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Jesus Christ from a Jew's perspective Jesus Christ from a Jew's perspective
by Joseph Gatt
2020-10-07 09:52:36
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My story is a bit strange. I was born Jewish, abandoned by my people. I then roamed the world looking for a community, tried to assimilate everywhere I could, and was an outcast in pretty much every community I lived in.

Being an outcast, I tried to look for different ways to better blend into the different communities I lived in.

Now I did have a few friends here and there. But I had two problems: I had no money, and no real care givers.

So I thought, having been thrown out of the Jewish community, that maybe I could find shelter in different religions.

relati001_400I went to the Muslims. I sat down with an Imam, but I told him I had a few questions before I converted. The Imam was censoring my questions, and told me that there were some forbidden questions. So I told him to have a great day and left.

I went to the Buddhists. Sat down with several Monks. I had the sense and feeling that they were being overly manipulative. They were giving me long, boring lectures. They did not allow me to question or comment.

Eventually the Buddhists designated someone to have dinner with me where I could ask any question I wanted or make any comment I wanted. During dinner, I concluded that I would not join the Buddhist religion because I felt the religion did not emphasize study, reflection, debate and community. You get lectured by the Monk, you follow the Monk's instructions, and then you go home. Thank you, but no thank you.

I went to the Christians. I discussed the Bible with the Presbyterians, the Seventh Day Adventists and the Catholics. I got thrown off when they asked me to repent for my sins, and when they told me that “just like water spoiled by oil, you can never get the oil out of the water, likewise you can't get the sins out of your body.” I dislike that view where you're supposed to perceive human beings in that kind of light. I'm the kind of guy who likes to celebrate myself, and humanity.

So Judaism stuck, and I think I'm genetically wired for Judaism. Not everyone is. I respect everyone's beliefs, have friends from many different faiths and degrees of observance.

One question Christians and Catholics like to ask me is what my perception of Jesus Christ is.

So I like to tell them my historical view on prophet Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ was Jewish, and lived around the time of the Roman invasion of Judea, just before the destruction of the Second Temple.

Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem and grew up in Nazareth. When Jesus says “he who has not sinned, may he cast the first stone” a lot of Christians, in my opinion, have something of an anachronism when they cite that quote.

Jesus did not mean “Christian” sins when he discusses “sin”, but the Jewish version of sins. That is Jewish law in the late Second Temple era was so strictly enforced, so rigorous, that all kinds of people were punished for all kinds of sins. And that's when Jesus said “he who has not sinned (or violated the Jewish commandments) may he cast the first stone).

We could perfectly imagine someone today in some radical Islamic republic preaching the same thing (he who has not violated Islamic law, may he cast the first stone). That was the spirit.

Jesus Christ also saw the decline of the Jewish kingdom, and invited both Jews and Romans (who were fighting each other) to come to terms and embrace a more pacifist approach to life.

So Jesus had a double message (in my opinion of course, this is my reading of the Bible). First, to the Romans, Jesus wanted them to stop conquering lands and sowing terror, and wanted the Romans to conquer foreign lands in peace. To the Jews, the message Jesus had was that Jewish law should be revised (or abolished) and that no one should be punished for “sins.”

What did Jesus mean by sins? In my opinion, Jesus did not mean “greed” or “lust” or other traditional Christian sins. Jesus meant “violating the Sabbath” or “eating non-Kosher food” or “failing to honor your parents” and other traditional Jewish sins should not be punished by donating “burnt offerings” and “sin offerings” to the Temple.

Furthermore, historian Josephus describes how towards the end of the Second Temple era priests were being too strict in enforcing the law, in some cases was even corrupt. Perhaps that's one thing Jesus was trying to preach against.

Then there was Jesus the healer, the miracles of Jesus, Jesus' ascent to heaven, Jesus the Son of God, Jesus who died for our sins, Jesus the Messiah, which are firmly held Christian beliefs.

And Jesus Christ established a whole new doctrine, one of the forgiveness of sins, and one of the Book of Acts. The Book of Acts is given a peaceful interpretation in times of peace, but there were times, as in the Crusades, where the Book of Acts had quite a different meaning.

And the old Jewish sins were replaced by new Christian sins. Christianity differed throughout the ages when it came to interpreting the sins and what the punishments for violating the sins should be.

Oddly enough, the Mohamedans never ask me how I perceive the prophet Mohamed. But I do sense that the mere mention of the prophet brings chills to their bones, and do sense that you can only discuss the prophet in poetic form. So there will be no article on that topic.


   
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