For over 2,000 years the profound teachings of Jesus have captivated millions. Most Christians identify the teacher from Nazareth as the founder of Christianity, and ultimately of a new religion. However, was it Jesus' intention to create a separate faith apart from the Judaic faith of his own Jewish people? From a spiritual basis, this seems to be a question worth examining.
A majority of Christians have an understanding that their Christian faith is indeed counter to that of Judaism. One reason for this understanding is the use of the Greek originating word 'Christian' as opposed to 'Jew.' Separate holidays have also convinced Christians that they share no part in the very faith Jesus was raised into. The greatest divider for Christians however is the fact that Jews do not accept Jesus as the Messiah or Son of God. This has even led to antisemitism amongst certain Christians, most notably, the protestant reformation leader Martin Luther according to his 1543 work entitled, On the Jews and Their Lies.
The Jewish community also sees what is known as Christianity to be of a foreign faith. Some will note that Jesus invented it for the Gentiles (Non Jews) or that his apostle Paul created it. Although Jesus is viewed as indeed being Jewish by other Jews, they do not view his followers as such. In fact, within the Talmud, a sacred book to most Jews, Christians are referred to as ‘minim’ which translates to ‘heretics.’ According to the Associated Press in a 2008 article, young orthodox Jews went door to door in Jerusalem collecting copies of the New Testament. Afterwards, a number of copies were burned in opposition to its teachings.
See the AP article here:
So was Christianity meant to be distinguished from Judaism? The word ‘Christ’ appears to predate Jesus' birth and was accepted by the very Jews who reject him and his followers for the very title. According to the Greek Septuagint, the oldest translation of the Old Testament into the Greek language, no differences seem to exist. In the ninth chapter of the book of Daniel, the Septuagint translates the word ‘Christ.’ The chapter refers to a leader who would arrive, be killed and yet not be present even after death. The Greek word ‘Christ’ is the equivalent to the Hebrew word ‘Messiah.’ With this in mind, a Christian is one who simply follows the Messiah. Wasn't following the Messiah a Jewish concept in the first place?