Judaism and Christianity share the same roots, with Judaism dating further back to the years before Christ. Both religions believe in God, and that He is who He says He is: omnipotent, omniscient, loving, just, and merciful. Both faiths also posit that God is the creator and sustainer of the universe. In addition, Judaism and Christianity share the same Scriptures with the exclusion of the New Testament, which Jews reject.
How are Christianity and Judaism different?
The religions diverge regarding the identity of Messiah. Whereas Christianity claims that Jesus Christ is Messiah, those who follow Judaism do not think that Jesus was the One God sent to redeem His people. However, they do trust in God's promise to send the Messiah.
In addition, followers of Judaism do not believe that the promised Messiah will come to save the world from the burden of sin. Instead, they believe that the Messiah will be a man sent by God to restore the nation of Israel and bring peace to the world. This was, in fact, what the Jews in Jesus' day expected of Jesus. When Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey just a week before His crucifixion, they hailed Him as a military hero who would save them from Roman occupation. When they quickly learned that Jesus was not going to do this, they turned against Him, calling Him a blasphemer who erroneously claimed to be one with God, and demanded His crucifixion.
Even after Jesus was raised from the dead and appeared to His followers, many Jews refused to believe in the resurrection and claimed that Jesus' disciples had stolen His body as a way to deceive people into believing that Jesus had risen. Today, many Jews do acknowledge that Jesus was a great teacher and maybe even a prophet. But they hold to the belief that Jesus was nothing but a man, and certainly was not God Himself.
Christianity's foundation is built upon the personhood, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Christians believe that Jesus is one with God (John 1:1), and became man in order to restore the rift in God and man's relationship that occurred as a result of the fall (John 1:14). Christians rely on Jesus' death and resurrection as the only payment for the sin that separates man from God, and believe that only faith in Christ and His work can cleanse us from our sin (John 14:6).
In spite of the fact that Judaism does not accept the New Testament as God-inspired Scripture, there are many references to Jesus Christ in the Old Testament and a number of prophecies that He personally fulfilled. Isaiah 53, also called "The Suffering Servant," is a perfect description of the person of Jesus as well as His trials and crucifixion. Psalm 22:14–18 also describes Jesus' crucifixion in great detail: "I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it is melted within my breast; my strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to my jaws; you lay me in the dust of death. For dogs encompass me; a company of evildoers encircles me; they have pierced my hands and feet—I can count all my bones—they stare and gloat over me; they divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots."
It's important to note that not all Jews reject the truth of Jesus. There are many Jews who put their faith in Christ—the "Messianic Jews." In fact, the apostle Paul himself was a devout Jew who persecuted those who preached the gospel of Jesus Christ. But after a vision of Jesus, He became a Christian and preached the crucifixion and resurrection to thousands of people, Jews and Gentiles alike.
What do Jews believe? What is Judaism?
Why do most Jews reject Jesus as the Messiah?
As God's chosen people, are Jews automatically saved?
Why do the Jews no longer offer animal sacrifices? How do Jewish people today believe they can receive forgiveness from God?
Why should a Jewish person consider becoming a Christian?
Truth about Religion