29 Oct Did you know Jesus was a Jew?
We live in a curious time in which so many people in the Western world know so little about Christianity. On one level this may seem like a trivial byproduct of the decline of Christendom. However there are dangerous consequences that fall out from this reality.
One of the consequences of this collective distance from the accounts of Jesus, is that people who know very little about Jesus can claim that they are somehow acting on behalf of Christians when they act in violence or hate.
As I read about the unfolding horror in the USA, of Jewish brothers and sisters being targeted while at worship, I wondered how many people who claim Christianity realize that Jesus was Jewish? How many anti-Semitic people realise that Paul, who wrote so much of the New Testament, and Peter, and Mary and Martha, all first followers of Jesus, were Jewish? Judaism is the bedrock in which Christianity finds its roots.
To put it more starkly, Jesus, the One at the heart of Christian faith, was Middle Eastern and Jewish. Claims that seek to link notions about white supremacy to Christianity are entirely disrupted by the evidence.
My heart aches for those caught up in this latest violence. My prayers are with them and for our beautiful broken global village.
Whether you are interested in Christianity or not, reading the Gospels is a great way to get familiar with who Jesus is and what Jesus stands for. This kind of reading could serve as an inoculation against the hate mongers who take Jesus’ name in vain.
In John’s gospel Jesus prays that followers of Jesus will be known by their love (John 13.35).
This is my prayer too.
Rev Dr Sally Douglas