But What About the Resurrection?
Robert Hutchinson’s article, “What the Rabbi Taught Me About Jesus” [Sept. 13], is wonderful. Jacob Neusner’s book gives Christians needed insight into the difficulties encountered by Jewish friends as they consider the claims of Jesus. Hutchinson was deeply blessed by his encounter with this remarkable scholar.
I read Neusner’s book and wondered about his evasion of questions concerning Jesus’ resurrection. Then I realized he was limiting himself to writing about his reaction had he actually been present at some of Jesus’ teaching sessions, which took place before his crucifixion. Surely, though, he must also have wondered how he would have reacted to news of the events recorded in the last chapter of Matthew.
One cannot read the book without being filled with admiration for this esteemed Jewish scholar, and with gratitude for his having written it. I found myself longing for the opportunity just to visit with him as he, in his imagination, had talked with Jesus. My first question would have been, “Yes, Dr. Neusner, but what about the resurrection?”
Hutchinson misses some major gaps in Neusner’s “debate with Jesus.” While wanting to ask Jesus if he thinks he’s God, Neusner misses Jesus’ clear announcement of his Godhood in John 6; 8; 11; and 14. Isaiah prophesied the Messiah would be called “Mighty God, everlasting Father” (Isa. 9:6). Even in Matthew’s gospel (9:2) we read of Jesus assuming, as God, the authority to forgive sin.
Hutchinson doesn’t reveal that Jesus constantly connected Jesus’ “new” doctrine with the Jewish Scriptures. Nor should Christianity’s spread to non-Jews be a surprise, since Isaiah prophesied that the Messiah would be “a light to the Gentiles” ...1
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