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Why Is There Christianity If Jesus Was Jewish?

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Jesus was Jewish, so where did Christianity come from? Well, Christianity is a monotheistic religion that emerged during the 1st century AD. It is based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, whom Christians worship as the Son of God and Savior of the world.

Who Is Jesus?

Jesus was a Jew, as were his earliest followers. However, his life and teachings led to the development of Christianity, centered on beliefs about his divine nature and the purpose of his death.

Jesus was born and raised in a Jewish family in Nazareth, a town in Galilee. The Bible teaches that he was born of a virgin named Mary and conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus was raised by Mary and her husband, Joseph, to be a devout Jew. That means he studied the Torah, attended synagogue regularly, and observed the religion’s holy days.

Throughout his ministry, Jesus taught new ways to interpret and faithfully live out the Torah. Ultimately, he challenged many traditional Jewish teachings. Jesus also performed miracles in the name of God, which his followers interpreted as a sign that he was the promised savior, or Messiah. Those who practice Judaism do not believe that Jesus is the Messiah.

golden chains with crosses and star of David
(Photo: Unsplash/Wallace Chuck)

Christianity vs Judaism

Christianity emerged from Judaism, but it is a distinct religion with its own beliefs and practices.

The 1st-century founders of Christianity initially practiced Judaism based on the Old Testament, or the Jewish/Hebrew Bible. Over time, Christians organized writings by those who lived with and followed Jesus into the New Testament. The New Testament primarily informs their faith and practices. The Old and New Testaments are usually referred to as the Holy Bible.

Christianity also has a different view of salvation than Judaism. Christians believe that salvation is a gift from God that comes through faith in Jesus Christ. They believe that Jesus’ crucifixion by Roman authorities was a part of God’s plan to redeem the world. In their view, Jesus died on the cross to atone for humanity’s sins. Jesus’ followers, known as Christians, believe that he rose from the dead three days later.

Man Reading Torah
(Photo: Pexels/cottonbro studio)

Judaism, also a monotheistic religion, originated in the Middle East (modern Israel/Palestine) over 3,500 years ago. Those who practice Judaism believe that salvation is earned through good works and obedience to the Torah (the five Books of Moses). Judaism is based on the belief that the Jewish people are God’s chosen people and that they have a special covenant with him.

Why Is There Christianity?

There are several reasons why Christianity emerged as a separate religion from Judaism. But the most significant reason is that Jesus’ followers viewed him as divine — as God and the Son of God. That is a radical departure from Judaism, which led to obvious tension between Jesus and his followers and traditional Jews of that time.

Another major reason is that in the Christian framework, salvation is available to all by God’s grace and cannot be earned through any number of good works. s previously mentioned, Christianity teaches that salvation is through Jesus’ crucifixion. So, Jewish people who believe in Jesus, also Jewish, practice Christianity. Modern Jews who worship Jesus sometimes call themselves Messianic Jews. A


Despite these differences, Christianity and Judaism are closely related religions. They share many of the same beliefs and practices, such as the belief in one God, the importance of prayer and study, and the observance of religious holidays. They have shaped world history and various cultures and continue to play an essential role in the lives of billions of people worldwide.

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FM Editors
Faithfully Magazine is a fresh, bold and exciting news and culture publication that covers issues, conversations and events impacting Christian communities of color.


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