I didn’t think I’d hit a nerve with a recent column I wrote called, “Who’s the most famous Jew in history?”
In fact, I didn’t expect to get any static over a simple, indisputable observation that the answer to the question is “Jesus.”
Apparently for some, and I’m not sure if it’s a legacy of anti-Semitism among Christians, the idea of Jesus being Jewish is actually a matter of great controversy. Who knew?
One fellow wrote to me quite angrily: “Jesus is not and never claimed to be Jewish or any religion!!!! Religion is MAN MADE!!! The Bible is about worshiping God in ‘Spirit and Truth’ … Better get your facts straight!!!”
I wanted to know more. So, I responded.
“Is He a Hebrew?” I asked. “Same thing in the Bible. Was He born King of the Jews? Could He fulfill that role without being a Jew – the Son of David?”
Apparently, that got him a little more reflective: “If you are talking a Jew as a nationality then you may have a case. If you are suggesting that Jesus was a Jew as in a Jewish religion, then no. … God does not belong to any particular religion.”
Interesting. Anger dissipated. And he says, I may have a case that Jesus was a Jew by nationality, but not by creed.
I remain puzzled. In his correspondence, the protester expressed some familiarity with at least the New Testament. But why would he choose this particular barricade on which to make his stand? What evoked such a strong admonishment from someone who seems to be a follower of Jesus?
In writing my newest book, “The Restitution of All Things: Israel, Christians and the End of the Age,” one of my objectives was to clarify in the minds of those who call themselves Christians that Jesus did not come to start a new religion. I consider it to be a foundational point.
Jesus came as the Jewish Messiah, to atone for the sin of the world, to speak the truth and, eventually, to restore God’s Kingdom to the Earth as it was in the Garden of Eden before the Fall of man.
When Christians today refer to Jesus as “the Christ” they are acknowledging this fact. “Christ” is the Greek equivalent for “Messiah” or “anointed one” or “chosen one.”
Every Christian should know this and embrace it.
Jesus was born a Jew, the son of Mary (or Miriam) and the step-son of Joseph (Yosef), in the Jewish town of Bethlehem, raised in the Jewish town of Nazareth, dedicated in the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem, preached in synagogues throughout the Galilee and in line for the throne of King David.
All of His original disciples were Jews. In fact, for decades after His death and resurrection, all of His followers were Jews. It didn’t even occur to Peter until God gave him a vision in a dream that non-Jews could be grafted in to the promise of salvation and fellowship in the whole House of Israel through Jesus the Messiah.
In other words, my point was to remind Christians of their heritage, the Hebrew roots of their faith – something that has been largely forgotten in 2,000 years of church tradition.
Too many Christians, I have discovered, don’t really fully understand their faith and the Bible that serves as the foundation for it.
That’s why I am leading two trips this year – one to Israel and the other to Alaska – as spiritual retreats to clarify these important points and help believers develop a closer relationship with God.
I look forward to seeing many of you on one or both of these trips:
- Israel in November: We’ll be exploring all these issue in greater depth in the land where it all happened, where Jesus and the prophets walked. We also expect to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the new U.S. ambassador to Israel, David Friedman.
- Alaska in September: This cruise adventure combines the majestic beauty reflective of God’s Creation with special guest teacher Mark Biltz, a gifted Hebrew-roots pastor.
Watch Farah’s invitation to the cruise adventure in Alaska:
I assure you both of these trips will be unforgettable, once-in-a-lifetime opportunities that will strengthen and deepen your faith.
Media wishing to interview Joseph Farah, please contact [email protected].