Not Many Wise -

Faith and spirituality in a modern world


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Jews and Jesus – Judaism’s perspective

The flag of IsraelJews and Jesus, what does the Jewish community think of Jesus?

They haven′t got a vested interest in Jesus because they see Him as forming a different religion to their own. (I would like to thank the Jewish Community Online [1] )

Rabbi Geoffrey W. Dennis wrote in 2000:

What do Jews believe about Jesus?
That Jesus is not God or the only begotten son of God. Jesus was a child of God, just as we are all children of God.
Jesus lived in the land of Israel in the 1st Century. He was a charismatic teacher and leader and developed a group of devoted followers.
After Jesus was killed by the Romans, his followers continued to believe he was special and from them Christianity developed its own beliefs and practices that are different from Judaism.”

As Christians we wouldn’t agree with his view of Jesus, but he doesn’t dismiss Jesus as a myth.

Rabbi David J.B. Krishef wrote in 1997:

Jews do not believe that Jesus was the son of God. Jews believe that Jesus was just a regular Jew, probably a rabbi. But Jesus taught some things that disagreed with the Torah, and because of this, Jews do not think that Jesus is important to Judaism.
Jesus taught that he could forgive all sins; Jews believe that only God can forgive sins, and even then only after you have asked forgiveness from the person you have sinned against.
Jesus taught that we should turn the other cheek against evil – in other words, we should not respond. The Torah teaches us to fight against evil.
Jesus taught that the only way to pray to God was to pray through Jesus. Jews believe that anyone can pray to God directly..”

The Torah - a scrollJesus taught things from the ‘Torah’ (Old Testament part of the Bible) and He explained a deeper meaning to these things.

It′s true that only God can forgive sins, but Jesus is God, God′s Son, so He can forgive sins.

Again, it is interesting that Rabbi David J.B. Krishef is not denying Jesus′ existence.

And it is the same with Rabbi Michael Feshbach who wrote in 1998:

…the very early Christians were Jews who followed this man (Jesus) as a teacher, but who later focused more and more on the man over even the message.
With Paul… the new group was transformed from people who still tried to use the Torah as a way of life, to those who viewed the Old Testament only as a book of predictions for the coming of the messiah. …the fact that Christians concentrated so much on the messenger as well as the message, is really how a Jewish teacher wound up as the founder of another faith.”

In 1999 the Rabbi Dr. Michael Samuel said:

Rather than looking to Jesus as a great example being,* they instead made him the great exception ** and in doing so, severed its roots from historic Judaism.”

(* ie; of sonship to God the Father), (** ie; the Son of God)

There is another Jewish view on Jesus′ trial:

It is in the ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, under The Trial and Crucifixion.
The writer has a number of points which make the trial in his view as probably not being recorded correctly:

“In the first three Gospels, the Pharisees are not mentioned in connection with the trial, and in John, only once (18:3). Luke (22:66) and Matthew (26:59) explicitly mention the Sanhedrin once, and Mark mentions it twice (14:55; 15:1).
In the whole of Luke not just in his description of the Passion there is no mention of the Sanhedrin′s verdict against Jesus, and John records nothing about an assembly of the Sanhedrin before which Jesus appeared.
Thus it seems very probable that no session of the Sanhedrin took place in the house of the high priest where Jesus was in custody and that the ‘chief priests and elders and scribes’ who assembled there were members of the Temple committee (see also Luke 20:1): the elders were apparently the elders of the Temple and the scribes were the Temple secretaries.
The deliverance of Jesus into the hands of the Romans was, it seems, the work of the Sadducean high priests, who are often mentioned alone in the story.
A man suspected of being a messianic pretender could be delivered to the Romans without a verdict of the Jewish high court.
In addition, the high priests were interested in getting rid of Jesus, who had spoken against them and had predicted the destruction of the Temple.”

To the Christian, it probably isn′t significant whether it was the Sanhedrin or the Sadducean ‘high priests’ who held the trial, but because the Sanhedrin is mentioned we have no reason to doubt that.

Again it is interesting to see that Jesus is written about as an actual historical figure.

If you have got any specific Jewish questions, I believe the Jewish Community Online would be willing to answer them for you.

References:

[1] All these quotes came from the Jewish Community Online (will open in a new page).
Scroll image: thanks to Serif ARTGallery CD

Peter Reason

January 2012

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2 Comments

  • Yes that is a great verse: “With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation (Jesus).” Psalms 91:16 (ANIV)
    Thanks Paul for your comment.

  • Thanks my brother for this interesting post. I was under the impression that the Jews accepted him as the Son of God but not YHVH himself. However your post reminded me of the scripture, “With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation” (Hebrew Yahosua) the Greek name Jesus being synonymous with Yahosua in the hebrew and both mean salvation.

    The Lord bless you my brother, from over the border (Wales)
    Paul

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