Jesus’Attitude towards Judaism
Jesus’Attitude towards Judaism
Christianityis, with no doubt, one of the most popular religions in both thetraditional and contemporary human societies. Founded on theteachings of Jesus Christ, Christianity has grown to numerous partsof the globe and to have millions of followers across borders. Ofparticular note is the fact that the teachings of this religion haveclose resemblance with a large number of teachings pertaining to thevaried cultures of the globe. However, since time immemorial,Christianity has been on collision course with varied teachings thatused to be followed by cultures before its entry. This comes outclearly in the case of biblical teachings regarding the conduct ofhuman beings as taught by Jesus Christ. As much as Jesus Christ wasnot always opposed to the ways of life of Hebrews and Sadducees, itis noted that there were some teachings that contradicted the ways oflife of these groups of people. Indeed, it is well stated that Jesusdid not come to eliminate the laws of Moses but to strengthen them.This should not be misconstrued as having meant that his teachingswould not be on collision course or seen to contradict the teachingsof Moses as followed in Judaism. Indeed, it is conceivable that Jesusviewed Judaism as a good way of life albeit under the leadership ofhypocrites.
First,there are instances where he was in opposition with the Jewish law ascomprehended universally under Judaism. Indeed, scholars haveacknowledged that Jews had agreed never to consume weasels, rodents,carnivores, insects and shellfish and pork in line with the laws ofMoses as detailed in the books of Leviticus and Deuteronomy1.Indeed, the prohibitions regarding pork and shellfish set Judaism andJews from other people. Nevertheless, Jesus declared that all foodswere clean according to the gospel of Mark 7:19. In such a case, itgoes without saying that Jesus set himself or his teachings on directcollision course with the law of God as given to Moses as followed inJudaism.
Oneof the things that Christ’s teachings we seen as a contradiction ofthe Mosaic Law was with regard to fasting. In Mark 2:18, thePharisees were seen questioning Jesus regarding the fasting of hisdisciples. The Pharisees were of the opinion that Jesus’ disciplesshould also fast just as did John’s disciples, as well as thedisciples of Pharisees. This law was to be applied with no exceptionwhatsoever. However, Jesus stated that in instances where theattendants or guests of bridegroom cannot fast as long as thebridegroom is around in which case the disciples of Christ could notfast when He was with them.
Onthe same note, Jesus seemed to oppose Judaism with regard to theobservation of the Sabbath. In Mark 2:23-28, Jesus was going throughthe grain fields with his disciples who started plucking grain headsin spite of it being a Sabbath. This seemed to anger the Phariseeswho noted that the actions of the Pharisees were unlawful. Indeed, hedrew a distinction between the beliefs that the Pharisees hadregarding the Sabbath and his teachings regarding the same, notingthat human beings were superior to the Sabbath and not vice versa. Inverse 27-28, he stated that “TheSabbath was made for humankind, and not humankind for theSabbath 28 sothe Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath. Thisunderlined the fact that the laws cannot be greater than theircreator even in instances where they are aimed at guiding the conductof their makers. Indeed, laws have to be for the service of humanityrather than humanity existing so as to serve the laws. Of particularnote is the hypocrisy of the Pharisees in their assertions. Indeed,it is well acknowledged that the grain fields do not seem to be ownedby the disciples in which case the grains are not theirs. In essence,it is extremely curious that the Pharisees would be concerned aboutthe observance of the Sabbath through working on this day than whatseems to be theft. On the same note, scholars have acknowledged thatit is questionable what the Pharisees are doing there too as it isalso the Sabbath. This text is a demonstration of the fact that theindividuals that seemed to oppose the teachings of Jesus alwaysmanaged to come up when needed, in which case they were targetinghim. It is also worth noting that Jesus defends the actions of thefollowers or disciples and argues that it is acceptable forindividuals to take actions that are reasonably necessary when hungryso as to eliminate their hunger. This assertion is based on theincident where David took bread that was meant for priests in theHouse of God2.This means that the laws of Moses were not wrong rather the manner inwhich they were applied in Judaism left a lot to be desired as theJews and Hebrews who were observing it were primarily concerned withthe observance of the law rather than serving their fellow humanbeings.
Further,he disagreed with Judaism regarding the issue of marriage anddivorce. In Mark 10: 1-2, the Pharisees came to him in Judea andquestioned him regarding the lawfulness of a man divorcing his wife.As an answer to them, Jesus asked them what the Moses had commandedthem to do, to which they answered that they were allowed to write acertificate of divorce and send their wives away3.Of particular note is the fact that the Pharisees were not honestlyseeking insight into the crucial matter rather they were trying toget Him to take a particular side of the dispute so that theindividuals who Followed Him but disagreed with the answer that Hegave would stop following him. The question phrased as “is itlawful for a man to divorce his wife” implies that the Phariseesheld the perception that the law aimed at laying out what was bad orgood after which they would only need to avoid it. In essence, theywould assume that that were moral as long as they stayed on aparticular side of the line. It is worth noting that the laws ofMoses did not permit the sending away of one’s wife rather itstates that if an individual sent his wife away and gave her acertificate for divorce, after which she remarries and then getswidowed or divorced, the individual should not marry her again. Thismeans that the passage saw marriage as a serious business where nopartner is allowed to play with the other as an instrument4.In essence, men cannot rotate women amongst themselves and still goback to the beginning. Jesus essentially notes that divorce shouldnot be allowed since two individuals would become one flesh uponbeing married, in which case no person should separate them. Thisstatement should not be seen as a contradiction of the teachings ofMoses but rather as a contradiction of the interpretation thatfollowers of Judaism had regarding the efficacy of the Laws ofMoses5.
Inconclusion, Jesus has always been depicted by a large number ofscholars as having been on collision course with Judaism andparticularly the Law of Moses. However, it should be noted that hedid not come so as to challenge the la w or weaken it rather He aimedat strengthening it in the long-term. In this regard, his teachingswere meant as interpretations of the Mosaic Law, which essentiallychallenged Judaism as the interpretation of the followers wasconsiderably warped. There are varied instances where Jesus disagreedwith Pharisees, scribes and other Jews who followed Judaism6.This is particularly with regard to aspects such as marriage anddivorce, the observance of the Sabbath, the ritual washing andofferings, as well as fasting. Of particular note is the fact thatthere was nothing wrong with the Laws of Moses regarding theseissues. However, the manner in which they were interpreted in thesociety was a bit wrong since the Pharisees and high priests seemedto be self-seeking. This is, essentially, where the conflict betweenthe two emanated from .
Bellis,Alice Ogden, and Joel S. Kaminsky. 2000. Youshall not see my face unless your brother is with you: Jewish andChristian approaches to the theology of the Hebrew Scriptures.Atlanta, Ga: Society of Biblical Literature.
Jossa,G. 2006. Jewsor Christians?: The followers of Jesus in search of their ownidentity.Tübingen:Mohr Siebeck.
Lourie,Elena, and Harvey J. Hames. 2003. Jews,Muslims, and Christians in and around the Crown of Aragon: essays inhonour of Profesor Elena Lourie.Boston, MA: Brill.
Strobel,Lee. 2007. Thecase for the real Jesus: a journalist investigates current attacks onthe identity of Christ.Grand Rapids, Mich: Zondervan.
1 Strobel, Lee. 2007. The case for the real Jesus: a journalist investigates current attacks on the identity of Christ. Grand Rapids, Mich: Zondervan.
2 Bellis, Alice Ogden, and Joel S. Kaminsky. 2000. You shall not see my face unless your brother is with you: Jewish and Christian approaches to the theology of the Hebrew Scriptures. Atlanta, Ga: Society of Biblical Literature
3 Lourie, Elena, and Harvey J. Hames. 2003. Jews, Muslims, and Christians in and around the Crown of Aragon: essays in honour of Profesor Elena Lourie. Boston, MA: Brill.
4 Strobel, Lee. 2007. The case for the real Jesus: a journalist investigates current attacks on the identity of Christ. Grand Rapids, Mich: Zondervan.
5 Jossa, G. 2006. Jews or Christians?: The followers of Jesus in search of their own identity. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck.
6 Jossa, G. 2006. Jews or Christians?: The followers of Jesus in search of their own identity. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck.