The recognition of the divinity and identity of Jesus Christ has divided most of Judaism and Christianity. Since the beginning of the first century church, Judaism has been divided into many denominations. Among them, there were the Pharisees who focused on Jewish laws and traditions; and others such as the Essenes Jews who would isolate themselves and retreat to the wilderness. Within the conservative Sadducees, there were many who did not believe in the immortality of the soul and the resurrection of the body and allied themselves with Greek philosophy in varying degrees. There were also some fanatics belonging to the so-called Insurgent Party who hoped to restore Israel to its former glory. No wonder many Jews at that time were disappointed when they saw the meek and humble Jesus.
More recently in the past few decades, Messianic Judaism has become a movement. The followers believe that the Lord Jesus is who the Prophet Isaiah had prophesied. But the stigma remains if a Jew does believe in Jesus. It means that he has betrayed the Jewish community and has joined the Gentile organization. Despite this and some other cultural obstacles, many Jews have accepted the Lord Jesus as their Lord and Savior throughout church history. It was especially evident at the end of the Six-day War in 1967 in Middle East when Jerusalem suddenly returned to the hands of the Jews after nearly 2,000 years of Gentile rule. Thousands of Jews at that time accepted the Lord Jesus as their Messiah. It is estimated that there are more than 350 Messianic Jewish synagogues in the world today, and dozens of them are in Israel.
Messianic Jewish churches retain the Jewish worship forms, festivals, songs and customs. Despite being Jews, they have faith in Jesus Christ and are proud of it. Therefore, we Christians should be happy for them and be supportive of the Jewish Messianic movement. Romans 10:10-13 (NIV84) says: “For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. 11 As the Scripture says, ‘Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.’ 12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile-- the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him,
13 for, ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’”
In the past two weeks, conflicts between Israel and Palestine have intensified. The Palestinians were upset with the Israeli authorities' forceful removal of dozens of Palestinian families living in East Jerusalem to make room to establish a colonial Jewish settlement in that area. More than 20 Israeli police officers and 300 Palestinians were injured. The confrontation has worsened when Israel military and the Islamic militant group Hamas launched missile attacks on each other, killing at least 20 people in the Gaza area. Brothers and sisters, let’s pray that the conflict between Israel and Palestine will cease and a peaceful solution can be found. May God have mercy on all of us. Amen!