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Can a Jew believe in Jesus?

Can a Jew believe in Jesus?

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Question:

I was accosted at the beach today by a guy from Jews for Jesus. He offered me a New Testament in Yiddish and said that many Jews have been "saved" by accepting Jesus as the messiah. I just ignored him. Then I saw a big ad in the newspaper from the same people. My question: Can a Jew believe in Jesus?

Answer:

Of course a Jew can believe in Jesus. Just like a vegetarian can enjoy a rump steak, a peace activist can join a violent demonstration, and a dictator who preaches martyrdom can surrender himself to his enemies. As long as logic and clear thinking are suspended, anything makes sense!

I think your response to that missionary was the best one - to ignore him. Missionising is not a new phenomenon. Certain Christian sects believe that their messiah will only return when the Jews accept him. Throughout history Jews have been threatened with death, torture and expulsion if they don't convert. More recently, missionaries targeted the weak of our community - the elderly, new immigrants, and the underprivileged - in an attempt to exploit their vulnerability. All these attempts have had little or no success. Whether religious or not, Jews are reluctant to give up their Jewishness.

So they came up with a new ploy. Rather than demand conversion, they offered Jews to remain Jewish, and even "complete" their Jewishness by accepting Jesus. Thus Jews for Jesus was born.

This is a movement of non-Jews who pose as Jews by taking on Jewish names. They do usually have a token Jewish member, who is invariably either ignorant of Judaism at best or psychologically imbalanced at worst. They are a sham.

All religions are free to present their beliefs in the open market of ideas. But if they have to resort to slimy tactics like Jews for Jesus does, then they obviously have nothing to offer a thinking person.

Editor's Note: Visit Jews for Judaism for a comprehensive counter-missionary handbook.

Aron Moss is rabbi of the Nefesh Community in Sydney, Australia, and is a frequent contributor to Chabad.org.
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Discussion (320)
January 18, 2016
Was Jesus psychotic?
No.
If we accept the gospels as a record of his ministry, what he said was consistent and logical throughout, and clearly routed in the Jewish tradition. Similar teachings exist in Rabbinical Judaism - hence we can talk about the "Judeo-Christian" tradition. He also displayed no traits of narcissism or grandiosity - more the opposite.

There is no need to stigmatise either the mentally ill or (by implication) Christians as being mentally ill in this discussion.

Judaism and Christianity are moving towards a more mature and accepting relationship. I believe the assertion of some Christians that Jews must accept Jesus is wrong - nobody can judge the relationship of a person or entire people with G-d.

I also, however, believe the constant demonisation of Jesus and Christians is equally wrong. It's unhelpful. We have to share this earth and it is clear we'e not giving up our respective beliefs, so a search for common ground is better.
Anonymous
UK
January 14, 2016
Jim D
Hello Jim

I apologize if my remark'They R believing a lie like the psychotic Jew' within the context of my comment gave the impression that I think Messianic Jews are psychotic. No of course they are not!
I was one of them and I was not psychotic. Maybe slightly deluded because of what I believed which I see as none sensicle. How could I have believed such none sense? But I did!

You are quite right in everything you say re definition of psychosis. What I was trying to do was make an a corresponding analogy but it was not clear enough! Sorry.
A more interesting question is whether JC was suffering from some type of psychosis considering statements he is supposed to have made?
Ideas of grandeur, thinking himself equal to G-D suggests some psychosis does it not?

Thank you for reminding me not to worsen my health by doing too much.
G-D Bless
Devorah - on UTube and Twitter
January 13, 2016
Response to Devorah
Devorah,

I'm happy you are channeling your insights in the direction of helping other Jewish believers in Jesus. I encourage you in your efforts, but please take care of your health so that your work does not worsen it.

I would like to make one observation. While I agree that the entire concept that Jesus was the Messiah and/or god is untrue, I would not characterize such belief as psychotic. It doesn't involve thought disorders or hallucinations, there's no break with day to day reality. If anything, it might be akin to mass delusion, but it certainly isn't a mental illness. Jews learn about Jesus like we learn history through standard textbooks in school -- none of us were there when the events happened, but we take the information as being true and we have a collective belief about it. Although later we may find upon more sophisticated study that what we learned was incorrect, but that did not make us psychotic for believing it.
Jim D.
Los Angeles
January 12, 2016
You can worship a cucumber & still be a Jew - The Q is should you be worshiping a cucumber?
Great article!

Can a Jew believe in Jesus?
Yes.
In the same way a Jew can believe in a picked dill cucumber or believe he is Napoleon you can believe in Jesus!

The question is should a Jew be doing this?

No! Nyet!

In the same way the Jews in the desert were still Jews in G-D's eyes whilst worshiping the golden calf, so a JFJ is still a Jew BUT a misbehaving one. One who has strayed into idolatry.

Our duty is to bring back Jews from idolatry.

I trained as a psychiatric nurse. When a person is psychotic they can believe they are anything. Jesus, G-D,President of US, all manner of things & people.

If that person is Jewish & holds these beliefs we as Jews demonstrate compassion. We can see and understand from conversing with a psychiatrist that the person is mentally ill.

If we still regard this psychotic Jew as a Jew despite the fact he is telling you the cucumber in the jar is G-D

Messianic Jews have been deceived. They R believing a lie like the psychotic Jew.
Devorah - on UTube and Twitter
January 12, 2016
Jim D, Los Angeles
Hi Jim
Regarding your statement "I know there are some within orthodoxy who will not understand your history or transformation, and may silently judge you still. You will see it in their expressions"

I would like to remind you that anyone who judges me for my previous idolatrous faith & still hold it against me when I have renounced this idolatrous faith should consider the passage in Torah concerning our people building a golden calf and worshiping it whilst Moses was up Mount Sinai.

The sages teach us that as far as G-D was concerned those people were still Jews whilst worshiping the golden calf, but they were not behaving as a Jew should behave.

G-D expected these people after Moses had told them off to stop worshiping the golden calf, repent,& worship only
Him in future.

This is what I am doing!

Judaism believes G-D is faithful to His people

It says somewhere in the Tenach 'Mercy triumphs over judgement'.

When we repent G-D forgives. G-D does not bear a grudge.
Devorah - on UTube and Twitter
January 12, 2016
Jim D, Los Angeles
Hello Jim
I totally agree with your statement "So you can turn your embarrassment and shame into spiritual growth, blessings and pride if you turn to help other messianic Jews realize the truth. You are uniquely able to do that. With every young Jew you save, you also save their future children and, thus, generations to come".

I totally agree with your sentiments. I am in fact doing this. I am doing everything possible despite severe ill health to try and educate Jewish people about the deception of Messianic Judaism/Christianity through writing in the Jewish press and online videos. See Devorah on UTube and Twitter.

I know some might be might be skeptical of my changed position. But let me tell you this. I would gladly burn the New Testament in front of any Rabbi who asked me to.
Devorah
December 15, 2015
Reply to Anonymous UK
Anonymous -- mazel tov! I am amazed and moved by your report! Allow me, if I may, to give you a warm welcome back. Perhaps I can only just begin to understand the shame you feel, and it is to be expected. Whether for 42 days or 42 years, how could a Jew who wholeheartedly worshiped Jesus and then returned not feel some shame? I know there are some within orthodoxy who will not understand your history or transformation, and may silently judge you still. You will see it in their expressions. But that is because they do not really understand Christianity, messianism (because you were "missionized"), and what you have experienced. Jews who are drawn to Jesus worship are in fact among the most spiritual among us. So you can turn your embarrassment and shame into spiritual growth, blessings and pride if you turn to help other messianic Jews realize the truth. You are uniquely able to do that. With every young Jew you save, you also save their future children and, thus, generations to come.
Jim D.
Los Angeles
December 10, 2015
I was a Jewish believer in Jesus for 42 years. I came to the conclusion that Jesus could not be the Messiah after listening to the talks of Rabbi Scobac on Jews for Judaism, talks on Chabad tv, talks by Rabbi Tovia Singer, lectures by professors on the messiah at universitys', reading the hebrew scriptures in context. Listening to Rabbi Stuart Federow and reading his plain speaking, say it as it is book on the differences between Christianity and Judaism To cut to the chase after months of study and thought I renounced this belief that Jesus was the Messiah just two days before Yom Kippur.

I am ashamed & embarressed that I held this belief. If you had met me at age 18 you would never have believed that I would last in this belief for a year never mind 42 years. I wasen't the sort of person that stuck at anything very long.

My late father did send me to see our orthodox Rabbi but he made no effort to deter me from this belief. Jews need to be educated why Jesus is not the Messiah.
Anonymous
UK
August 15, 2015
We all fit in this world: stay together but not scrambled.
Christians are widely accepted in our western world with a missionary reputation all over the world. Christians started more than two thousand years ago as a community and since then have been successful in solving the spiritual problems of many people. However, some of us despite having been born into Christian families, Christianism hasn't solved our spiritual problems: causes, there is a wide spectrum, and so we appeal to sites like Chabad to get some water for our thirsty souls.
Jorge
Qro. Mexico
August 12, 2015
To Uri
Uri - this is a thread about Jewish-Christian relations and the role of Christian proselytes in defining that. The article expressed an opinion and inevitably provokes debate. Of course Christians and Jews should interact in the comment section - this is the beauty of the internet and an example of why, right now, it is our best tool in the fight against intolerant prejudices.

You have already asked if I am a "missionary".

No, I am not a missionary.

You wouldn't know I was a Christian if you met me, unless you directly asked.

And why should Christians not be interested in Judaism or Jewish websites? Our religion is built on an edifice of Jewish philosophy and was invented by Jews. It's totally natural to investigate where this comes from and some of the more philosophical articles here are very thought provoking.

I only comment on this article because I think as a Christian I can add to it.
Anonymous
UK