WHAT IS MESSIANIC JUDAISM?
Messianic Judaism is a biblically based movement of Jewish people who have come to believe in Yeshua as the promised Jewish Messiah of Israel. Yeshua is the Hebrew name for Jesus which means ‘salvation.’
Today there are tens of thousands of Messianic Jews in the United States alone. Some have estimated as high as 100,000. Messianic synagogues are springing up in every major city across the country including Buffalo.
In fact, many nations the world over are experiencing growing numbers of Messianic Jews and synagogues.
WHAT DOES THE TENACH SAY ABOUT THE MESSIAH?
(Jewish Publication: Isaiah 53:1 – 6)
‘Who would have believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
For he shot up right forth as a sapling, and as a root out of a dry ground; he had no form nor comeliness, that we should look upon him, nor beauty that we should delight in him.
He was despised, and forsaken of men, a man of pains, and acquainted with disease, and as one from whom men hide their face: he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Surely our diseases he did bear, and our pains he carried; whereas we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
But he was wounded because of our transgressions, he was crushed because of our iniquities: the chastisement of our welfare was upon him, and with his stripes we were healed.
All we like sheep did go astray, we turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath made to light on him the iniquity of us all.
IS IT JEWISH TO BELIEVE IN JESUS?
To some, the concept of a Jew believing in Yeshua seems to be a contradiction. The reason for this is that many people have a dichotomy set up in their minds. On the one hand, you have Jews and Judaism and on the other hand, Christians and Christianity.
You are either one or the other….so the thinking goes.
But this simple dichotomy is in reality not so simple. If we go back 2000 years we find Yeshua was a Jew living in a Jewish land among Jewish people. All the apostles were Jewish as well as the writers of the New Covenant and for many years this faith in Yeshua was strictly a Jewish one.
From the Book of Acts and other historical evidence, many believe that in the first century there were literally hundreds of thousands of Messianic Jews.* In addition, there were Messianic Synagogues scattered throughout the Roman Empire and beyond.** These first century Messianic Jews remained highly loyal to their land and their people.
Whether it was Jewish to believe in Yeshua was never an issue. Of course it was Jewish! What else could it be?
The big question back then was whether Yeshua had been sent for the Gentiles also. When God miraculously showed the Messianic Jews that he was the Messiah for both Jew and Gentile alike, then Gentiles from every nation began to pour into this Jewish faith.
Through the years as the numbers of Gentile believers increased, they began to predominate in this Messianic faith. With the passing on of the first Messianic Jews, the Jewish roots of the faith were eventually lost.
This “de-Judaizing” process continued until, in one of the greatest paradoxes in history, it became alien for a Jewish person to believe in Yeshua as his Messiah!
*Acts 2:41, 2: 47, 4:4, 6:7, 9:31, 21:20 ** James 1;1, 2:2
THE REAL ISSUE
Today we are seeking to put the Messiah back within His biblical and Jewish context. Messianic Judaism is a spiritual renaissance, a revival, a return to the faith that the Messianic Jews had in the first-century, unencumbered by the traditions of men. It is a return to a pure and simple faith based upon having a living, vibrant and personal relationship with the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob through the Messiah Yeshua.
The real issue we must recognize is not whether it is Jewish to believe in Yeshua, because the Jewishness of Yeshua is unquestionable historically.
The real issue at stake here is whether Yeshua is truly the Messiah or not. If He is, then it is the most Jewish thing in the world to believe in Him. If He is not the Messiah, then we should not follow Him.
There is only one way to find out and that is to go back into the Jewish Scriptures ourselves and study the Messianic prophecies.
According to the Jewish Scriptures, the Messiah was to come twice; the first time to suffer and die and the second time to usher in the Messianic era of peace on the earth.
Why did the Messiah have to die?
The Jewish prophet Isaiah answered this question when he said, “All we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned every one to his own way. And the Lord has laid upon Him (the Messiah) the sin of us all.” (Isaiah 53:6)
Without God there is no hope for mankind. It is obvious that man is separated from God when we view the ever-worsening situation in the world today. That is why He sent Yeshua, the Messiah, who came to deliver us from our sins and to bring us into a new life in Him.
For tens of thousands of us today, we know that we have found the Messiah who said, ”Do not think that I came to abolish the law or the prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.” (Matthew 5; 17)
We would like to encourage you to read and study the Jewish scriptures for yourself and find out if Yeshua is truly the One of whom the prophets spoke. Before you research the scriptures pray and ask the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to guide you and show you His truth.