Psalm 99

Strong and brave, for you, O Lord,
Choosing the better way,
Knowing to live is Christ,
to die is gain.
Not allowing their conscience
to change through fear.
Holding without doubt
to absolute truth.
They wait, they cry out,
"How long, O Lord?!"
Soon, soon, when the number is filled;
then they will see your return,
they will come on the clouds with you,
this their reward and desire.
I honor them,
I remember their sacrifices,
I pray for them:

Jesus Was Jewish

I know we know this, but recently this thought has been dominating my mind. Jesus was Jewish. He looked like a Jew, i.e. not an American. I'm guessing that almost all (if not all) of the standard pictures I grew up with show an Americanized Jesus and not an ethnically Jewish Jesus. Don't get me wrong. There are many beautiful pictures of Jesus. I don't think it is wrong to draw him differently in different cultures (some of my favorite Bible pictures are painted by an Indian artist who pictures the Bible in an Indian context). It's just, I got to thinking, "What did my savior really look like?" I wanted to think of him as a Jew, to picture him in my mind as he really might have been (is even now). I've found a picture here that captures more of a Jewish Jesus. The picture here shows what Jews of Jesus' time might have looked like. I guess what I am seeking in this cocoon is to throw off any false ideas I might have inadvertently imaged in my mind. Obviously, we don't know what Jesus really looked like. But I think in a way that even seeing Jesus as Jewish has changed the way I think about him. He lived in a very different culture than mine. It really hit me today how blessed I am. Jesus was a Jew and he reached out to Gentiles. This is radical! I am saved because he, a Jew, loved me, a Gentile. An amazing thought (read John 4 to see how the disciples were so shocked that Jesus reached out to a Samaritan and a woman). Putting Jesus in a Jewish context I think also has enlightened my Bible study. What a strange journey to be on, not only knowing that Jesus was Jewish, but thinking of him as Jewish. New and blessed perspective!