Christmas And The Modern Jew

During the sacred seasons of the year, whether Christmas, Good Friday and Easter, or the Hebrew Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement), the question of the Christian witness to the Jew inevitably comes to special focus. The current articles in CHRISTIANITY TODAY recognize the awesome implications of the claim that Jesus of Nazareth is the unique incarnation of the living God. So extraordinary is this claim in its involvement of the whole race that the Christian dare not muffle its pronouncement, nor dare the Hebrew ignore it. It is as impossible for the Christian missionary to hide the Light of the World in a Gentile cellar as it is for the spiritually-concerned Jew to evade the question of the promised Messiah.

Yet in our era the Christian witness often seems to lack both good missionary strategy toward the Jew and a sensitivity to his situation in life. However compelling they may be, evidences of Jesus’ Messiahship are not necessarily the best point of contact with the twentieth-century Hebrew. He sometimes wonders why, since New Testament times, Christians so often have treated the Jews so much like the Jews treated the Old Testament Canaanites and other Palestinian pagans (since the Hebrews then considered themselves under divine command, whereas Christians profess devotion to Jesus Christ, who taught that love fulfills the commandments and who required the love of enemy and neighbor alike). The long story of persecution of the Jew in the so-called Christian West has only too often dropped a silencing curtain over the Christian witness.

In the twentieth century, however, the Jew is increasingly aware that not all who call Christ Lord need really be identified with his Kingdom, any more than all who ...

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