Rabbi Evan Moffic wants Jews and Christians to evaluate the Jewish roots of Jesus and to realize that the two religions have much in common since Jesus essentially started a reform movement in Judaism rather than a new religion. Moffic notes that Jesus’ ministry fits well within a first century Jewish way of seeing the world, seeing an emphasis on living rightly in the world rather than focusing on theology.
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Why this story matters for church leaders:
One of the most important developments in modern biblical study has been the study of Jesus’ original, Jewish context. This means learning about Jesus’ Jewish origins is essential for understand his message:
- One Religion or Two Religions? While there’s no doubt that significant differences exist between Judaism and Christianity, Moffic makes the important point that, in his context, Jesus was a prophetic reformer of Judaism. How does this impact the way we study the New Testament?
- A Fresh Look at Acts: A main story line in the book of Acts is the way followers of Jesus either retained their Jewish identity or left it behind. Is Moffic right to suggest that perhaps we’ve left two much of the Jewish identity of Jesus behind?
- Dialogue with Judaism: Are there opportunities for inter-faith dialogue with Jewish teachers or at least greater study of Jewish ways of teaching the scriptures?
Is it time to investigate commentary or book that can help shed some light on the Jewish background of Jesus?
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