As an artist expresses his vision through paint or through stone or clay, so the Creator has chosen to express His vision through the medium of the cosmos, and more specifically, Man. Mankind, essentially made of that same clay the sculptor or the potter uses for his art (with the addition of the miracle of Life) is that unique consciousness that has awareness of both self, and of a Creator. And as an author uses words to express his vision, so the Author of the cosmos has, in the view of religious Jews and Christians, expressed His in the words of the Bible.
The Bible speaks of the Creator choosing the nation of the Jewish people, aka Israel, as His own vessel through which He would express His vision, both in the reality of history, and in the Bible itself, which is a record of significant parts of that history, entirely written by Jews. The portion known as the New Testament (written by Jews) tells of a 1st Century AD historical figure named, in his native Hebrew tongue and culture, Yeshua. That name, in an attempt to translate to the Greek, becameYesus, and then in the later English translation from the Greek, Jesus. Messiah is from the Hebrew word mashiach, or anointed, which became Kristos in Greek, and Christ in the later English, thus creating “Jesus Christ”, from which is derived the word Christian.
According to the Biblical accounts, the Creator chose to bring forth a Messiah who would be a son of King David, of the Tribe of Judah. The word Judah is the word from which the word Jew arises. Please note that I use the word “chose” in the above sentence, as it would seem abundantly clear from the Biblical texts that it was by the Creator’s sovereign will and intelligent design that this Messiah would be born of the Jewish people, from the Tribe of Judah, and therefore a Jew.
The Messiah, in the New Testament texts, is also called the Son of God, and Word of God. Other passages suggest that the Creator Himself had taken on flesh to be born of the virgin Jewess Miriam (later called Mary, through translation to English). Therefore the Creator had decided to become a Jewish man, who would live as a Jew, be circumcised on the eighth day of his life, attend synagogue and the temple as a Jew, keep Jewish holy days (including Hannukah- John 10:22), dress and eat and live according to Jewish Law (Torah) and custom. He would also be born in the Land of Israel (see Matth. 2:20-21), live in the land of Israel, and die at the hands of the Romans to be resurrected from death at the Jewish Passover in the capitol city of Israel, Jerusalem. And from there he would rise to the Heavens, and to there promised to return in due time. It is also a fact that the Messiah chose Jews as his apostles to bring the Word of the God of Israel to the Gentile nations.
The New Testament writings also speak of a New Jerusalem, a heavenly city with twelve gates, each one named after one of the 12 Tribes of Israel. A very Jewish place, it would appear, reigned over by a Jewish King. “Salvation,” said Jesus to a Gentile woman, “is of the Jews” (John 4:22).
Is there any significance in these facts- or could they be merely coincidence, or occurrences made for the sake of historical convenience, to be dismissed at some later time? For those who have chosen to believe in the Bible, and in the divinity of the Messiah, there would seem to be unavoidable significance. For those many believers who call God “Jesus”, or call Jesus God, then it would logically follow that God is a Jew.
Not long ago we visited an Anglican church in England. There we saw a lovely stained glass window showing Jesus with blonde hair and blue eyes, to which I commented aloud that Jesus, who is a Semite, certainly does not have blonde hair and blue eyes. A very dour churchman who had heard my comment came over and said, “Can I help you.” I told him that we are Messianic Jews from Jerusalem, words which he greeted with a very dour, “I thought so.” He then added, “You should know that we support the Arabs of Nablus,” to which I responded, “That is very good, as they very much need to hear the Gospel.” “But”, I continued, “remember that Jesus is a Jew.” Without hesitation he commented, “Jesus was a Jew.” “I thought,” I replied, “it was written on his cross ‘King of the Jews’”. “That”, the reverend said, “was because there were no Christians there at the time.” “What a novel comment,” I added; “But does it not say later in the Book, in Revelation, that he is the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, making him a Jew who will return unto us in Jerusalem?” To this he turned and said, “I have an appointment, good day.”
His wife (or secretary?) was not satisfied with our exchange, and came to me saying, “As a British citizen I ask you not to come here preaching your racism!”, and left with the dour churchman.
The inherited comments by these church people are of course not new. These have been the theological stance expressed by many of the Gentile church “fathers” since the 2nd Century AD, who proclaimed that now “the Church” (which one?, it must be asked) had replaced the Jews as God’s people. It is called “Replacement Theology”, a theology that has been the catalyst for the horrors of the Christian Inquisitions, pogroms, Crusades, expulsions, the Holocaust, and anti-Semitism, called more recently anti-Israelism. Most of these tragedies were performed in the name of Jesus.
Following our above reasoning that Jesus isa Jew, rather than was a Jew, who was raised alive from death as the same person with the same circumcised Jewish body that was crucified and seated now at the right hand of God, is it logical that he would somehow forget his own people, his heritage, and his holy City and Land, the Land of Immanuel? And for those who call the name of their God “Jesus”, is it at all likely that God would forget the promises that He had made specifically to the Jewish people, including His covenants, and the gift of the Land of Israel (see Romans 9:1-5; 11:25-32)?
Hardly. As it is written, “For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.”