Why do Christians accept Jesus


#1

It is odd to me that Christians would accept Jesus. God had already told us He was not a man. The vast majority of Jews who were familiary with their own scripture did not accept Jesus as Messiah while he was alive or afterward. And we already had a system in place, that required teshuva as a form of repentence so that there was no need for any “god” to die for our sins.

It seems to me that this was all just a response to the gentile’s fear of circumcision. I just don’t get it. :slight_smile:


#2

*Et deus,et homo malus *(“Either God or a bad man”)

The evidence that the Messiah would first be a “suffering servent” was in the Tanach–the complete Tanach that included the Deutercannonical books found in the widely accepted-as-authoritative Septuagint. This evidence was so cited by the first Christians that Jewish authorities eventually rejected the DT’s centuries after the NT events (NOT at jamniah–that is an unsubstantiated “academic rumor”)

Jesus claimed extraordinary things–expecially that he was the God the Jews had known from Abraham. The verity of that position is where we begin…


#3

We don’t believe God is a man. We believe God became a man, a very different idea. The Son of God became a man in order to perfectly full God’s justice and give us a share in the divine life of God in a way not possible through the Law alone.

According to the Book of Acts, many Jews accepted Jesus as the Messiah–thousands, in fact. Not all, of course. Perhaps not the majority but a goodly number.

Gentiles being circumcised or not was a very minor issue that played no part in the theology of the early Church as to Jesus being the Messiah.


#4

Excellent, complete answer, Della.


#5

That’s news to me. Especially the allegation that the Tanach was more complete prior to Jesus than after. Which books in particluar do you claim were part of the Tanach that are no longer. And what verses make the claim that Jesus was God or the Messiah.

You know of course that Isaiah is part of the Tanach as we know it today. As for “suffering servant”, there were a couple hundred thousand jews that were also crucified. We don’t call them all Messiah.


#6

“thousands” is small potatoes. More than that follow the Church of scientology That don’t make Tom Cruise Messiah. And those that are referred to in Acts did so believing they would still be following the commandments of Torah, given that Jesus kept the commandments and was emphatic in stating that not one jot of Torah was to be changed and that the laws were still in place. That’s a bit of false advertising.

As for circumcision and other commandments, it was a huge factor. how many Gentiles do you think would have listened to Paul if he reuquired circumcision of them???


#7

But those Jews were not believed to be sinless and did not overcome death.:wink:

In Pax Christi
Andrew


#8

Considering the population of Palestine at the time wasn’t as large as the population of today, thousands are nothing to sneeze at. And I see no relation between thousands now days believing in scientology of all things. That’s a bit of a reach, don’t you think?

And if the early Church had only wanted to follow the Torah they wouldn’t have held a council to decide what would be required of Gentile followers. They would have demanded circumcision if they had believed it was still necessary.

As for circumcision and other commandments, it was a huge factor. how many Gentiles do you think would have listened to Paul if he reuquired circumcision of them???

I have no idea how many would have converted if they’d have had to have been circumcised, but considering that there were Gentile converts to Judaism who were circumsized, if it had been a requirement Gentile believers would have had it done just as their fellow Gentiles who had embraced Judaism. I think you have a rather cynical take on early Christian expansion, as if people who had to hide from the Roman authorities or die for their faith, and many who did die for it, would baulk at a bit of minor surgery for the sake of their Lord.


#9

Just being crucified doesn’t qualify you to be the Messiah. It’s that resurrection thing.

The idea of what the Messiah would be was completely re-vamped in the wake of that event. Whether you believe it happened or not, the people who spread the Gospel DEFINITELY believed it. How belief in the resurrection would translate into “Messiah” required a profound re-study of Scripture in the light of that event. I personally speculate that Paul’s 3-year sojourn in Arabia (where he did not evangelize) was dedicated to that study.

Christians believe the Gospel partly because of the witness of the early Church, partly because the Resurrection admits of no other interpretation, partly because of the prophetic witness from the Hebrew Scriptures.

Circumcision? Millions of Christians are circumcised. Moreover, gentile converts WERE being circumcised in New Testament times – the issue was the first giant brou-ha-ha in the nascent Christian community. Paul had his young sidekick, Timothy, circumcised (in youth or early adulthood) to quiet the uproar from Jewish Christians.

Think about it: Not wanting to be circumcised does not constitute a reason to become a Christian.

One thing pharisaic Judiaism did to enable the spread of the Christian message was to develop a Judaism that could perdure without the Temple. This made it possible for people like Paul to re-think the idea of “Messiah.”


#10

I don’t believe “sinless” was a requirement for the Messiah. As for overcoming death, the vast majority were presented no such evidence.


#11

True – but many were presented with the evidence – over 500 at one time. Yet the fact that the Resurrection appearances were not universal is one of the reasons Catholics (at least) get really touchy about hand-to-hand tradition: for us it is REALLY important to trust your sources. At one point Peter says that the business of preaching the good news was not entrusted to everyone who witnessed the Resurrection but only to those who ate and drank with him after the Resurrection.


#12

Here are some quickie not in depth thoughts on Valke2’s thoughts:

  1. God told us that he was not a man. In light of the OT Hebrew tendency to worship just about everything but God, God might have just been trying to get the focus on Him, so the Jews could prepare the world for the revelation of the Son, and the Trinity later on.

  2. Septuagint - at the time of Christ, there were more Jews (by far) living outside Israel than in it. And most of them spoke Greek, not Hebrew or Aramaic. Most of the scholarly theological work was not being done in Jerusalem, but Alexandria. They came up with the Septuagint (which has the same books as the Catholic Bible). After the temple was destroyed in 70AD (and possibly also due to the defection of many Jews to Christianity), certain books were revised and/or removed from general circulation. I’m not sure what books are still considered to be in the Tanack today.

The Jewish scriptures that Jesus quoted, and the scriptures which were read in synagogue at the time were from the Septuagint.

  1. Changing the laws vs. keeping the old laws - others may have a more comprehensive answer, but some of the laws (such as divorce being OK) were actually Mosaic concessions to his own people. A change that would not have been necessary incidentally if divorce had already been OK. The original law (inscribed in our hearts if not explicitly in the bible) was “no divorce.” I don’t recall Jesus saying that “not one jot of the Torah was to be changed…”

I want to reemphasize a point already made - the early Christians were not fools. They understood the scriptures as a Jew of the time would. Only after the resurrection, and the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost did they begin to understand the true obvious now that we understand it meaning of so many scriptures. Unlike the Jews who were crucified for (probably) things out of their control, the early Christians only needed to deny Christ in order to save their lives. But they didn’t. This Christianity stuff was so wonderful, they willingly died for it.

In another thread, someone posited that perhaps the early Christians “inflated” the number of martyrs in order to gain converts. WHAT?

And in a thread a long time ago and far far away someone said that this Jesus guy just got lucky and hit it big in the religion business. Yeah, he hit it so big it got him killed, and most of his early followers as well.

Today’s daily mass reading included the following:

A Pharisee in the Sanhedrin named Gamaliel,
a teacher of the law, respected by all the people,
stood up, ordered the Apostles to be put outside for a short time,
and said to the Sanhedrin, …So now I tell you, have nothing to do with these men, and let them go. For if this endeavor or this activity is of human origin, it will destroy itself.
But if it comes from God, you will not be able to destroy them;
you may even find yourselves fighting against God.

Since 33AD, in terms of bringing people to God, Christianity has done pretty well, I’d say.

OK - this post is longer than I said it would be :frowning:


#13

Valke2 - just out of curiosity…if you put the whole “Jesus is God” thing aside, are there any teachings of Jesus that you find to be personally objectionable?

Or perhaps this is off-topic…


#14

My bad, I don’t know latin, and did the phrase from memory

It should be *Aut deus aut homo malus *(Either God or either a bad man)

Here’s the clincher; Jesus of Nazareth came from podunk-ville as we would say now. He gathered a small group of disciples, mostly fisherman and 1 collaborator (Matthew, a tax-collector). Hardly the stuff to start a world shaking movement. He preached for at most 3 years, some accounts fiugure no more than 18 months. He preached stuff that alienated may of his followers (see John 6) and increasly placed himself agaisnt the powers that were–and was killed for it.

Unlike other period itinerant rabbitsa, even some alleged wonder workers who met such sudden ends, his movement continued–preaching the Ressurection–and this in the face of persecution. When Jim Jones & company suicided-, when David Koresh & company met their end–what happened–any survivors faded into obscurity.

The Empty Tomb, the Ressurection–the simplest explanation


#15

Do you have any support for that statement? It is a curious thought. The Apostels were Jews who believed, and during Jesus’ ministry it was fairly restricted to the Jewish people alone which records the thousands believing in Him while He was alive. Certainly it is the Gentile world that makes Christianity as numerous now, but as a % of the whole Jewish population in the first century that came to accept or reject I do not think I have ever seen it stated.

I’m not sure you wanted a personal answer so I will ask why would Jews reject Jesus? Would you agree that before Jesus, God had manifested some event different from what was anticipated? Abraham was supposed to sacrifice Isaac, but was offered a ram instead. Moses was the unlikely spokesman to free the Jews from Egypt- did he match what the deliverer was supposed to be? David did all the God asked but was denied the honor of building the Temple. Look at how Joseph surpassed his brothers.

At almost every turn God does the unexpected. Why are you so convinced the Messiah could not be what many think Is?


#16

First, I just want to say that i only started this thread as a cynical response to the many threads I’ve seen asking or explaining “Why can’t Jews accept Jesus”. I really do understand why Christians accept Jesus as Messiah/God. Or to put it more accurately, if people find a way to God that makes them better people and that way is through loving each other and enforcing ethical and moral behavior, then that’s all I need to know.

As to the teachings of Jesus I find objectionable, from what I’ve read, most of what he taught conforms to Jewish teaching. There are three issues that I find objectionable, however, both personally and from a Jewish perspective.

  1. Matthew 9:6: “The Son of man has the authority on earth to fogive all sins”. We believe that even God Himself only frogives sins that are committed against Him. “Yom Kippur atones for sins against God, not for sins against man, unless the injured party has been appeased.” (Talmud). Believing that Jesus can forgive all sins is a very dangerous belief, imo. It leads to such teachings as:

“Be a sinner and sin vigorously, but even more vigorously believe and delight in Christ who is victor over sin, death and the world…It is sufficient that we recognize through the wealth of God’s glory the lamb who bears the sins of the world; from this sin does not sever us, even if thousands, thousands of times in one day we should fornicate or murder.” (Martin Luther).

To use a little black humor, as Jullen feiffer said: “Christ died for our sins. Dare we make his martyrydom meaningless by not comitting them?”

  1. “Turn the other cheek”. "Offer the wicked man no resistance. On the contrary, if anyone hits you on the right cheek, offer him the other as well. (Mat. 5:38). “Love your enemies and pray for your persecutors” 5:44.

I believe that it is our obligation to use violence when necessary to fight evil. We won WWII because the vast majority of American Christians did not pay attention to Jesus’ advice offer no resistence to the wicked man. JWs remained true to this conviction. Which is why they were the barbers for the SS troops in the camps. They could be trusted with scissors. I do not wish to love my enemies. And jews are not commanded to do so.

  1. The only way to God is through Jesus. I know many Catholics do not take this position as literally as many fundamental protestants. But I (and Judaism) believe anyone can come to God – “God is near to all who call unto Him.” (Psalms 145:18)

#17

Ok. But when the Temple was destoryed, what over 1 million Jews were killed during the two revolts and the rest taken into slavery, forced to become prostitutes, and scattered through the world, Judaism did not fade into obscurity either.


#18

It is set forth in Friedlander’s book “Why the Jews rejected Jesus.” I’ll look for the origional source material. But I believe it is accepted that most of the Jews that did convert, and their numbers were very small compared to the gentiles that converted, were Hellenized Jews that were more secular than religious.

The Apostels were Jews who believed, and during Jesus’ ministry it was fairly restricted to the Jewish people alone which records the thousands believing in Him while He was alive.

Again, thousands is a small number. And again, the origional converts did not believe they were abandoning Torah or practicing another religion.

Certainly it is the Gentile world that makes Christianity as numerous now, but as a % of the whole Jewish population in the first century that came to accept or reject I do not think I have ever seen it stated.

I’ll try to find the sources for this.

At almost every turn God does the unexpected. Why are you so convinced the Messiah could not be what many think Is?

Why are you so convinced that he could be? On that criteria, it is possible Koresh is theMessiah. That would be unexpected.
The examples you quoted were all done in the furtherance of a specific goal – bringing the Jewish nation into existance and securing Israel as part of the covenant. And none of the examples contradicted any of the others. God’s actions were not inconsistent.


#19

Hi Valke2,

Sorry for going off topic, but I’m just curious…you believe that Jesus claimed to be God - do you know of any Jewish sources that have this written? Don’t go to any effort, just if you know of any could you please point me in the right direction?

From memory I remember reading something like the Talmud had written that Jesus was a “magician” (but I can’t remember if this was true or not)…something like that, if you can be bothered. :stuck_out_tongue:


#20

I don’t know of any Jewish sources that say Jesus claimed to be God. As to references to Jesus in the Talmud (paraphrasing from another thread that I posted on):

Explicit references to Jesus were taken out of Talmuds from 1578 to 1580, in order to avoid Christian persecution. In earlier manuscritps, there are clear references to “Yeshu ha’NOtrzi” (Jesus of Nazereth). This material has since been put back into the Talmud, but only in some editions, and only in the back as a kind of endnote.

The picture of Jesus described in the Talmud is very different and is attributed to Rabbi Eliezer, who was taught by Yochanan ben Zakkai. Zakkai was very old when he died in 80 CE and could have encountered Jesus while he was alive.

Some rabbis argue that Jesus in the Talmud was a different person than the Jesus followed by Christians. But Rambam agrees he’s the same person. I think the main reason some rabbis in modern times have said otherwise was out of fear of sparking anti-semitism. But if that was the attempt, it failed, as there are plenty of antisemitic websites that state the sources that acknowledge Jesus in the Talmud.

Anyway the Talmud reveals Jesus as a former student of Torah who went seroiusly off the rails and became a spiritual danger to the Jews.

The Talmud refers to Jesus’ mother as Miriam ("Mary), a woman’s hairdresser who was married but conceived Jesus by another man. Pandira. Jesus is sometimes referred to in the Talmud as “Ben Pandira”, Son of Pandira. (Shabbot 104b). Mary is beliebved to have been of a royal bloodline, but she ‘played the harlot with carpenters’ This suggests that it was Jesus’ biological father that was the carpenter. (B. Sanhedrin 106a). I know harlot sounds very harsh, especially when being used on Mary, but it means here only that she had a child out of wedlock. (I know that still sounds harsh but it sounds a lot worse today than it would have 2,000 years ago).

(cont.)


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