JEWISH ROOTS OF CHRISTIANITY
Two percent of the U.S. population—a total of six million people—are adopted. Many adopted children are searching for their roots today and the experience is an amazing life adventure. One of the main reasons adopted people search for their biological parents is for medical purposes. Knowing the health history of your parents and siblings can be of critical importance if you desire to ensure better health. If you know Jesus as your Savior you have been adopted into His family. Paul the Apostle tells us in Romans 8:15-17: “you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba Father!’ The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ.” As an adopted child in the family of Jesus, it’s important for your spiritual growth and health that you discover the spiritual heritage of the family you have been adopted into. The question is, “what is the starting point to this amazing life adventure?”
Actually, the starting point is a person and His name is Jesus! Jesus is the doorway to your spiritual roots. Think about it: How did you meet God the Father? You were introduced to Him by His Son, Jesus who said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). How did you meet the Holy Spirit? You were introduced to Him by Jesus who said, “But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you” (John 16:7). So, if it was Jesus who introduced you to the Father and the Spirit then you can Trust Jesus to be the door that opens up your introduction to the rest of your family as well. Jesus said in Revelation 22:13: “I am the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” So, if you desire to find your beginnings—the roots of your faith—you will only find them through Jesus.
As a Christian you have been born into the family of God. When did your family first come into being? Do your spiritual family roots start at the birth Jesus or do they grow even deeper in the soil of history? Matthew 1:1 states, “The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.” Matthew is showing his readers that the roots of Jesus run deep. He traces His lineage all the way back to the father of the Jewish faith, Abraham. He also connects Him to the kingly line of the Jewish king, David whose throne the prophets proclaimed would one day be graced with the Messiah. Matthew traces the genealogy of Jesus to the patriarchs of the Jewish faith, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Jacob’s son Judah. It was through the line of Judah that Jesus descended. This is why Revelation 5:5 declares Jesus to be “the Lion of the tribe of Judah.” What’s amazing about all of this is that you are a joint-heir with Jesus of all the blessings that come from His family. Because you are connected to Jesus you have a rich heritage. Your roots run deep.
Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah, David? What do all of these Old Testament saints have to do with me? Much in every way. The writers of the New Testament spend a great deal of time unpacking the supernatural connection Jesus has made between you and the roots of His family. Let’s look at just a few:
1. Through Jesus you are supernaturally connected to Abraham. Galatians 3:29 says, “And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.”
2. When you have faith in Jesus, the blessings of Abraham that go all the way back to the book of Genesis belong to you. Galatians 3:8-9 says, “And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, in you shall all the nations be blessed. So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.”
3. Jesus died to break the curse of sin in your life and to open the doorway for you into a rich spiritual heritage and blessing. Galatians 3:13 says, “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree’—so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles….”
4. Jesus unveiled an incredible mystery that had been hidden for generations. Ephesians 3:6 says, “This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.”
5. Jesus is the cornerstone that connects you to all of the Old Testament patriarchs and saints. Ephesians 2:19-21 says, “So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In Him, you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.”
6. It is Jesus who gives you membership in the Commonwealth of Israel. Ephesians 2:12-13 says, “Remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus, you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.”
What does all of this mean to you? It means that your spiritual heritage—your roots—are much deeper than the beginning of your Christian walk or even your parents or grandparents Christian walk. Your heritage is traced all the way back to Abraham in the book of Genesis. The depth and breadth of your faith is ancient. You are not traveling down some other parallel pathway, but you are part of the same covenant roots that the Jewish people have enjoyed for thousands of years. You are not a “foreigner” who does not have the rights of citizenship but you are now part of the ‘commonwealth of Israel’ and have full rights! You are a fellow citizen with the saints of old. On top of all of this, Jesus has opened the door of a spiritual house to you that is built on the foundation of Jewish apostles, Jewish prophets, and ultimately a Jewish Messiah (Jesus Himself). The Apostle Paul tells us that the benefit of these Jewish roots for Gentile Christians is that they nourish and add deeper meaning to their walk with Jesus: Romans 11:17 says, “and you, although a wild olive shoot were grafted in among the others (the Jewish people) and now share in the nourishing root of the olive tree (Israel).”
connecting to your Jewish roots
So, if Jesus opens this wonderful opportunity for us to be nourished by His family’s roots, should we not desire to discover them for ourselves? In reality, If Jesus’ identity is intricately connected to Israel and we are intricately connected to Jesus then our identity is intricately connected to Israel as well.
In the Bible, Jesus declares many things about Himself but the very last thing He declares about Himself is this: “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star” (Revelation 22:16). This is a powerful statement. It declares that David, the Jewish king of the Jewish people actually had his spiritual roots in Jesus—“I am the root . . . of David.” Jesus was even the door opener to David’s Jewish spiritual anointing and blessing. Jesus also says that He is the “offspring of David” fulfilling the Jewish Messianic prophecies. All of this says that when you meet Jesus He opens the door to the spiritual house of Israel—His family and heritage—and introduces you to the ancient blessings passed down to you from Abraham. Once you begin to be nourished by the sap of the olive tree of the Commonwealth of Israel your faith will take on richer meaning and depth. All you have to do is walk through that door and discover your wonderful Jewish roots!