How Jewish is your Jesus?
Two reasons why religious Jews reject Jesus as Messiah
Most religious Jews these days follow a creed called the Ani Maamin, written by the Rambam (Maiminodes), translated as “I believe”. These are the thirteen Principles of Faith and the twelfth one states:
Ani Maamin B'emunah Sh'leimah B'viyat Hamashiach. V'af al pi sheyitmahmehah im kol zeh achake lo b'chol yom sheyavo.
I believe with full faith in the coming of the Messiah. And even though he tarries, with all that, I await his arrival with every day.
Make no mistake. The Messiah is still serious business among religious Jews today. I visited a website, Moshiach Online, presented as the Jewish view on the Messiah, with a comprehensive treatment of every aspect of this subject. They quote the following scriptures as key to the understanding of Messiah:
“The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him — the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD — and he will delight in the fear of the LORD. He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears; but with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth. He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked. Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash around his waist. The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them.” (Isaiah 11:2-6)
“He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.” (Isaiah 2:4)
The above two prophecies speak of a righteous and powerful judge, the whole Earth under his command. He will abolish war and rid the World of the wicked. Clearly this person has not arrived yet and no less a “Talmudic scholar” as Woody Allen has indicated his skepticism in his learned commentary – “And the lamb and the wolf shall lie down together, but the lamb won’t get any sleep”.
“Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west. I will say to the north, 'Give them up!' and to the south, 'Do not hold them back.' Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth” (Isaiah 43:5-6)
The Messiah, in their view, will return the Jewish people to the Land of Israel. As most Jews still live in exile (Diaspora), this has not yet happened.
“I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant. I will establish them and increase their numbers, and I will put my sanctuary among them forever. My dwelling place will be with them; I will be their God, and they will be my people. Then the nations will know that I the LORD make Israel holy, when my sanctuary is among them forever.' "(Ezekiel 37:26-28)
The Messiah, in their view, will rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem. Again, this has not happened.
The Rabbis have been waiting centuries for such a Messiah. For the best explanation of their expectations we turn to Maimonides, aka Rambam, a Jewish scholar from the Middle ages and one of the most highly regarded of all Jewish sages.
We will read what he has to say next week …