I've talked to a lot of very devout and well educated Jewish people over the years. Some have contacted me, attempting to dissuade me of my faith in the risen, New Testament Messiah. Their arguments can be very convincing. There are a lot of problems with the Christian rendering of that very Jewish narrative. A Jew who understands Judaism can see right through many of the most common assertions of Jesus' legitimacy.
And, the truth is, Judaism just makes so much more sense. The Christian assertion of salvation by grace through faith is a Jewish notion. Yet, the Christian condemns the Jewish people for their "legalism", and,without hesitation, turns and condemns the "sinner" for his sin? If you don't see hypocrisy written all over that, then you've certainly deceived yourself.
One scholar has this hypothesis.
He asked me, "Did you know that fiction was a much more popular use of ancient papyrus than annals of history? Men wrote books to entertain the wealthy, just as they do today. Just as they always have." He said, "If Jesus were really the Messiah of the Bible, His followers would be Jewish. And if they were following Him, they would be following Judaism." He concluded, "While the New Testament has a lot of very Jewish ideas, it was likely written by a gentile; because all of the people who study it are gentile. And even Jews who are convinced of its accuracy become gentile. This is not what we should expect to happen, if the author were truly Jewish, as the text lays claim that he was. However, if the author were a gentile, describing a fictitious course of events set in Israel, it is exactly what we should expect."
If my faith in the Messiah were simply a conscious decision to believe or not to believe, if it were a matter of choice (like deciding a political party to align with, or pursuing an occupation) then this wold have been all that it would take. His logic is sound. His evidence is overwhelming. I hung up the phone and said to him, "This is worth considering."
That week, the Torah reading we were scheduled to read was Ki Tisa. It is near the end of the book of Exodus, when Moses goes to the mountain, receives the Ten Commandments and returns only to find the people worshiping the golden calf.
Moses does the most amazing, inexplicable thing, in Judaism. He breaks the recorded Word of God into pieces.
In all of the Old Testament, this is the most profoundly Christian idea ever delivered.
If this were a Jewish Text, Moses would have called the elders together and demonstrated the road to repentance and systematically given the people of direction of obedience. He would have called for sacrifice. He would have torn his clothes and grieved, just like the people did when they found the Torah scrolls abandoned in the Temple ruins during the reign of Josiah(2nd Kings 22). But, that's not what he did. Moses smashed the Word of God, before the people who deserved judgment.
What is inconceivable to the Jewish mind, that God would sacrifice Himself in atonement for the people, is most clearly demonstrated in one of the most famous Jewish stories of all time. Could it just as easily be that the Old Testament is a Christian story written by a Jew? It makes just as much sense. But rather than cancelling each other out, I choose to believe that both Testaments stand as the inspired Word of God.
It would be easy to abandon my faith in the Messiah. It is a perfectly reasonable direction to take. But my faith is not simply based upon the evidences that are laid out before me. My faith consists of daily walking in a relationship with the God and Creator of all things. He is not simply a decision. He is my Lord, my Savior and my Friend.
And, to be honest, it would be easier for me to abandon anything: (anything and everything that I love and hold dear in this world), it would be easier for me to abandon any of that than it would be to abandon Him.