Thursday, March 19, 2009

On not misunderstanding Judaism: What Kind of a Messiah are They Waiting For

When Christians say this "they're waiting for their Messiah" I get the feeling that Christians think that Jews are looking for someone to do pretty much the same thing Christians claim Jesus does for us.

Evangelical Christians often use the expression "He paid the penalty for our sins" to describe what Jesus does for us. Amongst Jews, there is debate as to whether they are even looking for an individual Messiah, (as opposed to a Messianic Age), and if they are, I seriously doubt that they are looking for a Messiah to pay the penalty for our sins and replace the Jewish sacrificial system. I'm not saying that that kind of Suffering Servant isn't foreshadowed in the Hebrew Scriptures, but I do think that Christians and Jews have different Messiah-concepts. Just because they use the same word doesn't mean they have the same things in mind.

I am supplying a link to the Wikipedia entry on the Messianic Age.


Anonymous said...

My Jewish friend told me they're not waiting for the messiah of Isaiah 53 anymore, that that one came already. If he interprets 53 as referring to the country of Israel, I suppose then that they're not waiting for a person.

Ilíon said...

When (some) Jews get on their high-horse about how we Gentiles don't at all understand what they're expecting, it helps to know about Shabbetai Tzevi

Steven Carr said...

What Messiah was the woman in John 4 waiting for?

A Messiah like Jesus?

Anonymous said...

Outwardly, Christianity and Judaism seems different ... but between "jewish sacrificial system" and "jesus [willingly] paid the price for our sins", I don't see such a difference.

God demands blood; it seems the Agni is either willing or numerous ... pretty academic differences with the "barbaric" tribes' rituals & general mythology of Blood to replenish the Earth throughout history, isn't it ?

For the Messiah part, Islam's books seem to have the same general lines of throught (with an interesting depiction of the Antichrst in the Haddith ...)

Ilíon said...

Anonymous: "Outwardly, Christianity and Judaism seems different ... but between "jewish sacrificial system" and "jesus [willingly] paid the price for our sins", I don't see such a difference."

How could it be otherwise?

Anonymous: "God demands blood; ..."

No, silly mouse, God demands justice -- for, God is justice. Fortunately for us, God is also mercy.

"The wage of sin is death" precisely for the same reason that "virtue is its own reward."

*WE* can can seldom achieve both justice and mercy -- in fact, our attempts at mercy are frequently unjust and serve mostly to increase injustice. Fortunately for us, God is not so limited.