Yeah, I know, that is a point of debate for many, but I have felt this to be the truth for a long time. I have recently found teachings online from observant Jews that show why this is the case. Here is an essay on why there was no need for bloodshed to absolve sins: here is commentary from a contemporary site for Jews. There are others and I will bring them in as I discuss this issue. Jews also believe that HaShem told them that He would not incarnate, Judaism 101 shows perhaps the most comprehensive list and references regarding why.
Now, here is where I depart slightly from general Jewish thought. I believe Jesus (Y’Shua) came for a specific ministry, not as a God-man, but as a guide, to help us find our way home. Please bear with me here, as this is ground I am still sifting, to find the truth for myself as well as to share on this blog. I have said before that I believe the four extant gospels were tampered with. What I now suspect is that, rather than tampering with something already written, the Greek scribes took lists, as you would find in the Gospel of Thomas, and wrote narrative that would fit with Constantine’s perception of the God-man. One of the reasons I believe this scenario to be close to the truth is that the 12 did not forsake their parent faith after his death, but continued to attend synagogue. If they had believed he were a God-man, they would simply have forsaken their Jewish roots, knowing that such a concept was unacceptable among their peers.
Within the extant gospels, I believe Y’shua’s teachings to have been preserved, albeit mixed so thoroughly with the scribes work, so that one must filter and sift in order to find them. Filtering here, would require a thorough understanding of what Y’shua would not, or could not have said as a Jew, honoring the faith of his fathers. One of the things that has always struck me as somehow wrong, is that the church teaches a Jesus plus nothing doctrine in order to gain heaven, yet, Y’shua most emphatically stated that one must forgive in order that the Father might forgive us each our transgressions, he also taught that living a compassionate life fulfilled the law, in fact he said more than once that he did not come to abolish the law, but to fulfill it. This implies that his ministry had another purpose altogether.
Throughout Y’shua’s ministry he speaks often and consistently of the Holy Spirit. It is this knowledge that brought me to the conclusion that places where he is said to have been speaking of himself, he may have been speaking of this emanation. For instance, “I am the way, the truth and the life, no man cometh unto the Father but by me.”, this passage could easily have been intended to be “The I Am is the way, the truth and the life, no man comes to the Father save through the I Am.” As that phrase is often used in the Tanakh to speak of the very near, very clear, very now presence of God Very God, i.e. the Holy Spirit. If that measure of change has occurred in the gospels, and I believe it has, then the places where Y’shua appears to have been speaking of himself as the Source of eternal life, he may have been speaking of truths his Jewish followers could accept and understand.
Because of all these things, I have come to understand why the pastors in the churches I attended years ago were uncomfortable with “too much” study of the Old Testament, since one would discover that it was not an old covenant, but a very vibrant and living covenant that still speaks to us today. I am quite aware that there are many passages in the Tanakh that have little to do with life today, the treatment of women, for example, would not work in today’s world. But, here, you must look at the surrounding cultures and realize that the Mosaic Law treated women with much more respect that did the neighbors. I believe that perspective would need updated to fit now.
Now, however, comes the hard part. The ground explored in the above statements has been covered by others and is by no means new. If Y’shua did not perceive himself as abolishing the law, but rather fulfilling it, what was his purpose? Why would he put himself through the horrible ordeal at the hands of the Romans? I have seen with my own eyes and senses the power of the Native American holy men and women who have been through such ordeals in the quest for their own spiritual enlightenment, and have felt the “mighty rushing wind” from a holy man of the Lakota Sioux. It occurs to me that Y’shua may have been simply working through the power of his own “medicine” to open the door for the event that he spoke of in his teachings. That is to say, the Gift of the Holy Spirit.
What would this be for? Jeremiah speaks of a New Covenant, one I do not believe has yet come, (just look at the world today and observe that there is no peace in it.) Now, he may have been speaking of the time of the Moshiach, which, in spite of the Christian insistence that Y’shua was that person, is not here. What if Y’shua were preparing the way for that one to come? What if the Holy Spirit, dwelling with each of us as a guide, indeed, dwelling within us so that the law was written on our hearts, was his goal. It hasn’t happened, but then, his ministry was side-tracked by the God-man doctrine, and the Jesus plus nothing doctrine so that what could have happened within a generation if all had gone according to plan, has now seen many generations pass. I pray that the Holy Spirit write the law on my heart that I may serve Hashem in all his glory.