By Russell Moore - October 29, 2018
On the Jewish Sabbath this week, a white-nationalist terrorist killed 11 worshipers at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue in what is being called the deadliest attack on Jewish people in American history. Sadly, at a time when it seems as though every week brings more bloodshed and terror in this country, we should not let the news cycle move on without a sober reflection of what this attack means for us as Christians.
Such is especially true as we look at a world surging with resurgent “blood-and-soil” ethno-nationalism, much of it anti-Semitic in nature. As Christians, we should have a clear message of rejection of every kind of bigotry and hatred, but we should especially note what anti-Semitism means for people who are followers of Jesus. We should say clearly to anyone who would claim the name “Christian” the following truth: If you hate Jews, you hate Jesus.
Anti-Semitism is, by definition, a repudiation of Christianity as well as of Judaism. This ought to be obvious, but world history, even church history, shows us this is not the case. Christians reject anti-Semitism because we love Jesus.
I will often hear Christians say, “Remember that Jesus was Jewish.” That’s true enough, but the past tense makes it sound as though Jesus’ Jewishness were something he sloughed off at the resurrection. Jesus is alive now, enthroned in heaven. He is transfigured and glorified, yes, but he is still Jesus. This means he is still, and always will be, human. He is still, and always will be, the son of Mary. He is, and always will be, a Galilean. When Jesus appeared before Saul of Tarsus on the Road to Damascus, the resurrected Christ introduced himself as “Jesus of Nazareth” (Acts 22:8). Jesus is Jewish, present tense.
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