  4. Paul

    Md2205 you obviously have not read all the prophecies with regard to the messiah. It was prophecied that he would be killed. He would be then resurrected. Over 500 people saw him as a resurrected person. Clear evidence in any court.

    April 12, 2012 at 1:21 am |
    • apostate

      How many accounts do you have from these alleged 500? That would be zero. Doesn't sound like there is any evidence.

      April 12, 2012 at 1:44 am |
    • Paul

      Your name says it all, no wish to cast pearl before ______. I think you know.

      April 12, 2012 at 1:49 am |
    • Start Using Your Brain

      Okay, I'll play along. How would any of those 500 people have been able to attest to the fact that the Jesus they were seeing had been resurrected? I'll ask it a different way.... Suppose you meet me on the street. How can you tell whether I am alive pre-resurrection or post-resurrection?

      April 12, 2012 at 8:51 am |
    • sy

      I dont want to go into an argument about the Messiah as I do realize this is largely what defines the difference between Judaism and Christianity, but I will put this question out there: If the Messiah has already come, why is the world still so full of great suffering and has been for the past 2000+ years since Jesus' presence?

      April 12, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
    • md2205

      There are many instances of the original Hebrew of the Bible being mistranslated either by accident or inadvertently. This is one such instance, in that the Hebrew word for messiah also means anointed, and thus could, and in this case, did, refer to someone other than whomever is designated as "The Messiah". There are rules for understanding what the original Hebrew means, and those rules are only known to someone who studies the original in depth, and who learns the rules. Anyone who tries to translate the words without full knowledge of how to do it is bound to make mistakes. Not only that, once a word is not translated correctly, when that word turns up in a different context later on, that new context becomes nonsensical, so the new sentence has to be mistranslated to make it understandable, thereby making some translations deliberately off.

      April 12, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
  5. Paul

    md2205 Consider this. About 3 million Jews and a mixed crowd heard and agreed with the commandments that Moses received.
    Every year they were reminded of their promise to keep the law. I see no problem with that. It was obvious they needed reminding. Even Moses said they were a stubborn and stiff necked people and constantly went against their own agreement. Reading of the law reminded them of the blessings of serving God as well, it was a time of celebration and feasting and so was a special time for the Jewish Nation.
    Merely repeating a law and celebrating together at a festival does not make the original event not true. In fact the opposite is true. I don’t know if you are married but if you forget your anniversary I’m sure your wife would have something to say. It is a happy event which reaffirms you of your love for each other and confirmation that the event actually happened.
    To the Jews this was their anniversary of becoming a nation, something to remember and celebrate.

    April 12, 2012 at 1:17 am |
    • Joshua

      Yes, indeed! I love Moses and Joshua but Jesus Christ is the savior of all Mankind.

      April 12, 2012 at 10:34 am |
    • md2205

      You prove my point even more by recalling that it says the Jews are a stubborn and stiff-necked people. If there would have been any disagreement about whether G-d gave the Torah to all of them at once, they would have said it loud and clear, as they did not hesitate to argue about other things.

      April 12, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
  6. md2205

    Since G-d is the one who designates who the Messiah is, He is the one who told us the criteria by which we will know who it will be. The Messiah will be a man born of human parents who will occupy himself in learning and doing the entire Torah which G-d gave. He will occupy himself in repairing the breaches in observance of the Torah among the Jewish people. He will be a king descended from King David who meditates on the Torah and occupies himself with the commandments like his ancestor David, in accordance with the written and oral Torah. He will fight the battles of G-d. When we find someone like this, we can presume he will be the Messiah.

    If he did all the above successfully and built the Sanctuary on its site, and gathered the dispersed Jews to the land of Israel he is definitely the Messiah. He will then teach the entire world to serve G-d in unity.

    If he did not succeed to that extent or was killed, it is clear that he is not the Messiah promised by the Torah … for all the prophets said that Messiah is the redeemer of the Jews and their savior, and he gathers their dispersed and reinforces their commandments.

    April 12, 2012 at 1:08 am |
    • UMEnglishBible

      Mr. Ralph Williams, what are you doing trolling on CNN?

      April 12, 2012 at 10:28 am |
    • Marcus Ampe

      It is not clear if my previous reply did got to you. It did not show up on the website.
      Not only the religious book tell us the story of the Jew Jeshua or Jesus from Nazareth. When we look at what he did and which miracles he could do, we can not ignore that it was a special rabbi. The writings of his disciples denote him also as a master teacher and prophet. But when we look at the Old Testament writings we can find enough signs that it is about this day labourer that King David, the Prophet Isaiah and other Prophets, people of God, spoke. From all those writings from the Torah and the sayings of God written down in the New Testament we can be sure that this man is the only begotten son of God. (Be careful that is not the same as 'god the son' as so many Christians do take) Jesus never wanted to be equal to God. He also never wanted to receive any honour, because all honour came to God, who is greater than him. (John 14:28) This Jesus is a mediator between God and men, and is as such surely not God. (1 Timothee 2:5-6; Ephesians 1:7). It is by the love of this Nazareen that God accepted his offer and made him higher. It is because Jesus has given his life that people can be saved and that he can be recognised as the Anointed Saviour the Messiah, the Christos, i.e. Christ. ( 1 John 4:9-10; Acts 4:12; 10: 43) It was Jesus his Father who took him out of death (Romans 6:4,9) and allowed him to sit at His right hand (1 Peter 3:22; Ephesians 1:20-22; Philippians 2:9)
      God has given His people enough signs to recognise the Promised one; It is only up to every body to open theyes and to read and understand the Torah to see that Jesus is that one man out of the chosen people, out of the seed of Abraham.

      April 12, 2012 at 11:18 am |
    • sy

      in addition to this, the Messiah is still not a god, but remains a human being. A great human being, for sure, but still a human being that should not be worshipped.

      April 12, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
    • md2205

      The Messiah does not have to do miracles to be the Messiah. He may do them, but that doesn't make that person the Messiah. There were many great rabbis back then and throughout history, and many greater than J. who could also do miracles. But they weren't the Messiah. G-d told us the criteria as to how to tell who the Messiah is, and it specifically says he doesn't have to do miracles.

      G-d is infinite in all His attributes. He is infinite in the attribute of making a promise and keeping it. He would not change His mind about how the Jews have to worship him without telling them. Anyone could say, "G-d told me He wants you to worship me." It would be ludicrous for the Jewish people to believe that person.

      Imagine the scenario: A Jew passes away and comes before G-d. He says to G-d, "I did all the commandments you told us about." G-d says to the Jew, "Did you believe in Jesus?" The Jew says, "No, You didn't tell me to."

      There are two ways this could go. G-d could say, "I sent that person himself to tell you." So the Jew would answer, "But in the Torah You gave, it says not to listen to someone who comes to change the law." G-d would say, "Oh, that is right, I forgot about that!"

      Or the Jew could say, "No, You didn't tell me to," and G-d could answer, "Oh My gosh, I forgot to gather the Jews together again to tell them I changed My mind!"

      Of course either way is ludicrous.

      April 12, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
  7. md2205

    In what way is Judaism’s claim to Truth different from that of other religions? How do we know that G-d did transmit His will to Moses and the Jewish people at Mount Sinai?

    If G‑d did indeed communicate His will to the Jewish people, then He did so in one instant. The divine revelation upon which our belief is based must have occurred at one moment in time. Either G‑d was communicating to us, or He was not.

    There were over two million Jews who lived in Egypt and endured slavery, heard the promise of redemption, witnessed the ten plagues and experienced the Exodus and the crossing of the Sea of Reeds. Not one of them had separated or lived elsewhere at the time these events occurred. Furthermore, all these people experienced these things together over a period of forty years.

    Let’s say that this notion of the Giving of the Torah is just a claim. Can we authenticate it? Yes. Because the nature of the claim lays itself open to being proven true or false. The philosopher of science Karl Popper says that a theory must exp-ose itself to being disproved—otherwise it’s pseudoscience. And the same applies to history. If an event can’t stand up to being proven true or false, it cannot be clas-sified as a historical fact.

    It says in the Torah 24 times that G-d gave the Torah to Moses in front of the entire Jewish people at the mountain. There were millions of people there watching. The holy days of the Jews started when they left Egypt. They did the first commandments they were ever commanded by G-d to make the Passover sacrifice as a remembrance of going out of Egypt. They did so every year thereafter without interruption.

    All other religions base themselves on a revelation or event that happens in private—such as that Jesus rose from the dead before a handful of people, or that Muhammad ascended to the heavens alone. They say G-d spoke to them but it was when they were alone. No one can refute a claim like that. There is simply no way to verify—or falsify!—the claim. Either you believe them or you don’t. And you are believing a claim made by one or a handful of people.

    Judaism is the only exception. The Bible states that G‑d revealed Himself to the entire nation at the same time! No other nation ever made such a claim, because it would be immediately exposed.

    Think about it for a moment. The Bible repeatedly states that every member of the Jewish nation stood at the base of Mount Sinai and experienced G‑d’s communication. According to the claim, there were upwards of 2 million Jews and then there were the Egyptian converts who had joined them. The account of the Giving of the Torah clearly states that every individual was there. And then it repeats that claim over and over. When Moses communicates his parting message to the people forty years later, he reiterates the claim again and again. Why the necessity to emphasize it? Because such a claim most certainly stands up to the test of being proven false.

    Let’s look at it from this angle: Imagine that the account was that “many” or “most” people were there. Now, one g-eneration later, along comes a kid and asks of Mom and Dad, “Were you there?” and they answer, “No.” That child with that question would not necessarily thereby have disproven the event, but she’d certainly have room to doubt it. But if the claim is that every member of the people was present, and the child says, “Folks, did you witness it?” and they say, “No, not us”—well, then, the claim’s been invalidated in that instant! “The claim is that it was experienced by everyone without exception, and here you are telling me that you weren’t there!?”

    So, just one g-eneration later, this audacious claim would have fallen apart. If even one child born after the claimed occurrence had been told, “I didn’t witness what happened,” then the whole story would be up in smoke. And so on to the next g-eneration, all the way to us. If we say there are five g-enerations per century, we’re looking at about one hundred and seventy links in the chain. And, in some way, our acceptance of the truth of the event requires no more than what was necessary for the children of those who personally witnessed it. It has been an unbroken chain.

    April 12, 2012 at 12:50 am |
    • Great Argument - however, I have one of my own

      If a child asks their parents if Santa Clause exists, and their parents decide to tell the truth, no child would ever believe in Santa Clause. This is an analogous claim to your closing statement. The ripple effect such rumor mill news would have on school children would cause an entire generation of youth to not believe in Santa Clause.

      From personal experience and second hand accounts, I am aware that school children like to break the existential news to fellow classmates. Yet, I am sure millions of school children are able to believe Santa Clause exists. This is the effect you described, replaced with an obvious pretense, that is still believed by many. Year after year this happens, yet somehow the belief is not shaken. Thus, I believe your theory about the enitre story "going up in smoke".

      However, I attribute your prove/disprove discussion and choice to believe as the presiding factor in the continuation of the Santa Clause lie. If a kid hears he doesn't exist, there is clearly no proof of the claim. Conversely, there is no way to prove that he does exist (all from a kids perspective). Despite childrens lack in ability to prove or disprove his existance, many beleive him to be fact.

      Though, if I recall correctly, you stated that in order to be preceived as fact a theory has to be open to both possibilities of proof or disproof. This real world analogy contradicts that idea as many (children) accept his existance as fact without the evidence to prove either side of the argument.

      Reflecting on your statements even further, the sad truth is, when most parents are asked "Is Santa Clause real?" They answer "Of course he is, who told you that?" So to think faithful people would not lie to their children is a little naive. I enjoyed your argument and appreciate its ideas and found it to be a very interesting read compared to many comments on here. The power to believe any religion is a luxury I currently do not have due to my analysis of life and its meaning and truth at this point in my life, so I comment those who have the ability to be faithful and truly appreciate and respect your views (coincidentally, the underlying aim of this article)

      April 12, 2012 at 11:23 am |
    • Great Argument - however, I have one of my own

      paragraph two correction – "Thus I (do not) believe your theory...". Just to clarify

      April 12, 2012 at 11:25 am |
    • md2205

      To Great Argument:

      Imagine that G-d didn't give the Torah to the Jews all at once. Every people has events they experience and then tell the next g-enerations as their history. This history, since it theoretically didn't happen, was never passed down. Now someone comes along and decides to start a Pa-ssover celebration in his house. He cleans his house of all bread, sits down at a set table and invites his kids. His kids say, "Dad, what are you doing?" And he answers them, "G-d took us out of Egypt hundreds of years ago and He told us to do these practices as a reminder of that." What do you think the kids' reaction would be? Of course they would say, "Mom, Dad has lost it!"

      Or imagine someone comes to the Jews and says, "G-d took us out of Egypt a few hundred years ago and told us we have to clean our houses from bread and not eat bread for eight days and do these other practices which I will tell you." What do you expect the reaction would be? The people know their own history and that wasn't part of it. They would never believe him.

      Even when peoples were conquered and made to follow a new government and rulers, the rulers didn't tell the people their history is wrong and give them a new history.

      You may be interested in a website called chabad.org. You will be able to find many interesting and quite readable articles on that website that discuss these and any other topic relating to Jewish life and Jewish thought. If you can't find a topic, just type it into the search bar various ways and it should come up.

      April 12, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
  8. Paul

    Not sure where you got that from ‘Rachel’. But ‘Slayron’ is absolutely right.
    The Jewish nation was chosen as a special property by Jehovah due to a promise he made to the nations fore father Abraham. Others could join the nation and become a proselyte. Of course the nation rejected God’s Son Jesus, so Jehovah made a spiritual nation of both Jews and Gentiles (non Jews). The apostle Paul talks about the gentiles as being grafted on to the true vine. These make up a spiritual nation of Kings and Priests that will rule over the earth. The book of Revelation numbers this Kingdom rulers at 144,000, Rev 14:1; Rev 5:10.
    So the promise Jehovah made to Abraham, “all nations of the earth will bless themselves”, due to his faith. Gen 18:18.

    April 11, 2012 at 11:52 pm |
  9. Devorah Chaya

    Excellent article! There are many Jews who are realizing that Jesus (Yeshua) IS the messiah. I am one. I author an outreach website on this subject http://www.chaiway.org and can be found on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/Jewish.Believers.

    April 11, 2012 at 11:42 pm |
  10. Paul

    To answer your question “mykids”, yes Jesus was a practicing Jew as he would yearly go to Jerusalem to worship Jehovah. On one occasion he remained talking to the Rabbi’s while his parents went home. Part way home they realised they had left him behind and had to journey back to Jerusalem to get him. Why did they leave him behind? It appears they travelled in family groups and they thought he was with one of their relatives. Jesus also had 4 brothers and at least 2 sisters see Matthew 13:55,56.
    The term Christian did not designate Jesus followers until 36CE, Acts 11:26. Three years after Jesus had been put to death on a stake (not a cross). Christian means a follower of Christ.

    April 11, 2012 at 11:38 pm |
  11. apostate

    They should continue ignoring him and all myths.

    April 11, 2012 at 9:18 pm |
  12. Muneef

    To believe in GOD unseen...
    --–
    This is the Book about which there is no doubt, a guidance for those conscious of Allah -2:2

    Who believe in the unseen, establish prayer, and spend out of what We have provided for them,2:3

    And who believe in what has been revealed to you, [O Muhammad], and what was revealed before you, and of the Hereafter they are certain [in faith].2:4

    Those are upon [right] guidance from their Lord, and it is those who are the successful. 2:5
    ---–

    And We had already given Moses and Aaron the criterion and a light and a reminder for the righteous 21:48

    Who fear their Lord unseen, while they are of the Hour apprehensive. 21:49

    And this [Qur'an] is a blessed message which We have sent down. Then are you with it unacquainted? 21:50

    --–
    And no bearer of burdens will bear the burden of another. And if a heavily laden soul calls [another] to [carry some of] its load, nothing of it will be carried, even if he should be a close relative. You can only warn those who fear their Lord unseen and have established prayer. And whoever purifies himself only purifies himself for [the benefit of] his soul. And to Allah is the [final] destination. 35:18
    --

    You can only warn one who follows the message and fears the Most Merciful unseen. So give him good tidings of forgiveness and noble reward. 36:11
    --–

    We have already sent Our messengers with clear evidences and sent down with them the Scripture and the balance that the people may maintain [their affairs] in justice. And We sent down iron, wherein is great military might and benefits for the people, and so that Allah may make evident those who support Him and His messengers unseen. Indeed, Allah is Powerful and Exalted in Might. 57:25
    --–

    Indeed, those who fear their Lord unseen will have forgiveness and great reward. 67:12

    April 11, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
  13. Soulwanderer

    If a boy/girl is born into a Muslim country, to Muslim parents, and is conditioned at a young age to worship Muhammed and Allah...would Jesus forgive them?

    April 11, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      "If a boy/girl is born into a Muslim country, to Muslim parents, and is conditioned at a young age to worship Muhammed and Allah...would Jesus forgive them?"

      Yes He would forgive them, and lead them to Himself!
      God would move heaven and Earth to reveals Himself to a soul that seeks Him. He has done so to many people who are in lands with predominantly other religions, who didn't even hear the name of Jesus Christ.

      Here is a post which I posted on another blog, where same question was raised in a video....

      "The Spirit of God , the Holy Spirit, who is the Spirit of Truth does NOT bear witness to "allah' and his messenger Mohamed, nor does He bear witness to Krishna, Buddha, Zeus or any other "god" of man's imagination.
      But He bears witness to Yeshua, the Messiah, Jesus Christ His Son, who came down to to live among us and became one of us, so that by His sinless life He would become sacrifice for our sins and reconcile us to God. He arose again, because the Death couldn't hold Him, so that we may LIVE through believing in Him and trusting in Him.

      To HIM The Spirit of Truth testifies, and He is the plum-line, the Standard, the measure of all things. Every man, woman and child has been given a CONSCIENCE, so that they with that God given conscience are able to recognize this truth. BUT, it is according to what is in their hearts, will they recognize It or not.
      That's where God doesn't play man's game!
      That's the missing part, which those who say things as the man in this video says, fail to acknowledge. But God's Spirit, the Spirit of Truth testifies OTHERWISE!"

      God is not unjust to allow some to perish without giving them a chance to know Him. It is against the nature and character of God to do so.

      "

      April 11, 2012 at 8:09 pm |
    • gravy

      "If a boy/girl is born into a Muslim country, to Muslim parents, and is conditioned at a young age to worship Muhammed and Allah...would Jesus forgive them?"

      I think in order to ask questions on here one should at least know what they are talking about in the frist place. I'm a white male in my 20's living in Wyoming and even I know more about Islam than most people on these boards. Muslims don't "worship" Mohamad. I know this doesn't relate to your direct questions but it irritates me.

      April 12, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
    • your name appeals to me as I feel I am doing the same

      I know little about all of the religious texts, however, I am aware of this bible quotation of Jesus, "Forgive them, they know not what they do." In a wide context, it seemed to be a plea for all humanity and not just for those who put him to death. When looking at it from a historically reverse aspect, Jesus supposedly died for all of man kind so one could argue that he had to be put to death for the futures salvation. Considering this, post Jesus mankind is just as reponsible for his death as the judge, jury, and executioner. Are there christians out there who wish their brilliant and faithful leader hadn't been put to death? If there are, it contradicts the fundamentals of their religion that differentiates them from Judaism.

      I have no religious affiliation but I have walked the streets of Jerusalem and around Gathsemane/Mount of Olives on passover Thursday, touched the wailing wall, (where I witnessed two white doves chasing eachother around in the sky to land on top of the wall beside eachother, just as the Israeli flag unfurled in the wind – snapped a great and poignant picture), traveled to Nasereth and Capernaum, bathing my feet in the Sea of Galilee on Easter Sunday (all thanks to the Navy). I believe in Jesus as a historical figure and agree that he had to have been a very brilliant and powerful person to gain such a following. Whether or not the resurrection took place is where the divide in belief lies. To walk in those historical places and learn about his surroundings was a very enlightening experience. I

      n Capernaum, the old black basalt stones of the old synagoge (where Jesus taught) foundation still remain as the foundation of the christian church built on top of it. A physical reminder that Christianity is built on the foundation of Judaism. Similarly, the mount of olives is the sight of (Jewish) resurrection of the dead, where Gethsemane, at its base (translation "Olive Press") is the sight at which Jesus began his journey to resurrection and ascention, and will return to bring his followers to heaven, and where the bridge of Sirat is to extend to the Haram al-sharif, where the faithful of Islam will pass over on the day of rising, above a valley of hell where those according to their deeds will be cast. Similary, christianity speaks of a bridge in the same location on the same day where the unfaithful fall into a valley of hell. It was near here where Abraham nearly offered his only son to god, and rediculously close to where God's only son was in fact offered back to him, and at this location where he ascented. It is also the place where his discipiles often "met" and "slept" (which could be analogous to the Jewish cemetary where Jews awaiting resurrection have "gathered" and continue to "rest". John the Baptist, who baptised Jesus in the river Jordan in Judaic Christian beliefs is believed to be an Islamic Prophet as well – son to Zacharia – an Islamic prophet. Joh was one of the prophets Muhammad met on the night of his ascension through the seven heavens. According to the Qur'an, John was one on whom God sent peace on the day that he was born – the same man who baptised Jesus.

      That Sunday, members of our crew were baptized in the Jordan river; a defining event that may be the most important moment of their lives. All the world argues and fights over religion, depsite the stark similarities between the "Big Three". What I noticed in old city Jerusalem were three varying but similarly constructed religions laying holy claim to chunks of one square mile. Religious pilgrims of all sorts call this place home, and in this one sqare might, despite all of the arguments, everyone was able to pray in their own way in relative peace and harmony (Israeli law actually denies and punishes those who wish to impede the peaceful practice of any religion at its own historical sites). I think the rest of the world should follow the teachings this old city yields and mirror its peace throughout society.

      April 12, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
    • Muneef

      gravy.
      Thank you for explaining.
      We as Muslims worship no one and nothing other than GOD whom pronounced in Arabic Language as (Allah)...
      To us (Muhammed) is the Prophet and Messanger of GOD whom received the Quran from GOD to deliver the message and we are ordered by GOD in the Quran to follow his messanger teachings.

      April 12, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
    • Muneef

      Quranic Message;

      O Prophet, fear Allah and do not obey the disbelievers and the hypocrites. Indeed, Allah is ever Knowing and Wise. 33:1

      And follow that which is revealed to you from your Lord. Indeed Allah is ever, with what you do, Acquainted. 33:2

      And rely upon Allah ; and sufficient is Allah as Disposer of affairs. 33:3
      --

      There has certainly been for you in the Messenger of Allah an excellent pattern for anyone whose hope is in Allah and the Last Day and [who] remembers Allah often. 33:21
      -–

      There is not to be upon the Prophet any discomfort concerning that which Allah has imposed upon him. [This is] the established way of Allah with those [prophets] who have passed on before. And ever is the command of Allah a destiny decreed. 33:38

      [ Allah praises] those who convey the messages of Allah and fear Him and do not fear anyone but Allah . And sufficient is Allah as Accountant. 33:39

      Muhammad is not the father of [any] one of your men, but [he is] the Messenger of Allah and last of the prophets. And ever is Allah , of all things, Knowing. 33:40

      O you who have believed, remember Allah with much remembrance 33:41

      And exalt Him morning and afternoon. 33:42

      It is He who confers blessing upon you, and His angels [ask Him to do so] that He may bring you out from darknesses into the light. And ever is He, to the believers, Merciful. 33:43

      Their greeting the Day they meet Him will be, "Peace." And He has prepared for them a noble reward. 33:44

      O Prophet, indeed We have sent you as a witness and a bringer of good tidings and a warner. 33:45

      And one who invites to Allah , by His permission, and an illuminating lamp.
      33:46

      And give good tidings to the believers that they will have from Allah great bounty. 33:47

      And do not obey the disbelievers and the hypocrites but do not harm them, and rely upon Allah . And sufficient is Allah as Disposer of affairs. 33:48
      --–

      Indeed, Allah confers blessing upon the Prophet, and His angels [ask Him to do so]. O you who have believed, ask [ Allah to confer] blessing upon him and ask [ Allah to grant him] peace. 33:56

      Indeed, those who abuse Allah and His Messenger – Allah has cursed them in this world and the Hereafter and prepared for them a humiliating punishment.
      33:57

      And those who harm believing men and believing women for [something] other than what they have earned have certainly born upon themselves a slander and manifest sin.33:58
      ---

      O you who have believed, fear Allah and speak words of appropriate justice.
      33:70
      He will [then] amend for you your deeds and forgive you your sins. And whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger has certainly attained a great attainment. 33:71

      April 12, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
  14. Juice?. no one cares eh.

    No one gives a darn of what the Juice think about Jesus, neither can they claim him.It just so happend that the Juice thought they could stone their woman, hack of the robbers hands towards God and soo foolishly beleived in the load of B C in the form of the self flattering, mundane and pretty much sorry excuse for a holy book, know as the Torah .And because they beleived so strongly in its predictable ways, and avatar had to go to the stubborn mules to teach them ney!!.And as sual, they still are in darkness, along with a lot of christians.I aint saying, I am holy, just saying.

    Jesus > Torah

    Jesus =/ No relation whatsoever to the Torah, Christians have been duped into beleiving there is a connect in Isaiah 53(blah blah blah), by unnacomplished authors.

    Jesus, just like the Buddha and Krishna.Avatar of the nameless divine, a good teacher , bringer of light and much more complex than what the world, or Juice can fathom.

    PS – Real Syriac Hebrew, Not Khazarian Polish, Russian, German Convert giving his opinions.Still in pursuit of the truth.

    April 11, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
    • DaVoice

      You are a fool! Ignorant, stupid, and completely retarded. You are uneducated and have no idea what you are talking about. Before opening your mouth and taking advantage of your rights to speak, please educate yourself and learn the facts. Are you persuing a degree in verbal fabrication? I hope you understand what that means.

      April 11, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
    • FunMan

      Man! You dont know what you saying. Idiot!

      April 11, 2012 at 6:41 pm |
    • Slayron

      You may have a brain tumor.

      April 11, 2012 at 8:48 pm |
  15. myklds

    Honestly, I could hardly believe that Jesus as a Jew is an on going debate. Being a Jew is just a nationality or a citizenship. Jesus was born in Bethlehem a city of Israel and with a Jewish parents, thus he was a Jew. I'm just not sure if Joseph and Mary adopted Jewish faith (Judaism) or not. What I'm certain was Jesus wasn't born a Christian as Buddha wasn't born a Buddhist.

    April 11, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
    • Rachel

      Being Jewish is not a nationality or a citizenship. Who has told you that and why on earth would you believe such nonsense?

      April 11, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
    • Slayron

      The Jews (Hebrew: יְהוּדִים‎‎ ISO 259-3 Yhudim Israeli pronunciation [jehuˈdim]), also known as the Jewish people, are a nation and an ethnoreligious group, originating in the Israelites or Hebrews of the Ancient Near East. The Jewish ethnicity, nationality, and religion are strongly interrelated, as Judaism is the traditional faith of the Jewish nation.

      April 11, 2012 at 9:00 pm |
  16. Hitchens

    April 11, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
  17. Bob

    Sorry evangelicals Jesus is not going to return in your lifetime, no matter how much you pray for the destruction of the world.

    So, next time you are in line at the grocery store and the young lady in front of you, with three kids, comes up short – cover the remainder of her bill. Then you can see what it feels like to worship God instead of money.

    Try it – it is a good feeling!

    April 11, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
  18. Bill Miller

    The bottom line is this.......God......to.......Jesus....(Crucifiction and Resurrection) .....to .....Holy Spirit........ Salvation ........Redeemed...........Forgiven...........Period!

    April 11, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
  19. Take it easy

    The Jews are the original covenant people of God. The last shall be first and the first shall be last. Said both in the Old and New Testaments. The last are the Gentiles because they were the last to receive the Gospel. But after the Great Apostasy, they now have it first. The first are the Jews. The original covenanted people. Now they will be the last to receive the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Just as the Bible says. Go Jews! We are your friends anyway even if you don't accept Jesus yet.

    April 11, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
    • Really-O?

      @Take it easy – "Go Jews!"

      Brilliant! Chad, is that you hiding behind this handle?

      April 11, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
    • Rachel

      Yet? Never.

      April 11, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      Why, Rachel
      Have you looked into Isaiah 53? Why do the Jews aviid this prophecy of Isaiah to this day? Any idea?

      April 11, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
    • Marcus Ampe

      Take it easy, the Jews were the first to receive the Gospel of the Good News. Several Jews accepted the rabbi Jeshua (Jesus) as the promised Messiah. The lower class Jews who became pupils (or disciples) of Christ Jesus at first even kept to the Jewish traditions and feasts, it is only later on that changes were made and openings to the converted heathen or gentiles. First the movement of followers of Christ were considered a Jewish sect: the Way. It is only years later that the name Christians became used. Also because false teaching brought Trinitarism in the picture, Jews would never going to accept such a blasphemy. God is very clear: there is only One God to be honoured and no pictures of him or of so called saints. It are the Christians who kept to the Only One God and did not accept the Trinity, who mostly know that the Jews stay the Most Holy People of God and that Jerusalem shall be the capital of the Kingdom of God. It takes a lot of time before several Jews get to see who the Messiah is, but times are changing and we are already able to find Messianic Jews, though I do must confess that strangely enough we also can find some trinitarian Messianic Jews as well (which I can not understand). In the New Testament we do also see enough indications to know that it is high time to be ready for the return of Christ. And when he shall come back everything shall be made clear for every one.

      April 12, 2012 at 11:01 am |
  20. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    ???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????lol

    April 11, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.