Jesus was a Jew, born in the tribe of Judah (Luke 3:30). In a spiritual sense, Christians count Abraham, the father of the Jewish people, as their ancestor, too. We read in Galatians 3:7–9, "Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, 'In you shall all the nations be blessed.' So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith."
Why aren't Christians Jewish? Since Jesus was a Jew, why don't Christians follow Judaism?
However, because Jesus fulfilled all the law and all the prophets, the Jewish covenant was superseded by Him. The covenant God made with the Hebrews was made with Moses and the nation of Israel at Mount Sinai. We can read about it in the Old Testament book of Exodus. God had expectations of His people, and of Himself. Christians do not follow Judaism because Jesus fulfilled the Mosaic covenant.
From the beginning, God had a plan to establish a new covenant with all people (Genesis 3:15). He speaks of it throughout the Old Testament, sometimes with subtlety, sometimes plainly, as in Jeremiah 31:31–34:
"Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the LORD. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more."
The writer of Hebrews speaks directly about Jeremiah's prophesy, quoting it, then makes it plain that the new covenant under Jesus replaces the earlier one. Hebrews 8:13 says, "In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away."
The apostle Paul was assigned to take the gospel to non-Jewish people. He wrote, "and when James and Cephas and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given to me, they gave the right hand of fellowship to Barnabas and me, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised" (Galatians 2:9).
In fact, Peter, here called Cephas, was also called to witness to Gentiles, to tell them about Jesus and the saving grace He brought. Read a remarkable story in Acts 10 about Peter and Cornelius, two men who didn't know each other who were brought together because of a pair of dreams. The results are historic and staggering!
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