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Can A Jew Believe in Jesus?

On the surface, the answer would probably be, "Certainly, a Jew - like anybody - can believe anything he wants". However, that question is a truly volatile one. The discovery of what is thought to be the tomb of Jesus Christ has opened a Pandora's Box when it comes to Jews believing in Jesus.

Jesus Was a Jew

The idea, however, is not a new one. After all, it is very well proven that Jesus, or Yeshua as he probably was called during his lifetime in Israel, was Jewish. He was born to Jewish parents, grew up in a Jewish country, went to synagogue and learned from  the Torah. There doesn't seem to be an argument there. In fact, there are rabbis and other Jewish authorities who include Yeshua as one of the great Jewish teachers. Historically, many Jewish people believed that Yeshua was more than a great teacher, they believed he was God in human form. That belief can be traced back some 2,000 years. The religious leaders at that time called these people heretics - as many continue to do today.

What Happened to the Original Believers?

It seems that the original believers were Jews who adhered to Torah and yet believed that Yeshua was the promised Messiah of the Jewish people, according to the Prophets. As time went on, non-Jewish people joined themselves to this group of what could be called Messianic Believers and before long, the Jewish element was overpowered by the non-Jewish element and the fabric of the faith was changed. Within a few centuries, the original Jewish faith of these believers was extinguished and replaced with a combination of many different traditions and ideologies, including Judaism.

It Seems We Have a Problem

So, what's the problem then? It seems the problem lies in the whole question of deity and whether Yeshua (Jesus) is God incarnate. By and large, Jewish theologians and rabbis, along with the majority of Jewish people, cannot see how that would be possible. There are many places in the Torah where God says that He is the only God. Since Christians worship Jesus as God, then that practice flies in the face of Jewish belief. In fact, according to Jewish law, such a concept is idolatry. Furthermore, Judaism does not view the role of the Messiah to be that of saving the world from sins. Jewish belief is based on national revelation, the mass revelation of God to the Jewish people through Moses at Sinai.

Who's Right?

The debate will continue for many years to come, that can be counted on. In the 21st Century there are many more Jews who have declared themselves to be Messianic Jews, meaning that they adhere to the Torah and have broadened their faith to include belief in Jesus as the Messiah of Israel. Then again, there are people calling themselves Messianic Jews who are not Jewish but consider themselves to be "grafted into the Jewish tree". For some Jews, those are fighting words - for others, cause for contemplation.

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