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What was the religion of Jesus?

Did Jesus ever have a Christmas tree, or go to church on Sunday? Did He ever denigrate the Law of Moses and tell people to stop keeping its precepts and commands? Did Jesus ever abolish the Ten Commandments, and change the Sabbath to Sunday? Did He ever eat pork and shellfish?

The answer is no, He did not.

Jesus- whose name was Yeshua- was a Jew. He not only was a Jew, crucified as the King of the Jews- but is a Jew, and will return as a Jew: the Lion of the Tribe of Judah. All His days he practiced Judaism, kept the seventh day Sabbath in the synagogue, and kept all of the Jewish Biblical Holy days, and even the festival of Hannuka (John 10:22). In all His teachings he never suggested creating another religion.

Most writers of the New Testament and all of the apostles of Yeshua were Jews, and did as their Rabbi did by example, practicing Judaism. Peter (Shimon), chief of the apostles, when shown a vision of unclean animals, said that no unkosher food had ever passed his lips. Then he himself interpreted the vision to have nothing to do with food, but of bringing the Gospel to the Gentles. Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles, kept the Torah, and even sacrificed in the temple in Jerusalem. When accused of teaching others to not keep the Law, James (Jacob) replied, Then everyone will know there is no truth in these reports about you, but that you yourself are living in obedience to the law”(acts 21:24), and he described himself only thus: “I am a Jew” (Acts 21:39). When in Ephesus Paul declared that he must return to Jerusalem to keep the coming Biblical festival (Acts 18:21), probably Shavuot (Pentecost). And in Rome he declared to his Jewish brethren there, “I have done nothing against our people or the customs of our fathers.”

At the Jerusalem council, when the apostles discussed the question of whether the Gentiles who had come to the Messiah must keep the Torah, it was declared “to Paul, “You see, brother, how many thousands of Jews have believed, and all of them are zealous for the Law.” (Acts 21:20). And Paul told the Gentile Christians in Rome that they are grafted into the olive tree of Israel through the Messiah (Romans 11). At the same time it was decided that Gentiles could learn the Torah in the synagogues in their cities, though not obliged to be circumcised (Acts 15:19-21.

It was Jesus who told us, “For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:18-20).

Though Christianity indeed practices the rite of communion, it was instituted by the Messiah as part of the Passover meal, a central holy day of the religion of Judaism, which in fact was the religion of Jesus.

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Elhanan ben-Avraham
Elhanan ben-Avraham, born in 1945, is a professional artist, poet, writer and father of two, grandfather of four, living in Israel since 1979. He has served in the IDF, taught the Bible internationally, published two illustrated books of poetry, and painted two large Biblical murals in public buildings in Jerusalem, among many other works. He and his wife live in a quiet village in the Mountains of Judah.

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