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Did Yeshua Intend to Start a New Religion?


If Yeshua (Jesus) intended to create a new religion, he went about it all wrong. He aroused the suspicion, and then the hostility, of the religious establishment. He picked an oddball assortment of disciples, deliberately allowed himself to fall into harm’s way, left no writings of his own (an essential if you ever want to start your own religion!), and after making a good start, generally resisted performing further signs and wonders that were convincing the crowds to follow him.

Yeshua’s key message was not revolutionary, but simply the cry of the prophets before him: “Make teshuvah [repent], for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!” (Matthew 4:17). His apparent aims were parochial “I have only come to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matthew 15:24). His followers generally had no idea of his Messianic claims, and when they did begin to figure things out, their subsequent actions proved they just didn’t quite ‘get’ it.

Nevertheless, it is indisputable: Out of Yeshua’s teachings and life, a new religion was born.

Christianity and Judaism are indeed different religions. Judaism the mother, Christianity a child. Is this what Yeshua intended? Did Yeshua intend to start Christianity? The witness of those who heard him teach, and of those who taught his teachings and concerning his significance to the world, is also conclusive.

No, Yeshua did not intend to start a new religion. Yeshua intended to bring people to God, the God of Israel. He intended to draw ‘all peoples’ to himself (John 12:32). John Lennon wistfully sang ‘Imagine’ there’s no religion. Was Yeshua all that more enamoured with it himself? What really matters is that we make teshuvah, turn to God, and lift HIM up.

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4 Responses

  1. Daniel

    Do you accept the Gospel of John and the letters of Paul
    as scripture.

    • Um… is that a loaded question? I do.

    • Bang, bang. Hey’re you’re not dead! Yep, loaded my
      question was.

      Two of your statements:

      Jesus “left no writings of his own (an essential if you
      ever want to start your own religion!).”

      If you believe that the NT is a faithful rendition of
      what Jesus did and said, and what He wanted the NT
      to say, then Jesus did indeed start many new things.
      For one, “8 by grace you have been saved (V)through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Eph 2:8-9).

      You say:
      “His apparent aims were parochial “I have only come to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matthew 15:24)”

      and

      “No, Yeshua did not intend to start a new religion. Yeshua intended to bring people to God, the God of Israel. He intended to draw ‘all peoples’ to himself (John 12:32). John Lennon wistfully sang ‘Imagine’ there’s no religion. Was Yeshua all that more enamoured with it himself? What really matters is that we make teshuvah, turn to God, and lift HIM up.”

      The parallel (and more fleshed out) passage of
      John 12:32 is:

      John 17:
      19″For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth.

      20″I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word;

      21that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.

      You say: “What really matters is that we make teshuvah, turn to God, and lift HIM up.”

      Yes that does matter very much. But that – works – is
      not the heart of the New Covenant (as it was the heart of the
      Old Covenant).

      The New Covenant is spelled out in Eph 1 and 2.
      Works remain important, but as the fruit of the grace
      and faith that God grants to us. This is not what
      Judaism teaches.

  2. Shalom!!

    You wrote: “No, Yeshua did not intend to start a new religion. Yeshua intended to bring people to God, the God of Israel. He intended to draw ‘all peoples’ to himself (John 12:32). ”

    I want to comment on what you wrote..

    I want to compare it with who the Messiah is prophecied to be. It is important to know, so that one can find out what the historical Messiah taught.

    Let us study Tan’’kh (which Christians call the “OT”) to see what it teaches about the Messiah.

    Yeshayahu [”Isaiah”] 9:5: [Translation in accordance with etymology – science about the origins and meanings of words; and the semicolon is placed according to the cantillation marks which the Hebrew texts require]:

    (wa-yiqrâ shemo Pëlë yoeitz Eil Jibor; avi-ad sar- shâlom; ”and he called his name ‘Wonder,’ a counselor of Eil Jibor; My Father is until [i.e. forever], a minister of peace”)

    The Creator does not change – Malakhi 3:6, Tehilim [”Psalms”] 89:35. The meaning of this passage from the year 720 b.c.e cannot have changed.

    For more than eight centuries after that Yeshayahu proclaimed this prophecy, the Messianic interpretations remained strictly within the restrictions of Torah– a vision of a deadly human king patterned after king Khizqiyah [“Hiskiah”] [which the prophecy partly was about] – who no one considered to be a “godly man-saviour”!

    We can learn from this that Yehoshua – the Messiah – would be a human, not divine. And thus, the historical Yehoshua – if he was the Messiah – he drew people to the Father, not to himself.

    Following his teachings, leads oneself into Torah-observance; and into an immensely meaningful relationship with the Creator.

    I hope this information helps!

    Anders Branderud

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