Jesus (Yeshua) the Jew
Jesus is a Jew.
This fact is something many never consider. Some are shocked by the statement.
We know of a lady who was brought up Catholic. She was so shocked to discover Jesus is a Jew; she now goes around telling every Jew, “Did you know Jesus is a Jew?” Though not born again herself, and though not realizing she is ministering to every Jew, in her bewilderment she is proclaiming the Jewishness of Jesus!
Accepting the Jewishness of Jesus is critical step to be in right alignment with the heart of God and every word of prophecy.
Much of the Christian Church has the mindset that Jesus was a blue-eyed blond haired westerner. This affects our perceptions, our interpretation of Scripture and our cultural and religious rituals and behaviors. Jesus, or Yeshua as per His Hebrew name, is not English, European or American—He is a Jew! It is His Jewishness that spawns anti-Semitic and anti-Christ behavior. Like king Herod many are afraid and jealous and are in fact anti-Messiah!
The geographical placement of Jesus’s birth, death and ascension being in Israel are by God’s choice, deliberate and specific. His lineage and His birthplace, spelt out in Matthew chapter one and two, are Jewish all the way back to Abraham.
In announcing His birth, the Gospel of Luke affirms the Jewishness of Yeshua;
- He was named Jesus (Yeshua) on the day of His circumcision—required by Jewish law. (Luke 2:21)
- Mary was purified after the birth of her son by offering the required sacrifice, according to the Law of Moses. (Luke 2:22 based on Leviticus 12:1-7)
- Jesus was taken to the temple in Jerusalem to be dedicated before the Lord. According to law, “every first-born male shall be set apart for God” (Luke 2:24, 25 from Leviticus 12:8). Mary and Joseph offered two turtledoves or pigeons rather than a Lamb indicating they were poor.
- Simeon prayed over Jesus in the temple and called Him; “The Refreshing or Encourager of Israel” (Luke 2:25)
- Mary and Joseph completed everything required by the Law of Moses. (Luke 2:39)
- Each year Mary and Joseph went to the temple in Jerusalem to observe Passover—and took Jesus with them. (Luke 2:41 Leviticus 23)
Luke does not hide, but rather ensures we know that Mary and Joseph fulfilled every Jewish customs and Law in regards to the birth of a child. The Gospel of Matthew pinpoints for us the key Jewish inheritances of Jesus.
- His Jewish lineage
- He would be “God with us” - Immanuel
- He is the promised Jewish Messiah – the King of the Jews
Matthew begins: “The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham” (Matthew 1:1) Throughout this first chapter, every father from Abraham to David and David to Joseph is listed. Every person in the lineage of Jesus is of the nation of Israel and the tribe of Judah. (Matthew 1:2)
Even though Joseph is not the “natural” father of Jesus, as adoptive father he gave to Jesus the legal right to be King in Israel. Most importantly
Poignantly there are fourteen generations from Abraham to David, from David to Babylonian captivity, and from captivity until the Messiah. (Matthew 1:17)
Fourteen being 7 x 2 ; seven is completion and maturity and two is a witness of it. Each fourteen generation is marked with a significant part of Israel’s history; Abraham, David, Babylon, Messiah! Fourteen is an important number to Passover (starts on 14th day). Passover celebrates deliverance, as does the Messiah delivering the generations.
GOD WITH US
An angel reminded Joseph of the Jewish prophecies about the coming Jewish Messiah. (Matthew 1:20-24) Bewildered at his fiancées pregnancy, Joseph needed re-assurance that the Messiah would be a “virgin birth” and this child would indeed be from God and not another man! Mary’s child would be “God with us”. (Isaiah 7:14 and 8:8-10) We too need to be reminded that God came to earth to tabernacle with us.
MESSIAH—KING OF THE JEWS
King Herod and the Jewish leaders became agitated and anxious when they heard that the “king of the Jewish people” had been born. (Matthew 2:2)
Matthew (2:4-6) quoted the prophet Micah (5:2) that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. Bethlehem is called the house of Bread—a significant name for the home of Ruth and Boaz, King David, Mary and Joseph and now Jesus.
Quoting Micah, Matthew said the Messiah would be “a Ruler or King Who will shepherd My people Israel.” As mentioned before, the lineage of Jesus, even from Bethlehem, is proof of the legal right of Jesus has to the throne of Israel.
Most importantly Isaiah prophesied of the Messiah; “Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end, Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom…” (Isaiah 9:7) The angel made it clear to Mary that she would give birth to this Messiah. “…you will…bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. 32 …and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. 33And He will reign over the house of Jacob [as King of Israel] forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.””(Luke 1:31-33
Pilate confirmed this lineage of Jesus by the inscription placed above His cross “King of the Jews”. (Matthew 27:37) Though His own brethren, the Jewish nation, have struggled to accept Him as King and Messiah it does not negate the reality of who He is, His authority or His kingdom.
But it is not just the Jews who refuse His Kingship, so do many nations, including His cousins, the descendants of Ishmael. It is very sad that today, Jews are not even allowed to enter into Bethlehem. They are forbidden to go past the checkpoint! Ironically, within Bethlehem today, shrewd salesman make a fortune from tourists visiting the birthplace of Jesus the Jew! They get around it by saying Jesus came from Ishmael and is a Palestinian!
GENTILES & HEBRAIC ROOTS
What about us Gentiles Christians? We love and honor Him as our Saviour and Redeemer, but do we recognize His as the anointed One who is King of the Jews?
It is important that we do. Not doing so has many consequences. If we do not see Him as a Jew then we can see one small-distorted part of Him, not all of who He is. It is this partial recognition that has caused the western church to have such shallow roots. At times this shallowness has also been the foolishness of building a house on sand instead of rock. Knowing Him as the Jewish King is important for several reasons;
- It makes His Jewish brethren jealous.
- Brings us into agreement with God’s complete heart and truth.
- Causes us to be rooted and grafted into the olive tree. This affects the way we see God, the Jews and history.
- Be in agreement and right alignment with the testimony of Jesus, which is the spirit of prophecy. This will affect our understanding and interpretation of prophecy.
It would fill a book to list every Scripture to prove the Jewishness of Yeshua, but as He said; “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. (Matthew 5:17)
Yeshua knew the law, obeyed the law and fulfilled all the Law of Moses and the words of the prophets. The Law was the inspired idea of God not Moses. The law was to show all mankind, beginning with the Jews, what went wrong at the fall. The Law reveals the inheritance that was lost, the glory that we fall short of, and the relationship that became estranged. The Law was given to Israel and so Yeshua “…was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” (Matthew 15:24)
It is shocking to Gentile ears, but Yeshua did not come to preach to us! However, God’s grace was extended to all mankind when the house of Israel rejected their Messiah.
When Yeshua fulfilled all of the Law, it formed a substantial part of His testimony—an aspect of the spirit of prophecy we don’t usually consider! In fulfilling the law, Yeshua enabled both Jews and Gentiles to re-establish all the joys and rights and authority mankind once enjoyed in Eden.
Christians who do not accept or deny their Hebraic roots are shallow and rather like a house without a foundation. Jews who do not recognize Yeshua as their Jewish Messiah are incomplete.