I consider myself a ‘good Jewish’ boy. I am no saint, but, for a commodities trader, I am about as mild as they come. Up until this year, I never really gave my religion much thought. It has always been a part of who I was. My memories of childhood were steeped in Matzo ball soup and my grandmother reminding me to honor the sacred days on our calendar. Some of the rites feel silly to me in today’s day and age…but, if it is important to mom and grandma… Let’s just say…I chose my battles wisely.
I never challenged my beliefs until Uncle Adam died. Temple and religious things were kept neatly separated from my daily practices during the week. I was a different man on Shabbat than I was any other day of the week. I noticed that most of my Jewish friends were the same. I had to be honest with myself; I was a hypocrite. I wasn’t okay with that anymore. Uncle Adam’s Shiva was a new awakening in me.
As I sat at my Seder this year, I wondered where Uncle Adam was at that moment. Did he challenge what he believed and why? Or did he just believe what his mother told him to believe?
I love my mother, but I knew that my eternal fate was my personal responsibility. I could not choose tradition over a search for the truth.
Who was this good man Jesus, and why do the Christian’s give him so much credit? Why did he call himself the Son of God? Why did the Rabbi’s follow the Old Testament; but the New Testament had no value?
The Old Testament was filled with rules and rites of passage. The people would slaughter of a perfect lamb, confess their sin to a prophet, and this would ‘right’ the ‘wrong’ for sins. The shedding of innocent blood atoned for their sin, so they could be allowed into heaven.
When I looked at this in the context of my Hebrew classes from youth, Christ dying on the cross began to make sense to me. He was the perfect ‘lamb’; blameless, sinless. He was slaughtered to atone for MY sin. If I came to God and confessed, turned from and repented for my sins, Jesus was the ‘prophet’ that would plee on my behalf. “Jesus saith unto Him, I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father but by me.” John 14:6.
So why did my Rabbi say he was a ‘good man’ but not the Son of God? Pride, maybe? I guess no one wants to admit their bloodline killed the Messiah. Should we let pride take us to hell? “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
If Jesus died for my sins so I did not have to spend an eternity in hell, why would I not accept this gift? “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Rom 6:23