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Jews, Jesus and Emmanuel
 

Jackie Mason, the famous Jewish comedian, said recently how ridiculous it is for people to try and morph Christmas into ‘holiday’, omitting all references to the word Christmas. He said he doesn’t know any Jews who object to using the word Christmas and that many, like him, enjoy the spirit of Christmas immensely.

It got me thinking about Jews and Jesus. Most Jews, even cultural ones, often shudder at the mention of Jesus and, understandably, fear anything that sounds like making the US a theocracy. Admittedly, terrible things have been done in the name of Jesus. Most notably this includes Hitler claiming to be a Christian (he was actually a practicing Satanist) and the Catholic churches’ position, which, until recently, denounced Jews as Christ killers. Most Jews have suffered pogroms in the name of Christianity or at least discrimination in their lfetime.

The problem is that by resisting any chance of knowing more about the real Jesus, Jews miss something wonderful. I’ve often said that they pay the dues of Christianity but reap none of its benefits. They honor biblical laws but don’t enjoy all the wonderful blessings that Jesus came to give us.

As a friend and I recently sang the great Christmas hymn ‘Oh Come Oh Come Emmanuel’, I said that Emmanuel means ‘God with us’. The Old Testament promised that Emmanuel would come to Israel. Emanence – the theological word for God’s closeness - comes from the same root as Emmanuel. The Jews only know of God as being transcendent – up there, above us all. By coming to earth, Jesus brought God down here among us.

After his resurrection, when Jesus ascended to Heaven, He sent God’s Spirit to live within anyone who invited Him to be Lord. That means God came even closer. He came to live within us. He became Emmanuel for all who made room for Him at the inn of their heart.

This is the definitive meaning of Christmas. God gave us the ultimate gift -- His Son.

What benefits do we receive from that? Most of what Jesus defined as the abundant life has to do with temporal things -- He spoke very little of Heaven. When we give Him our allegiance, we receive the fruits of His indwelling Spirit: love, joy, peace, gentleness, patience, self-control and humility. You see, eternal life begins here and now, not just when we die. Eternal life means, as William Barclay said, “Living the life God lives.” The apostle John called this knowing God and Jesus intimately. And to know Jesus is to love Him.

To follow Him is to love Him even more. For indeed, He has a wonderful, fulfilling plan for each of our lives; one we would never discover without Him. That’s why it’s more important to be Spirit led than it is to be Spirit filled. Spirit filled people can become just as easily Spirit emptied. But, as Jesus said, His children are those who do His will. Without that daily submission to His will we cannot know the abundant life He has for us.

Maybe Jews aren’t the only ones who miss what Jesus came to give us. Christians who do their own thing do too.

May the beauty of a love that “spared not His own Son,” also “freely give us all things” this Christmas season. May you feel so close to Him that you enjoy above all the love, joy and peace that no amount of money can buy.

Ken Unger is President of OnlyGodsFinest.com and founder of TransformationIncorporated.com, where you can learn more about him and his transformative ministry. click here ,
 "Ken's new book, The Ultimate Breakthrough, goes beyond self help to self healing. You can preview it at  The Ultimate Breakthrough "

 

 
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