Jesus and the question of divinity
The question of the divinity of Jesus has lately been discussed among Messianic Jews in Israel. Ray Pritz writes about this in this Bulletin. The question is of vital importance for our testimony about Jesus, whether this is given to Jews or Gentiles. It is a bad starting-point for reflections on this question that Jews should have bigger problems with this and for example the question of the virgin birth than we Gentiles. There are numerous examples of Christian theologians who dismiss the idea that Jesus is divine.
In this connection it is relevant to draw attention to the passage on Christology, which was formulated at LCWE's consultation in Pattaya 1980 by the group which worked with Jewish evangelism. This group later established itself as LCJE.
"In recent years, a number of Jewish authors have written books about Jesus stressing his humanity, admiring his character, and hailing him as a teacher within Israel. But as the apostles, those early Jewish witnesses to Jesus, have taught us, we affirm that Jesus is more than a mere man. The gospels testify that he is greater than the Temple, greater than Jonah and Solomon, and even Lord of the great David (Matthew 12:6, 12:42, 22:41-46, cf. 12:8 and 11:9). As he was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary, he is the unique Son of God. In his preaching and acts, he is Immanuel: God with us. In his atoning death and in his resurrection and ascension, he is our Suffering Servant and Lord. The early church therefore rightly proclaimed Jesus to be true man and true God, and early Jewish and Gentile believers addressed Jesus as Jews addressed God in the Old Testament. The change that has taken place among many Jews in their new understanding of Jesus of Nazareth should be appreciated by all Christians. However, bound as we are by the biblical witness, we call upon the church to ensure that we do not bring Jewish people to a Jesus who is less than the Jesus of the New Testament." (Christian Witness to the Jewish People, LCWE, Wheaton 1980:12-13).
In this issue there are also articles about a video campaign in Jerusalem in this spring and about evangelism on the internet. If Jesus is not divine, such initiatives are pointless.