What about Jewish People In The Church?

“I love being in my Church, but sometimes I feel like people just don't 'get me'; do you know what I mean? Even my humour is 'wrong'.”
(Mrs S. a Messianic Believer who attends a Church in Norfolk, and spoke with CMJ staff at a conference we were exhibiting at.)

Being a Jewish Believer in Yeshua doesn’t make you less Jewish. Let’s put that out there from the offset. You are still Jewish. In accepting Yeshua as Messiah you are in no way losing or diluting your Jewish identity (despite what many Rabbi’s and others might claim), but rather the opposite is true - your Jewish identity is renewed, refined and strengthened. Jewish identity actually ‘comes alive’ for many Jewish people as they find faith in Jesus, for example, in his book, ‘Your Life as a Prize’, Rafael Perrodin writes, “In accepting Yeshua as Messiah, I came to recognise and accept my own Jewish heritage."

In accepting Yeshua as Messiah, I came to recognise and accept my own Jewish heritage.

That said, many of us can feel isolated in a Church which appears to be so full of people who either don’t trust us, or don’t understand us. This is where CMJ want to help you. We can offer you support as a Jewish person, by linking you up with other like-minded Messianic Believers who can encourage you. We would love to see Churches recognising the value of having Jewish people within their congregations, and would be happy to meet with the Church leader, or offer a talk to the wider Church body, as part of our education on the Jewish roots of the Christian Faith.

There are many Christians who have a genuine love for God's people, and would love to demonstrate this love, given the opportunity

There are many Christians who have a genuine love for God’s people, and would love to demonstrate this love, given the opportunity. It could be that many Christians haven’t really been around many Jewish people, to have gained insight into the Jewish culture, to the point where even our humour can be misunderstood. This is where allowing people into our lives will break down these misunderstandings and create genuine friendships within the Church. This involves a sense of vulnerability and openness, which can be quite a scary thing, and needs to be a two-way street. But isn’t this what Yeshua meant when He prayed "Just as You, Father, are in Me and I am in You, so also may they be one in Us, so the world may believe that You sent Me. The glory that You have given to Me I have given to them, that they may be one just as We are one— I in them and You in Me—that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me and loved them as You loved Me." (John 17:21-23 TLV) which Paul reiterates in his letter to the Ephesians, "For He is our shalom, the One who made the two into one and broke down the middle wall of separation. Within His flesh He made powerless the hostility" (Ephesians 2:14 TLV).

Did you know that the early Church was Jewish? When we started to join the early congregations, the Jewish Apostles and Church leaders didn’t expect us to conform to the Jewish traditions. A look at Acts 15 demonstrates the acceptance by Jewish Believers of the Gentile Believers who God was adding to their number daily.

Did you know that it is actually forbidden by the Rabbis for Jewish people to enter a Church building?

Did you know that it is actually forbidden by the Rabbis for Jewish people to enter a Church building? So for a Jewish person to take that step alone is often a major one. For that same person to then make the decision to accept Jesus as the Messiah can lead to ostracisation from their family and Jewish community. This is when a Jewish member of your Church will need to know that the love we talk about will be actually demonstrated to them. For years, it was expected for a Jewish person to renounce their Jewish heritage when they became a Believer; but now, we acknowledge them as Jewish people, accepting who they are, loving them as God loves us and allowing them the freedom to explore their Jewish identity within the body of Christ. Especially when you hear that they had been told, "You can’t be Jewish and a Believer in Jesus".

There needs to be genuine vulnerability and openness within our congregations, as we try to gain insight and understanding into each other’s cultures. But isn’t this what Jesus meant when He prayed "Just as You, Father, are in Me and I am in You, so also may they be one in Us, so the world may believe that You sent Me. The glory that You have given to Me I have given to them, that they may be one just as We are one— I in them and You in Me—that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me and loved them as You loved Me." (John 17:21-23 TLV), which Paul later reiterates in his letter to the Ephesians, "For He is our shalom, the One who made the two into one and broke down the middle wall of separation. Within His flesh He made powerless the hostility" (Ephesians 2:14 TLV).

There is something special about the Jewish people among the Body of Christ.

Further Reading