Jesus and the apostles never denied their Jewishness.
What is the first verse of the New Testament? I know it is a strange question. One that I have asked many Christians. Do not feel embarrassed a startlingly large number of Christians don’t know.
Matthew 1:1 (NKJV) reads,
“The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of…”
At this point you are probably thinking “the Son of God”. Or perhaps “the Son of Mary and Joseph.”
But the gospel writer wanted to draw our attention, and the attention of all readers, to Jesus’ Jewish roots,
“the Son of David, the Son of Abraham”
First we need to acknowledge that David was not the literal son of Abraham. The expression ‘son of’ means ‘descended from’. So why is Abraham referenced? Because this is the beginning of God’s covenant with Abraham. “through your seed all the nations of the world will be blessed.” Genesis 12.
Why David? With David God is established a kingdom.
“And your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you. Your throne shall be established forever.” 2 Samuel 7:16
Jesus could not have come into this world without the covenants with the Jewish people.
As we see in John 4:22,
“You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews.”
Jesus was born to Jewish parents, and that lineage was very important to the gospel writers. The first chapter of the New Testament goes into a great deal of detail into his Jewish ancestry because it is that ancestry that directly justified His promise of salvation. By linking Jesus so closely to the covenants God is saying in effect that God will care for the gentiles as he continues to care for the Jewish people.
We know that Jesus was circumcised in accordance with the Mosaic law. We know that Jesus had His Bar Mitzvah in His thirteenth year. We know that Jesus wore a kippah and the prayer shawl. We know that Jesus was called “Rabbi”
This isn’t incidental. Jesus’s ethnicity and His continuation of the covenants still matters to us as Christians today. So many people have been influenced by replacement theology that sees the Jews’ relationship with God as being in the past tense. But for myself and thankfully for so many other Christians around the world we have a solid foundation upon which to base our faith. That Foundation is the jewishness of our Messiah who has given us salvation.
Even Jesus’ miracles only make sense in a Jewish context.
When the woman with an issue of blood came to Jesus we read she reached for the “hem of His garment” and knew that she would be healed. But that hem had a meaning, it was commanded by God that Jewish men wear tassles,
Numbers 15:38–39 (NKJV): “Speak to the children of Israel: Tell them to make tassels on the corners of their garments throughout their generations, and to put a blue thread in the tassels of the corners. And you shall have the tassel, that you may look upon it and remember all the commandments of the LORD and do them, and that you may not follow the harlotry to which your own heart and your own eyes are inclined”
Let us remember the Biblical warning in Romans should we forget our faith is rooted in Jesus the Jew,
“Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off.”
We as Christians must remember the root, the Jewish root of our faith, and our rootedness into the tree with the Jewish branches. Only then I believe can we have a complete understanding of God’s plan for us and the world!