A Saturday many, many years ago, the beaten, bruised and bloodied body of Jesus of Nazareth lay still in the darkness of a borrowed tomb, as his spirit communed with the angels and his mind reasoned over the unfoldings of a truly abundant life.
We are not privy to those thoughts.
Matter of fact, all we know of the life of Jesus comes from four major biographers who borrowed pieces from one another, and each, in his own way, had an agenda to offer insights to please his readers.
There is no autobiography.
So we aren’t sure of the emotion in the words attributed to him. Therefore theologians decipher and agnostics disembowel the remnants of the script left to us of this magnificent life.
Yet every once in a while, we get a deeper glimpse. Such is the case in Matthew the 23rd Chapter, Verse 37-38:
“Oh, Jerusalem, Jerusalem! Thou that killest the prophets and stone them which are sent unto you. How often would I have gathered your children together, even as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings, and you would not. Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.”
The great debate over the centuries has been whether Jesus was Jewish or whether he came, in a certain sense, to abolish Judaism in favor of the New Covenant.
If you study the writings of Martin Luther, you might begin to believe that the Great Reformer was anti-Semetic. Yet in many evangelical churches, there seems to be a return to Jewish traditions, including them with their Christian rituals.
What did Jesus feel about the Jews?
What was the heart of the matter?
First and foremost, you must understand, for Jesus to include Gentiles and Samaritans in his movement immediately made him an outcast from the Jewish religious community.
Matter of fact, the Jewish Council that condemned him to death granted him none of the courtesy that was normally extended to brethren.
The reality that Jesus did not believe that the Jews were special because they were the “children of Abraham,” but rather put forth the opinion that God “could take stones” and make offspring of Abe, certainly did not put him in favor with those of the Zionist profile.
Yet John tells us that he “came to his own and his own received him not.”
When Jesus spoke with the woman at the well, he did use the phrase “we Jews.” It is the only time he did, but he certainly had a kindness and favorability for those who lived in Judea and Galilee.
But Jesus was a man of vision–the Gospel would never reach China or the Native Americans if it were left in the hands of the Jews. The Jewish people had already aggravated the Romans to the point that the annihilation and dispersion of their kindred was inevitable, if not imminent. The Gospel would only survive in the hands of the Greeks and the Romans, who would take it to the rest of the world.
The Apostle Paul makes it clear that when the early church was trying to force Gentile converts to comply with Jewish practices, the former Pharisee condemned them and called them “Judaizers” for limiting the scope and power of the message.
In the two verses recited above, Jesus announces the fate of Judaism.
It is in a coma.
It is left desolate and abandoned.
It is awaiting a day when it can be awakened and all the promises given by the prophets can be fulfilled.
But for a season, it was set aside in favor of salvation and “loving your neighbor” being shared with the entire world.
Basically, if you want to sum up Jesus’ feelings on Judaism, it’s very simple: Jesus loves them.
He just does not believe they’re “chosen people.”
There are no chosen people–just people who choose well.