Friday, April 23, 2004
Well worth a read. Thanks to Jim West for this.
But I can’t see Jesus as the Messiah we Jews are waiting for. And nor, as the Gospel accounts themselves make clear, could the disciples who knew him once he was executed. After the crucifixion, the disciples did not sit around calmly and reassure each other that all was going according to plan. They were instead understandably devastated. This was not the messianic plan. Nothing in Jewish teaching had suggested the execution of the Messiah. Not one of them was able to come up with the idea that this was all as it should be. It wasn’t. They had invested their faith in this man and he was now dead. And this is the fresh mystery at the heart of the Christian story – and one which raises no echoes or meaning for Jews. Something happened back then that first Easter that persuaded those disheartened followers that what they’d been expecting and waiting for, what they believed Jesus was about despite – or because of? – their years of living in his company and hearing his teachings - wasn’t the point after all. It was all entirely different to the way Jews had understood the idea of the messiah for centuries... and still do. And fair enough. But you’ll have to understand when we Jews look at the claims made about Jesus with incomprehension and remain true to our own tradition. After all, Jesus did.