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Why did Jesus leave his Jewish faith?
Thank you for a very interesting and thoughtful question about Jesus.
The most important thing to say in reply is that Jesus didn't in fact leave the Jewish faith. During his ministry he taught as a Rabbi and was addressed as such by a member of the Sanhedrin:
This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.” (John 3:2)
And by others, such as a man who wanted healing from him:
And Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” And the blind man said to him, “Rabbi, let me recover my sight.” (Mark 10:51)
Secondly, Jesus' teaching was not against the Jewish Scriptures, but rather against how other rabbis interpreted it. In Matthew 5 we read of Jesus:
"Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfil them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven". (Matthew 5:17-20)
After saying this, Jesus went on to say about a number of rabbinic interpretations of the Jewish Scriptures, 'You have heard that it was said....but I tell you.....' You will need to read the chapter to see what Jesus did and said. Two of the gospel writers (Matthew and John) were Jewish. All the apostles were Jewish, and the teaching of Peter and James is full of Jewish issues about which they wrote for Jews especially. Paul was also a rabbi before he met with the risen Christ.
The fact is that Jewish people were the original followers of Jesus because they accepted him as the Messiah promised in the Jewish Scriptures. However, when Jesus was raised from the dead to eternal existence, and they saw and spent time with him in his resurrection body, they realised that he was divine and they worshipped him (Matthew 28:17). This became the turning point for Jewish people because it was never considered that God had a Son and that he would come as the Messiah to earth. Gradually, the Jewish authorities banned following Jesus as a 'Jewish' sect and people were forced to leave their Jewish synagogue attendance to worship Jesus with non-Jews. After the destruction of the Temple in AD 70, the gap widened between Jews and Christians and eventually there were few Jewish people left in the Christian congregations.
From this answer we can see that Jesus did not leave his faith, but rather fulfilled it. The first people to follow Jesus were Jewish, it is just that over time we have seen more gentiles (non-Jewish) people become Christians. Even today, we see people of the Jewish faith recognising Jesus as their Lord and Saviour. Whatever your background, will you believe in him?
I do hope this general answer to your question goes some way to helping you find peace with God through Jesus Christ our Lord. If you want to know more about what Jesus has done for you please watch the video on the main part of our site: www.lookingforGod.com
In closing, I want to encourage you to get more involved with your local church. It would be good to speak to a Christian leader or another trusted church individual regarding your question. I know they would be delighted to further answer you as well as offer prayer and support as you continue your spiritual journey:
Please use our Interactive Answer Matrix and feel free to ask another question. Our helpful staff are praying for you and waiting to try and answer to you from the Bible, and will be delighted to tell you more about Jesus Christ the Lord, the Saviour of the world.
*All Scripture references are taken From The English Standard Version of the Holy Bible unless stated otherwise
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