Cobbled together by Stephen Newdell
You’ve probably seen artistic renderings of Jesus with flowing golden or bronze hair. Maybe you’ve watched a movie or two with an Anglo-Saxon cast as the Son of God—complete with a perfectly posh British accent.
This is some man’s created fantasy. That actor is a British/Norse Jesus.
It’s highly likely this fellow we today call “Jesus” looked a lot like Rabbi Jonathan Cahn(shown here). Bearded, short curly dark brown hair, and Jesus likely had a sun weathered complexion.
A great many professing Christians really have no understandings of the culture, the customs, the language, and the generally accepted beliefs about the culture from which their “religion” comes. Some of them come into a church believing the filth spewed by Pope Urban II that Jews are evil people who killed Christ and that God wants them all dead because they’re the cause of all the world’s problems!
Here is perhaps a fair rendering of what He may have looked like.
(Pope Urban II (Latin: Urbanus II; c. 1042 – 29 July 1099), born Odo of Châtillon or Otho de Lagery, was Pope from 12 March 1088 to his death in 1099.) Urban traveled Europe saying horrific things about Jews, and finally launched a first crusade in 1095 – not for the good of Christendom, but to benefit himself and the church. The Crusaders warred all over Europe and along their march to Jerusalem murdering Muslims, and Jews, and leaving dead entire villages of Bible believers who did not accept the Pope and his edicts. Urban was the first one to launch pogroms against all Jews in their tiny enclaves around Ukraine, Russia and Eastern Europe.)
I’m regularly amazed: Many professing Christians imagine Jesus was his first name and Christ was the family name! They imagine that Jesus was the son of Joseph and Mary Christ. I have to force myself to avoid laughing. They imagine he spoke Old German and perhaps English! They’re shocked when they learn about who Jesus the Christ really was. People build their lives and families around a “belief system” which they call “our church” and claim it is Christianity. The truth about all of this might be the most important subject of study in one’s life! 90% of “Christians” know little to nothing of the foundational knowledge of who Jesus was, where he came from, why he preached as he did, and what he might have looked like.
You’re sitting at a computer. Do you ever look up the meanings of words? Do you look for more information to be certain you know both sides of these stories. I should hope so. But for those who don’t, it’s time to teach yourself to go digging for truth. Today, I’m doing my rendition to help you….with some references mentioned, and you can be sure there were many more not mentioned here.
https://www.gotquestions.org/what-does-Christ-mean.html tells us:
Question: “What does Christ mean?”
Answer: To the surprise of some, “Christ” is not Jesus’ last name (surname). “Christ” comes from the Greek word Christos, meaning “anointed one” or “chosen one.” This is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew word Mashiach, or “Messiah.” “Jesus” is the Lord’s human name given to Mary by the angel Gabriel (Luke 1:31). “Christ” is His title, signifying Jesus was sent from God to be a King and Deliverer (see Daniel 9:25; Isaiah 32:1). “Jesus Christ” means “Jesus the Messiah” or “Jesus the Anointed One.”
In ancient Israel, when someone was given a position of authority, oil was poured on his head to signify his being set apart for God’s service (e.g., 1 Samuel 10:1). Kings, priests, and prophets were anointed in such fashion. Anointing was a symbolic act to indicate God’s choosing (e.g., 1 Samuel 24:6). Although the literal meaning of anointed refers to the application of oil, it can also refer to one’s consecration by God, even if literal oil is not used (Hebrews 1:9).
There are hundreds of prophetic passages in the Old Testament that refer to a coming Messiah who would deliver His people (e.g., Isaiah 61:1; Daniel 9:26). Ancient Israel thought their Messiah would come with military might to deliver them from decades of captivity to earthly kings and pagan nations. But the New Testament reveals a much better deliverance provided by Jesus the Messiah—a deliverance from the power and penalty of sin (Luke 4:18; Romans 6:23).
The Bible says Jesus was anointed with oil on two separate occasions by two different women (Matthew 26:6–7; Luke 7:37–38), but the most significant anointing came by way of the Holy Spirit (Acts 10:38). Jesus’ title of “Christ” means He is God’s Anointed One, the One who fulfills the Old Testament prophecies, the Chosen Savior who came to rescue sinners (1 Timothy 1:15), and the King of kings who is coming back again to set up His Kingdom on earth (Zechariah 14:9).
Recommended Resource: Jesus: The Greatest Life of All by Charles Swindoll
What does “Christ” actually mean?
JULY 6, 2012
What does it mean to speak of Jesus as the “Christ”?
This word is one of the most important, basic words in a Christian’s vocabulary. But it isn’t until you dig into the Bible’s ancient context that you that see its surprising imagery and some of its most important implications.
First of all, the word “Christ” comes from christos, a Greek word meaning “anointed.” It is the equivalent of the word mashiach, or Messiah, in Hebrew. So, to be the Christ, or Messiah, is to be “the anointed one of God.”
But what does that mean?
To be anointed, literally, is to have sacred oil poured on one’s head, because God has chosen the person for a special task. Priests and kings were anointed, and occasionally prophets. Kings were anointed during their coronation rather than receiving a crown.
Even though prophets and priests were anointed, the phrase “anointed one” or “the Lord’s anointed” was most often used to refer to a king. For instance, David used it many times to refer to King Saul, even when Saul was trying to murder David and David was on the verge of killing Saul to defend himself:
Far be it from me because of the LORD that I should do this thing to my lord, the LORD’S anointed (mashiach), to stretch out my hand against him, since he is the LORD’S anointed (mashiach). (1 Samuel 24:6)
The overriding biblical imagery of the word “Messiah” or “Christ” is that of a king chosen by God. Often in the Old Testament, God would tell a prophet to go anoint someone and proclaim him king. The act of anointing with sacred oil emphasized that it was God himself who had ordained a person and given him authority to act as his representative.
If you were to ask most people to describe Jesus’ identity, “Son of God” or “Suffering Savior” would be best guesses. “King” doesn’t even occur to them. While Jesus also has a priestly and a prophetic role, the prominent idea within the title “Christ” is actually that of a king.
Hints of a Coming King
If you look more closely, you’ll see that this is indeed the messianic idea throughout the Bible. Throughout the Old Testament, we see little hints that God would send a great king to Israel who would someday rule the world. In Genesis, when Jacob blesses each of his sons and foretells his future, he says of Judah:
The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he comes to whom it belongs and the obedience of the nations is his. (Genesis 49:10)
This is the first hint that they were expecting a great king to arise out of Israel who would be king over the whole earth.
The clearest prophecy about the future messianic king comes from King David’s time. David earnestly desired to build a temple, a “house” for God, but God responded that his son Solomon would be the one to build his temple. But then God went on to promise he would build a “house” for David, meaning that God would establish his family line after him. He further promised that from David’s family would come a king whose kingdom will have no end:
When your days are over and you go to be with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, one of your own sons, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for me, and I will establish his throne forever. I will be his father, and he will be my son. I will never take my love away from him, as I took it away from your predecessor. I will set him over my house and my kingdom forever; his throne will be established forever. (1 Chronicles 17:11-14)
This prophecy has been understood as having a double fulfillment. It is first fulfilled in Solomon, who built the temple, but did what God forbade—amassed a great fortune and married foreign wives. His kingdom broke apart a few years after his death. But this prophecy looks forward to a “Son of David” who would come, who would have a kingdom without end. This, in fact, is the seedbed of all of the messianic prophecies that speak of the “son of David” and the coming messianic king.
Jesus as the Christ
Often the gospels use cultural images of kingship to proclaim Jesus as the Christ, God’s anointed King who has come. When a king arose with great power, other kingdoms would send emissaries with lavish gifts to establish a friendly relationship with the future leader. This is what is happening in Matthew 2, when wise men come to bring gifts to Christ, the newborn king whose star they have seen in the east.
This was a fulfillment of Numbers 24:17, Isaiah 60, and Psalm 72. The latter two passages both describe the coming of a great king and describe how representatives from nations everywhere would come to give him tribute:
The kings of Tarshish and of distant shores will bring tribute to him; the kings of Sheba and Seba will present him gifts. All kings will bow down to him and all nations will serve him. Psalm 72: 10-11
We see yet another picture of Jesus as King when he rode on a donkey into Jerusalem. This was often part of the annunciation of a new king, as it was for Solomon in 1 Kings 1:38-39. It is the fulfillment of Zechariah 9:9, the triumphal entry of the messianic king.
Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you! He is just and endowed with salvation; humble, and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
And, during Jesus’ trial, the main question that he is asked is “Are you the King of the Jews?”, which he answered affirmatively:
And they began to accuse him, saying, “We found this man misleading our nation and forbidding to pay taxes to Caesar, and saying that he himself is Christ, a King.” So Pilate asked him, saying, “Are You the King of the Jews?” And he answered him and said, “It is as you say.” (Luke 23:2-3)
What are the implications of Jesus as King?
When you think about Jesus’ time on earth, the last thing you may think of is of a reigning king. But Jesus explained that his kingdom was not of this world (John 18:37). Rather, Jesus was talking about the kingdom of God, the major focus of his preaching. The kingdom of God is made up of those who submit their lives to God to reign over them. He also was inferring he would be back to reign as King over the Jewish population and indeed, the entire world.
As the King that God has sent, and of course because he is God, the kingdom of God is Jesus’ kingdom. He speaks about how it is expanding like yeast or mustard seed as the news goes forth that he has arrived and people accept him as King. When he returns in glory, every knee on earth will bow to honor him as King (Philippians 2:9).
Did the people around him see him as a king? The fact that Jesus’ disciples and others who believed in him referred to him as “Lord” suggests that they were giving him great honor, with the understanding that he was the Messianic King. To call Jesus “Lord” was to use a term for addressing royalty, like saying “Your Majesty” or “Your Highness.” It is also a common term for addressing God himself, and hints of worshiping Jesus as God.
To use the word “Lord” displays an attitude of obedient submission to a greater power. Jesus seems even to expect that those who call him Lord obey him. To his listeners he asked, “Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” (Luke 6:46). To call him “Lord” or to call him Jesus “Christ” is to say that he is the King that God has sent who has a right to reign over us.
This has implications about how we define ourselves as Christians. Usually, we talk in terms of doctrines and beliefs, but the very word “Christ” calls us to more than assenting to a creed. If Christ means King, a Christian is one who considers Jesus his Lord and King, and submits to his reign. It follows then that people who profession Christianity and make no real changes in their behavior are not Christian and do not see The Lord as their lord/leader and monarch whom they must obey.
Paul too proclaims that salvation comes through faith in the atoning work of Jesus, as well as a commitment to honor him as one’s personal Lord and King:
If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (Romans 10:9)
[Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, HYPERLINK “https://www.biblegateway.com/blog/2017/07/did-you-know-jesus-ancestors-are-not-who-you-think-they-are/”Did You Know Jesus’ Ancestors Are Not Who You Think They Are?] You’ll find me touching this subject several times in various articles. At the time of Jesus’ birth his “father” Joseph was actually a bit of a revolutionary. He led a movement that wanted to depose King Herod and replace him with someone from the line of King David. Joseph, and Mary (and of course their children) were all from the line of King David. In other words, they were all Jewish Royalty! Their genealogy is given in the Bible to prove he was of the royal line.
God said he would choose this people to be his family! If you have been taught or “brought up” to believe all Jews are evil, you had better do some digging. Jewish law gives us human rights, rights to worship and speak freely, women’s rights, respect for women and children, preservation of human life and particularly the lives of women and children. The U.S. Bill of Rights is nearly a summary of Jewish thinking on the subject of what freedoms people should have.
When you hear stories of a ship sinking and the captain orders “Lower the life boats. Rescue women and children first” that really comes from earlier Jewish and Christian thought. The Bible is replete with honor given to good women. You won’t find such honor given to children and women in most other major world religious literature.
The Bible records Jesus was born in Bethlehem. His family was part of a monastic order which lived in today’s Nazareth. We presume ALL of those people were members of the same tribe and extended families. They, all of them, were followers of this monastic order.
In those days it was a village of about 400 people raising children and following Jewish Law as precisely as they could. There had been among them a prophet who said the 7th son of a 7th son would be born among them and he would be their Messiah. It is also written among some scholars that these people were vegetarians, were skilled in natural healing, and notable because they always wore white clothing.
Nazareth was calculated to be approximately 10-acres about 950 feet long x 350 feet across. 10 acres is 660’ x 660’
To get better perspective the typical square city block is 2.21 to 2.50 Acres. So the entire village measured about 4 city blocks. Within that neighborhood everyone knew at least by sight who lived there and who was a visitor.
Much later it was named in Bible passages. It is located near Mt. Tabor. As the population grew the village became better known. The people there were referred to as Nazarenes and often people would say they are from Nazarea – which would include the town and surrounding farms and pasture lands.
The language there was Aramaic, which is a combination of Arabic dialects and Hebrew, commonly used because so many people met and traded skills and products. Many Aramaic words are the same or have a similar pronunciation in Hebrew.
basic facts about Nazareth from: http://www.jesus-story.net/nazareth_about.htm
Nazareth is measured to be 104 kilometers (65 miles) from Jerusalem. Walking there with a family probably required about 5-days of hard exercise on dry rocky paths and some roads. As you see a little further Nazareth is near a larger village which they called a city. Even today it’s population is less than 1,000; Not large enough in our time to be called a city. Probably Jesus and the other men in the family were employed there.
Nazareth lies in the hills twelve miles southwest of the Sea of Galilee: The land was fertile.
Excavations show the village was very small, taking up perhaps a total of 10-acres. Every bit of space was used effectively. It was built on porous rock, so as well as the buildings above the surface there were underground cisterns for water, vats for oil, and silos for grain. There was a single, ancient spring for water.
It would have been 2,000 feet at its greatest east-west length and around 650 feet at its greatest north-south width, though the actual area inhabited in the first century was much less, perhaps only around ten acres. Steep ravines and ancient terraces on the northern slope confined the oval-shaped settlement.
It was a conservative town, clinging to traditional Jewish culture in a world that had been radically affected by Greek thought and culture.
It had a population of about 400, so everyone knew everyone else. The people were physically robust, strong-minded, practical, respectful of traditional and loyal to family.
They spoke Aramaic, a language with a strong poetic tradition. Being able to talk well was a valued skill.
Young Jewish men were expected to be literate. The Jewish queen Salome Alexandra had made reading and writing compulsory for all Jewish boys – for study of the Torah.
The little village of Nazareth, off the main road, over the hill was within walking distance of the city of Sepphoris.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
|Coordinates: 32°44′44″N 35°16′43″ECoordinates: 32°44′44″N 35°16′43″E|
|Founded||5000 BCE (First settlement)
104 BCE (Hasmonean city)
1949 (Israeli village)
|Founded||5000 BCE (First settlement)
104 BCE (Hasmonean city)
1949 (Israeli village)
Sepphoris /sᵻˈfɔːrᵻs/ or Zippori /ˈzɪpəraɪ/ (Hebrew: צִפּוֹרִי Tzipori; Ancient Greek: Σέπφωρις Sépphōris; Arabic: صفورية Saffuriya), also called Diocaesaraea (Ancient Greek: Διοκαισάρεια) and, during the Crusades, Sephory /ˈsɛfəri/ (Old French: La Sephorie), is a village and an archeological site located in the central Galilee region of Israel, 6 kilometers (3.7 mi) north-northwest of Nazareth. It lies 286 m above sea level and overlooks the Beit Netofa Valley. The site holds a rich and diverse historical and architectural legacy that includes Hellenistic, Jewish, Roman, Byzantine, Islamic, Crusader, Arabicand Ottoman influences. In Late Antiquity, it was believed to be the birthplace of Mary, mother of Jesus, and the village where Saints Anna and Joachim are often said to have resided, where today a 5th-century basilica is excavated at the site honoring the birth of Mary.
“Mona Lisa of the Galilee”, 4th-century Roman mosaic in Sepphoris
Notable structures at the site include a Roman theater, two early Christian churches, a Crusader fort renovated by Zahir al-Umarin the 18th century, and over sixty different mosaics dating from the third to the sixth century CE.
The people of Nazareth were essentially farmers, so they needed space between the houses for livestock and their enclosures, as well as land for plants and orchards. Nazareth would have had a population of around two to four hundred in antiquity, that is to say, several extended families or clans.
While this might seem obvious on reflection, many people often seem to imagine Jesus of Nazareth wasn’t of European descent. If you ask where he came from I’m sure many people will picture in their mind he descended from the clouds!
Many people associate Christianity with Europe and the West. But when we forget that the Jesus of the Bible was a Jew, living in first-century Palestine in what we now call the Middle East, we miss something crucial about the story of God’s Messiah.
As a Jew, Jesus would have worshipped in the synagogue. He would have read and memorized the Torah. And he would have regularly recited the Shema:
“Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” — Deuteronomy 6:4-5
Understanding Jesus’ ethnicity, and something of the customs, culture and language is really critical for understanding the Christian faith itself. Because it’s only when we grasp the true nature of the founder of Christianity that we grasp the true nature of God’s love.
[Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, HYPERLINK “https://www.biblegateway.com/blog/2017/06/did-you-know-the-saying-god-helps-those-who-help-themselves-isnt-in-the-bible/”Did You Know the Saying “God Helps Those Who Help Themselves” Isn’t in the Bible?] The Story of God and the Jewishness of Jesus
To understand the significance of Jesus’ story, you have to see the big picture of God’s story, which begins with the history of God’s people in the Bible’s earliest pages. After our ancient ancestors Adam and Eve vandalized the shalom (peace) of God’s good world with a legacy of ever-increasing wickedness, God responded with a new legacy of His own. He launched a plan to rescue humanity by recruiting a man—Abraham and making a remarkable promise to Abraham and his descendants:
“I will make you into a great nation,
and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
and you will be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you,
and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
will be blessed through you.” — Genesis 12:1-3
By forming a covenant with them—He would be their God, and they His people (actually this is saying His/ “God’s family.” God’s ultimate plan was to bless all nations and peoples through Abraham and his offspring. But the road to that blessing would be a long and painful one, because God’s own people continually failed to keep up their end of the covenant. Instead of demonstrating for others how to live as God intended, instead of pointing the way to reconciliation with God, Israel spiraled downward into wickedness. Their moral decline into collapse eventually became so great that God judged the nation of Israel with a painful period of exile.
But God wasn’t through with them. His promises of blessing still stood—for them and for the nations of the world. God raised up prophets to remind his people of their covenant with him. Ultimately, God offered a new promise: God would send a Chosen One, a Messiah, to rescue mankind and put the world back together again.
What’s interesting about this Jewish story is how consistently forward-pointing it is. It always looks forward to the day when the Messiah would come to make things right again—not only for Israel, but for the world. This Messiah would be a “new Moses.” He would descend from the famed Israelite king David, but would be infinitely greater than David—David was the king of Israel, but the Messiah would be the King of kings. And this Messiah would suffer abuse and even death, slaughtered as the Final Atoning Sacrificial Lamb of God.
That Chosen One was Jesus, born in the line of the great patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; the descendant of David, the son of Joseph and Mary—a thoroughly Jewish genealogy. His mother Mary was Jewish, his “father” Joseph was Jewish. There’s more to say about this and you’ll run into it in my other writings. But in very quick summary, Jewish Royals often “mated” about 3-months before the wedding so that the first baby would be born between holidays. They could celebrate his arrival without disturbing other holy day celebrations.
The story of Jesus born to a virgin is a copy of the story of Isis mating with Osiris producing Horus. This is ancient Greek mythology: Horus is the son of the god Osiris, born to a virgin mother. Most ancient Roman Emperors were also said to have been born of a virgin. Born to be royal, of course this wasn’t true.
The mother of Horus was believed to be the goddess Isis. Her husband, the god Osiris, was killed by his enemy Seth, the god of the desert, and later dismembered. Isis managed to retrieve all of Osiris’s body parts except for his phallus, which was thrown into the Nile and eaten by catfish. Isis used her goddess powers to temporarily resurrect Osiris and fashion a golden phallus. She was then impregnated, and Horus was conceived. However this story may be classified, it is not a virgin birth.
According to Christian tradition Jesus was born to a Mary, a virgin and that Joseph was considering ending the relationship when he realized she was pregnant but decided to keep her because an Angel visited him and told him the fetus was fathered by The Holy Spirit.
That would be extremely unlikely. This point of discussion is what puts so many modern Jewish people off from even considering Christianity. The story is not accepted. Conservative Jews see through the story as a lie and being trained to read Hebrew from around age 8 until age 13 (or later) they can read the scriptures in the original form and see Mary was a Young Woman – not a virgin!
In such a conservative community a young woman would not have been accepted as pregnant before marriage. The neighbors would have told her to leave the community.
The translation we read is that Mary was a “virgin” but in Hebrew she was not referred to as a “virgin” but rather as “a young woman.” So this young woman of royal blood lines mates with her fiancé of royal blood line and she got pregnant just as they intended, so then she would bear the baby between holy days, as Jewish Royals often did, particularly for the first child whom they hoped would be a boy.
This boy fit into the parameters of the ancient local prophecy. He was the 7th generation. He and his family lived in this monastic community and kept all the law as perfectly as anyone could. Christian teachers say he never sinned and never had a bad thought. We can’t prove any such statements.
We know he was a man and probably trained to be a carpenter as his father Joseph was. He worked hard until age 29 or 30 and then felt a call to wander and preach, and often contradict what was uttered by the head Rabbi’s in Jerusalem.
Joseph was still trying to determine if he could wage a battle and depose Herod and replace Herod with either himself or one of his sons. Which son was debatable. Of course the Romans wanted Herod on the throne because he did as the Roman Emperor ordered and was well paid to do so. In exchange the Roman army occupied and protected Herod. Replacing Herod by battle was a near impossibility because sooner or later their secret plan would be leaked to the Roman Procurator.
So, what can we say then about Jesus being God’s son? My answer (not mine alone) is that he became God’s Son when the “Logos” The living Word of God entered him with God’s proclamation at the time he was baptized. It was then that God said “this is my son.” Thus we get John 1:1-5.
The Book of John 1 New International Version (NIV)
The Word Became Flesh
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome[a] it.
Are you hearing this? This Living Word of God was with God from time before time! He was with God from “The Beginning” and the word “with” comes from “face to face”. He was the first one God created for a companion. God apparently “designed” the universe and handed the design work to The Living Word and said, Now produce it. Read line 3 again.
Matthew 3:17 New International Version (NIV)
17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”
The Baptism of Jesus
13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. 14 But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?”
15 Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented.
16 As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”
We get another confirmation of this message here:
Luke 9 New International Version (NIV)
28 About eight days after Jesus said this, he took Peter, John and James with him and went up onto a mountain to pray. 29 As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning. 30 Two men, Moses and Elijah, appeared in glorious splendor, talking with Jesus. 31 They spoke about his departure,[a] which he was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem. 32 Peter and his companions were very sleepy, but when they became fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men standing with him. 33 As the men were leaving Jesus, Peter said to him, “Master, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” (He did not know what he was saying.)
34 While he was speaking, a cloud appeared and covered them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. 35 A voice came from the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him.”36 When the voice had spoken, they found that Jesus was alone. The disciples kept this to themselves and did not tell anyone at that time what they had seen.
The first mention of the virgin birth in the Bible occurs in the Gospel of Matthew, which was written over 70 years after the birth of Jesus. (Jesus, by the way, or Yashuah, was a relatively common name. His people called him Yashuah. The Greek translation is again changed so in our time the pronunciation is “Jesus”. The proper name Jesus /ˈdʒiːzəs/ used in the English language originates from the Latin form of the Greek name Ἰησοῦς (Iēsous), a rendition of the Hebrew Yeshua (ישוע), also having the variants Joshua or Jeshua.
This subject alone can turn into a huge family fight because soon the translation of the name in Hebrew and Aramaic is brought up, and the shortening of the name which really has an entire different meaning. I can get into real trouble discussing this. (More after this aside.)
(This is one of the reason I’m a writer. I often avoid talking to people because most of the ones I meet are incapable of focused listening. They want to interrupt and argue everything, ask more questions, and push me off the organized track I’m thinking — and I just can’t tolerate that. While I’m attempting to finish what I was saying and complete expressing my conclusionary point some stranger walks up and interrupts with “Hi, How are ya?” as if I’m invisible, and the entire conversation (and my point) is lost forever. Therefore, I think and, I write and no one interrupts or argues with me.)
Fortunately (I’m not Catholic) we get this quick reference from www.catholic.org/clife/jesus/jesusname.php: Jesus means in Hebrew: “God saves.” … The Eastern prayer of the heart, the Jesus prayer, says: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” The word “Christ” comes from the Greek translation of the Hebrew Messiah, which means “anointed”.
May God love this writer. He got right to the summary point in a moment! (sigh of relief)
The Jewishness of Jesus and the Story of Christianity
Shortly after Jesus was born, his parents, Joseph and Mary, did what any good Jewish parent would have done in first-century Palestine (and still do to this day): they circumcised him. The young Jesus was presented at the Temple in Jerusalem to be consecrated to the Lord—a traditional ceremony for every firstborn Jewish boy. His parents also took him to Jerusalem for the Festival of Passover, a Jewish holiday that commemorated the Lord’s rescue of His people from the land of Egypt (a hugely important event in Jewish and biblical history known as the Exodus). In short, Jesus was raised faithfully in accordance with Jewish tradition.
Early in Jesus’ ministry, an interesting episode took place that highlighted his Jewish identity. When he went to worship in the local synagogue on the Sabbath, he was handed a scroll for the day’s reading. Locating a particular passage, this is what he read:
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
Then he rolled up the scroll, handed it back to the synagogue attendant, sat down, and said: “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”
Every eye was upon him, partly because he had stopped reading in Mid Sentence! Why did he stop? Because he gave them a new message. He said Today the scripture is fulfilled! He, this local carpenter, suddenly proclaims to his neighbors that he is God walking among us, and the anointed one intended to bring us peace! Of course this was incredibly controversial.
The passage he read was a classic Messianic passage, one that vividly expressed Jewish hopes and expectations for their promised Chosen One. And Jesus claimed that he was that One—the long-awaited Messiah who had come to finally rescue his people, all people, and set things right again in the world! This was the new Exodus that Israel had been waiting for!
Why the Jewishness of Jesus is Important
Reclaiming the Jewishness of Jesus is crucial. Because understanding his social and cultural context is crucial to understanding the love of God.
From the beginning, God’s mission to rescue and restore humanity, driven by a passionate love for the world. He chose Abraham and his Jewish decedents—the nation of Israel—to serve as vessels of his blessing to the nations of the world. The Israelites also served as carriers of the “seed”—the “offspring” of the woman, the long-awaited Messiah that God promised would defeat the Serpent who first tempted mankind into sin and tainted God’s good creation.
And yet God also promised the Serpent would strike the heel of that offspring—a symbolic foreshadowing of the suffering that would be experienced by Jesus, “who bore our suffering” and was “punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted.”
Jesus the Christ, the Messiah, was the fulfillment of God’s original plan to rescue and restore the world through the Jewish people. He was the fulfillment of all Israel’s hopes and expectations for peace and salvation. Through his sacrifice, God “has made perfect forever those who are being made holy” (Hebrews 10:14)…. for both Jews and non-Jews, for everyone man and woman who will truly rely upon him, cling to him, and trust in him.
More references for scholarly diggers: