The Jesus most people know is fake. The Jesus most people know is religious: The Jesus of pews, liturgies, and stained-glass windows, of rituals, doxologies, holy days, and once-a-week services. That Jesus never existed.
The real Jesus was not religious. In fact, the biggest problem He had was with religious people: Those who saw holiness as a matter of tradition and ritual rather than of the heart. The real Jesus never asked his disciples to be religious, but instead to open their lives and hearts to the real power of the living God.
The real Jesus is still that way. The once-a-week Jesus is a counterfeit. Jesus was never once a week. Nor could His presence be confined to the four walls of a church or synagogue. He is either present seven days a week, outside of church walls, in ones everyday daily life, or He is not present in ones life at all.
THE HISTORICAL JESUS
The scholars quest for the historical Jesus is misdirected. The historical Jesus is a fake as well. Not that Jesus did not exist in history. He existed in history as much as do the scholars who search for Him. His feet walked the first-century roads of the Judean wilderness, His hands touched the welts and sores of the first-century wandering lepers, and His body was scourged by first-century Roman soldiers.
But the Jesus who lived 2,000 years ago is not the real Jesus. The real Jesus is not the Jesus of the past but the Jesus of the now. To his 12 disciples and to those who truly knew Him, He was never the Jesus of the “then.” Even then, He was the Jesus of the “now.” And that never changed. For He said: “I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” The real Jesus still walks the Earth, still touches the needy, still heals and makes whole, still works His miracles, and still transforms the lives of all those who truly receive Him. Those who truly know Him, know Him no other way. Because anything else is just history, not the real Jesus.
THE NICE JESUS
Many people see Jesus as a good teacher, a nice man, an enlightened leader, a righteous prophet, a man who taught great truths, or a spiritual guide to help one live a successful life. This Jesus is a phony also. He never existed. The real Jesus came as Lord of all, the God of heaven come down to give life. One cannot simply call Him a good or nice man. He did not come to be nice. He came to change lives: Period.
THE EASY JESUS
Among the most popular of the Jesus versions is the easy Jesus. This is the one you fit into your life and around your schedule and plans, the one you call upon when you are in trouble or need a favor, the one you add to your life so you can feel better about yourself. But this one too is a fraud. The real Jesus is neither comfortable nor convenient. And those who try to fit Him into their lives can never know Him, since the only way to know the real Jesus is to know Him as Lord: Lord of every part of your life. This means you conform your life to His. You follow Him. You seek His will above your own. For if He is not Lord of all, He is not Lord at all. You don’t fit Jesus into your life-you fit your life into Jesus.
THE NON-JEWISH JESUS
For almost 2,000 years, the world has known a non-Jewish Jesus, a Jesus for which a Jewish person must sacrifice his or her Jewishness or else be forced to reject Him. This Jesus never existed either. The real Jesus is as Jewish as Manischewitz kosher-for-Passover egg matzoth. He was born in Bethlehem, according to the Hebrew prophet Micah (5:2), to a Jewish mother who was never called Mary, but Miriam. He was a rabbi who observed Passover, Yom Kippur, Hanukkah, and all the holy days of Israel. He died in the Jewish city of Jerusalem as the Sacrificial Lamb, according to the prophecy of Isaiah 53. The fact that He was rejected by His own and became a Light to the Gentiles was even foretold of the Jewish Messiah by the Hebrew prophets.
The real Jesus was never called Jesus, His real name was Yeshua, which means “God is Salvation” in Hebrew. Nor was His last name ever Christ. Christ is simply a Greek-English version of the Hebrew word Mashiack: The long awaited Jewish Messiah. And the word Christian is simply a Greek way of saying “follower of the Messiah,” and what could be more Jewish than that.
The first believers in Jesus were not called Catholic or Protestant, Orthodox, or Baptist. They were Jews who believed in their Messiah, which seemed to be the most Jewish of all possible beliefs. It was these Jewish believers who, from the holy city of Jerusalem, gave to the world the faith that would later be known as Christianity. So, from the Pygmy of Africa to the Eskimo of the Arctic Circle, it remains a Jewish faith. As the rabbi from Tarsus, Shaul (known to the world as St. Paul), also said: “…the Gospel is the power of God for salvation to the Jew first and also to the Gentile.” So no matter whether one is for or against Him, the real Jesus Christ–or rather the real Yeshua the Messiah, remains strictly kosher.
Therefore anyone who claims to love Jesus, but does not share a love for the Jewish people does not know the real Jesus. One cannot profess to love the King of the Jews, and then withhold that love from the people to whom He is king. The Bible records that Jesus wept out of compassion for His people. One cannot claim to know His heart if one cannot do the same. According to the New Testament, a true Christian is one who has become an adopted child of Abraham, a citizen of the commonwealth of Israel. A true Christian is one who has received salvation, new birth, and a heritage from the children of Israel and who, in turn, blesses them back
By the same token people ask, “Is it possible for a Jew to believe in Jesus and still be Jewish?” The real Jesus came as the Jewish Messiah. There is no way around it. If Jesus is not Messiah for the Jews, then He is Messiah for no one. But conversely if He is the Messiah, then the question is not,
“Can a Jew still believe in Jesus and still be Jewish?” but rather, “Can a Jew not believe in Jesus and still be Jewish?” For if He is the Messiah for anyone – then He must first and foremost be Messiah for the Jewish people. Today, after two thousand years Jewish people are embracing Jesus as the
Jewish Messiah in greater numbers than at any other time since that of the apostles. At the same time Christians and churches of all backgrounds are rediscovering the long lost Jewishness of Jesus. The two, Jew and Gentile, are together again worshiping the Lord with the original richness of the Jewish roots of Christianity, in Messianic congregations and fellowships across the world, just as in the beginning. Its not only possible…It is happening.
THE FINAL IMPOSTER
The last and most fake of all impostors is the Jesus who does not totally and absolutely change your life. This is the one who neither requires nor causes any real transformation in the lives of those who claim to know Him. But the real Jesus did not come so that your life would remain the same.
The real Jesus is the one who said the words, “You must be born again.” He never got wrapped up in religion. But He did speak of a new birth, a total surrender, a total new beginning, and a total change of heart and life. IF your life has not been totally and absolutely changed, you do not know Jesus or, at least, not the real one. And a Jesus who is not real will never be able to make a real difference in any life. So do not be fooled on this one. Seek the real Jesus for yourself. As it is written, “Then I will be found by you, when you search for Me with all your heart.” He is the real thing. And He came to give you something real: life, real life. Everything else is just a pale imitation.
Only be very strong and of good courage.