Sunday, July 23, 2006

How can Jesus be the Messiah given all the bad things that have been done in his name?

Given the fact that Christians have tried to force conversions, used torture, incited pogroms and done all sorts of bad things on behalf of their faith, does this rule out Jesus as being the Messiah?

Of course he can still be the Messiah.

First, let us recognize that the truth of the message of Jesus does not rely on bad behavior of his followers. Those claims must stand and be tested on their own.

If a Christian does something bad, that is a bad thing. Even worse since it dishonors the name of the Messiah. But we must ask an important question: Is a bad act done by a Christian consistent or inconsistent with the teachings of Jesus?

Now, anyone who know anything about Jesus and the gospel writings should tell you the same thing: it is very much not consistent. Even those who do not believe in Jesus are familiar with "turn the other cheek."

And Paul echos those beliefs: Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. (Romans 12:14)

Now, many people who claim to follow Jesus do not follow Jesus. And just saying you are a believer in Jesus doesn't mean you are one. Y'shua said:
On that day many will say to me, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?' And then will I declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.' Matthew 7:22-23

Also, many things we deem religious conflicts aren't. Problems between the Protestant and Roman Catholic Irish aren't over papal infallibility. They are ethnic in nature.

When the church and the state were tied, not following the right religion or sect became tantamount to rebelling against the king or emperor. And that brought in a lot of people into the Christian church for social, political and, later-on, ethnic motivations. I can speak from my personal experience.

Being raised in a church or in a family that believes in Jesus doesn't make you a believer. Does sitting in a garage make you a car?

But let's put that aside for a second. How does this affect the claims of Jesus? The message of Y'shua tells us that we all have sin. Jeremiah says the heart is desperately wicked. Isaiah says all our righteousness is like filthy rags. We all have sinful natures, both believers and unbelievers.

Anything good can be twisted.

Paul was an Orthodox Jew (prior to that term being used). He persecuted believers of Y'shua in the name of traditional Judaism, before becoming seeing the Messiah and becoming an apostle.

I read the following on wikipedia:
During the famous Bar Kochba Rebellion of AD 135, Christians refused to fight, as a result of which, according to Justin Martyr, they were "commanded to be punished severely, if they did not deny Jesus as the Messiah and blaspheme him."

In pre-Islamic Yemen, a Jewish king called Dhu Nuwas came to power and persecuted Christians in his realm, and massacred Christian communities in Najran in about 524; apparently this was intended as retaliation for Christian Byzantine persecutions of the Jews. According to Muslim tradition, he was the person cursed in the Quran for burning believers alive (Quran 85:4-8.)

In the early sixth century, Khosrau II, King of Persia from 590 to 628, 'invaded Asia Minor and Syria at the head of a large army. The Jews joined the Persians in great numbers under the leadership of Benjamin of Tiberias, a man of immense wealth, by whom they were enlisted and armed. The Tiberian Jews, with those of Nazareth and the mountain cities of Galilee, marched on Jerusalem with the Persian division commanded by Shahrbaraz. Later they were joined by the Jews of southern Palestine; and supported by a band of Arabs, the united forces took Jerusalem by storm (July, 614). Ninety thousand Christians are said to have perished.

Does any of this mean traditional Judaism is not true? If you claim that Jesus isn't the Messiah because some of his followers (real or otherwise) did horrible things, you would have to say "yes." I would say "no."

The question of whether the message of Jesus is true or not has to be answered by looking to Jesus. The one who said "my yoke is easy and my burden is light." The one who told us to love our enemies.

May he have mercy on us for not living up to his standard. And none of us can live up to that standard. Which is why Y'shua gave up his life:
Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way;
and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
Isaiah 53

9 Comments:

Anonymous Moshe ben Avraham said...

Jewsih ideaology dictates we all can live up to our potential and that is all HaShem requires of us. Jewish ideaology does not teach we are incapable of reaching our highest spiritual level.

7/25/2006 03:23:00 PM  
Blogger geoffrobinson said...

So Moshe, are you saying that you are perfect?

7/25/2006 04:31:00 PM  
Anonymous Moshe ben Avraham said...

LOL. Nice sneaking try to manipulate my words. You know full well that is not what I meant. One can reach his highest spiritual level without being perfect. How does one define perfect anyway? Consider this: HaShem has made mistakes. Before you pass out lets look at Torah shall we. How many times did HaShem makea decree to destroy the Jewish people? Many. From the sin of the golden calf to the spies in the desert. These decrees are error in judgement on HaShem part as is later made clear when Moshe asked G-d what are you doing? If you destroy your chosen people all the nations of the world will believe thier dieties are more powerful then you. YOu saved the Jews from the Egyptians and then wish to destroy them? If not for Moshe's pleas and outreasoning of HaShem Jews would cease to exist. If HaShem can make mistakes and still be considered perfect, then humans can as well.

7/26/2006 03:54:00 PM  
Blogger Rich said...

That is definitely not a mainstream view of God.

7/26/2006 10:04:00 PM  
Blogger geoffrobinson said...

Oh, wow.

I would completely disagree with that. HaShem makes no mistakes. He has a plan for everything.

He knows the end from the beginning.

Now, I asked you if you are perfect, because the Torah says "Cursed be he who will not uphold the terms of this Teaching and observe them." (Dt. 27:26 JPS)

And if you aren't perfect, then there must have been something you didn't observe.

7/26/2006 11:09:00 PM  
Blogger Sultan Knish said...

Does the behavior of Christians impact Jesus' message?

Only if you claim that jesus is god. If jesus was just a man, then he bears no responsibility for what pagans made of him. if jesus however was a messiah and a diety, then he spawned a vast cult responsible for the deaths of tens of millions.

at the very least this invalidates his messiahship, since that's pretty much the opposite of bringing peace

7/27/2006 12:42:00 PM  
Anonymous Moshe ben Avraham said...

I agree it is not a mainstream view of G-d, but since when has Jewish ideaology been mainstream. We are, what, .1% of the world population. Jews will never be mainstream. My viewpoint is not technically orthodox, but they will agree that Moshe saved the Jews from HaShem's wrath.

7/27/2006 02:16:00 PM  
Blogger Rich said...

Knish wrote,

"If jesus was just a man, then he bears no responsibility for what pagans made of him. if jesus however was a messiah and a diety, then he spawned a vast cult responsible for the deaths of tens of millions."

Which is pretty much the argument an atheist would use - if God exists, he's responsible for all the evil in the world, including the Holocaust.

So Knish, why do you continue to believe in God?

7/27/2006 06:03:00 PM  
Blogger geoffrobinson said...

"Only if you claim that jesus is god. If jesus was just a man, then he bears no responsibility for what pagans made of him. if jesus however was a messiah and a diety, then he spawned a vast cult responsible for the deaths of tens of millions.

at the very least this invalidates his messiahship, since that's pretty much the opposite of bringing peace"

So since there was Jewish persecution of Jewish believers in Jesus, is Judaism invalid since it was spawned by God?

Let me guess your response. They were acting inconsistently. So were those who claimed to be acting on behalf of Jesus. They weren't. They sinned greatly.

God will take care and judge those who have greatly sinned and blasphemed the name of His Messiah. Many were claiming to be His sheep who weren't His sheep.

But if the Lord were to wipe out all sin and evil and bring peace everywhere both you and I would be wiped out. Thank Him for His mercy.

The came to bring peace, first between us and God. Before that is established there cannot be peace between men.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that if you are complaining that the Messiah didn't wipe out all evil before he comes again, be careful what you ask for.

7/28/2006 08:20:00 AM  

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