Jesus as Messiah

The Times carried an advertisement (Dec. 11) from the so-called "Jews for Jesus" with the headline, "The Messiah has come and his name is Y'SHUA'." Now, although that was undoubtedly the Hebrew name of "Jesus," and although he most certainly was a Jew (and, possibly, even a "Messiah"), the implication of the rest of the ad--that these circumstances of his Jewish birth somehow elected him to the status of God--is totally misleading and offensive.

The Jewish messianic tradition into which "Jesus" was born defined the Messiah as a priestly king , not as a supernatural being. In this tradition, the tradition of Jesus the Jew, it was utterly unthinkable that the Messiah would be anything except mortal, and most emphatically not an object of worship. Consequently, Jesus-worship is not (as the so-called "Jews for Jesus" want us to believe) justified by the Jewish messianic tradition. In fact, Messiah-worship is not Jewish at all, but a pagan corruption of a Jewish precept.

Jesus was possibly a great prophet in Israel, he also may have aspired to becoming its "Messiah," but he never claimed to be our God. The statement, "I am God!" (which he never said) is a far cry from, "I and the Father are One" (which he did). To a Jew such as "Jesus" the former would have seemed ridiculous, while the latter would have been an expression of Devekut , or mystical "cleaving" to the God-head.

Clearly, the intention of the ad in question is to give the impression that Jews support the divinity of "Jesus." However, I suspect that the name "Jews for Jesus" is more evangelistic wishful-thinking than fact. Furthermore, I suggest that any Jews--or, for that matter, any Gentiles--who want to practice the religion of Y'SHUA should return to Judaism where they'll find it.

LAWRENCE G. COREY

Hermosa Beach

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