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4.27.2007    |    Yeshua
Descent from the Cross by Marc ChagallMarc Chagall's images have always been special to me, especially because of the artist's affinity to biblical themes. I also shared, up to a point in my life, Chagall's secular Judaism.

When I came to accept Christ as Lord, at first I thought I had left Judaism behind. After several years as a Christian, however, I now recognize an essential truth: what we call Christianity is merely fulfilled Judaism. And that Christians who think that the Hebrew Scriptures are, somehow, not part of their faith, are quite mistaken.

What brought this to mind was an article in today's Wall Street Journal on Chagall's fascination with our fellow Jew, Yeshua of Nazareth. Greek translation: Jesus.

The article, appropriately titled "A Jewish Artist Haunted By the Face of Jesus" includes this discussion of an unusual Christian group and the author's appearance before the group to discuss the artist:
The topic of Chagall usually elicits a strong Jewish response -- reproductions of his works are ubiquitous in Jewish homes, images that seem to evoke shtetl life. But these people were members of an unusual local Christian congregation who referred to Jesus as Yeshua and who blew the shofar whenever a new family joined their church. They gave me an illustration that merged Jewish and Christian iconography. An explanation on the back presented some surprising symbology. The Torah scrolls were said to represent Jesus.
As a Jew who is a Christian, this is hardly a surprise. What it is, is simply a restatement of the opening of John's gospel. John 1:1 reads:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
The Torah is considered by believing Jews to be the Word; dictated by God to Moses at Sinai. No exegesis, just the literal word of God as written down by Moses.

To me, the Gospel of John is hard evidence of the very Jewish nature of what came to be called Christianity. John was a Jew, wrote as a Jew, and thought as a Jew. The Book of Revelation should attest to the transcendental nature of John's faith. As does the very first line of his gospel.

The Word is God; the Word is Torah. The Word is Jesus.

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About this site and the author

Welcome. My name is John Luke Rich, (very) struggling Christian. The focus here is Christianity in its many varieties, its fussing and feuding, how it impacts our lives and our society, with detours to consider it with other faiths (or lack thereof).

Call this blog my way of evangelizing on the internet.

Putting it differently, we're only here on this earth a short time. It's the rest of eternity that we should be most concerned about. Call it the care and feeding of our souls.

I was born Jewish, and born again in Christ Jesus over thirty years ago. First as a Roman Catholic; now a Calvinist by persuasion and a Baptist by denomination. But I'm hardly a poster boy for doctrinal rigidity.

I believe that Scripture is the rock on which all Christian churches must stand -- or sink if they are not so grounded. I believe that we are saved by faith, but hardly in a vacuum. That faith is a gift from God, through no agency on our part -- although we sometimes turn a deaf ear and choose to ignore God's knocking on the door.

To be Christian is to evangelize. Those who think it not their part to evangelize perhaps haven't truly understood what our Lord told us in Matthew 28. We must preach the Gospel as best we are able. Using words if necessary.

Though my faith waxes and wanes, it never seems to go away. Sometimes I wish it would, to give me some peace of mind. But then, Jesus never said that walking with Him was going to be easy...

Final note: I also blog as Jack Rich on cultural, political and other things over at Wrong Side of the Tracks

Thanks for stopping by.