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Throughout rural America, and often in our urban areas, one will see signs and other modalities proclaiming the phrase" "Jesus Saves." Not to mention men holding such signs at sports games. I've often wondered if these men are married to wives they must appease for having spent family time and money to attend sporting events, "But honey, its my ministry..."
Be that as it may...
We have the question then, did Jesus sin?
Why do we have this question? Because of Christian dogmas and the ever present "Jesus Saves" proclamations. According to standard Christian belief and established Church dogma Jesus lived a perfect and sin free life. Indeed, it is believed by many Christians that Yeshua/Jesus was the only person in history who never sinned throughout his life.
Is this correct? Was Jesus without sin? A Facebook friend, Ionut Alin, posted an effective challenge to this claim. The following is inspired by his post.
What is sin? It depends on who you ask.
Traditional Judaism teaches that human beings are born essentially "good." Jews have no concept of 'original sin', we believe in 'original blessing'. Such a concept in fact is counter to biblical and Jewish thought. We come into this world as basically clean slates, untainted by the sins of our forbearers, and accountable for our own:The Lord replied to Moses, “Whoever has sinned against me I will blot out of my book. 34 Now go, lead the people to the place I spoke of, and my angel will go before you. However, when the time comes for me to punish, I will punish them for their sin” -- Shemot (Exodus) 32:33.Sin, het in Hebrew, is the result of human inclinations, yetzer hara, which must be properly channeled. Without the freedom to observe the twin impulses of yetzer hara (negative, selfish) and yetzer tov (positive, selfless) there would be no free will and we would not have the ability to "Choose Life." Free will makes this possible."What is free will? If you want, you do it , and if you don't want, you don't do it" -- Rebbe Nachman of Breslov, Likutey Moharan II, 110
Het (sin) literally means something that goes astray. It is a term used in archery to indicate that the arrow has missed its target, its "bulls eye." This concept of sin suggests a straying from the correct ways, from what is good and straight. For the Jew, what is good and straight is the Way of Torah. So, sin can be defined as violating the teachings or the Torah. Did Yeshua/Jesus violate the teachings of the Torah? Let's see.
Compare the following verses:"Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your bed and walk.”Were the rabbis correct? Was the carrying of the man's bed on the Shabbat a sin? Consider:
Immediately the man was healed, took up his bed, and walked.
That day was the Sabbath. The Jews therefore said to him who was cured, “It is the Sabbath day. It is not lawful for you to carry your bed.”
He answered them, “He who healed me said to me, ‘Take up your bed and walk.’ ”
So they asked him, “Who is the Man who said to you, ‘Take up your bed and walk’?”
Now the man who was healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, as there was a crowd in that place -- John 5:8-13:"So said the Lord: Beware for your souls and carry no burden on the Sabbath day, nor bring into the gates of Jerusalem. Neither shall you take a burden out of your houses on the Sabbath day nor shall you perform any labor, and you shall hallow the Sabbath day as I commanded your forefathers." (Yirmiyahu/Jeremiah 17:21-23)Yes, the rabbis were correct. Jesus instructed the man to commit a sin against the Shabbat. Hence, Jesus sinned just as the Gospel account itself says: “It is the Sabbath day. It is not lawful for you to carry your bed.” When accused rather than making teshuvah (repentance) Jesus committed another sin:The man went away, and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well. For this reason the Jews persecuted Jesus, and sought to kill him, because he did these things on the Sabbath.Clearly Jesus committed sins according to the Gospels themselves:
But Jesus answered them, “My Father is still working, so I am working, too.”
For this cause therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill him, because he not only broke the Sabbath, but also called God his own Father, making himself equal with God.The Lord spoke to Moses, saying:Note that "the children of Israel [are commanded to] observe the Sabbath," not the Gentiles.
"And you, speak to the children of Israel and say: 'Only keep My Sabbaths! For it is a sign between Me and you for your generations, to know that I, the Lord, make you holy.
Therefore, keep the Sabbath, for it is a sacred thing for you. Those who desecrate it shall be put to death, for whoever performs work on it, that soul will be cut off from the midst of its people. Six days work may be done, but on the seventh day is a Sabbath of complete rest, holy to the Lord; whoever performs work on the Sabbath day shall be put to death.'
Thus shall the children of Israel observe the Sabbath, to make the Sabbath throughout their generations as an everlasting covenant. -- Sh'mot/Exodus 31:12-16
This is just one example of Yeshua/Jesus committing sins. Many more could be cited. Those who are sincere and honest about these matters, and who read this, must admit that Jesus was not "without sin" according to their own scriptures, and therefore the New Testament claims about him are suspect at best.I do not share this to "trash Jesus" nor to come across as a "legalist." My hope is that people will come to look beyond what they have been taught and examine the Tanach and the new Testament for what they say, not for what Mediaeval Catholic bishops wanted to convince people of. The New Testament does not teach "Christianity." Today what most believe believe about Jesus has little to do with the historic Yeshua ben Miriam. We have no way of knowing what the historic Yeshua believed or taught. The New Testament presents him in too many different lights. We do know however that whatever he taught, whatever he believed, the Rabbis who questioned him, who considered his claims, determined that he was a danger to our people and that certain of his teachings violated Torah, as demonstrated here.
Did he consider himself the Messiah? Again, contradictory statements are to be found:So Pilate entered his headquarters again and called Jesus and said to him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus answered, “Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about me?” Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered you over to me. What have you done?” Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.” Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world: to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” Pilate said to him, “What is truth?” -- John 18:33-38So Yeshua/Jesus says no, he is not Messiah ben David, King of the Jews. He considered himself to be a spiritual teacher and reformer. he acknowledges here that his talmidim (students) would readily take up arms and fight, if he so ordered, but "My kingdom is not of this world." The kingdom of the Messiah will very much be "of this world."
But wait, we also have this:The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah comes, he who is called Christ. When he has come, he will declare to us all things.”We also have Yeshua's "interesting omission:"
Jesus said to her, “I am he, the one who speaks to you.” -- John 4;25, 26
One Shabbat, shortly after beginning his three and a half year ministry, Yeshua entered his home synagogue in Nazareth. As is the tradition, he stood to do a Haftarah reading. This reading is recorded at Luke 4:16-20. For his section Yeshua read from the scroll of the Prophet Isaiah. Read the quote in the New Testament first, and then read the source text in Isaiah. See if you notice anything different. This is a good research exercise. One must not make assumptions about what the texts say! Much confusion comes when people fail not only to consider the context, but in many cases like this one, people fail to see what the texts themselves actually say because of their preexistent belief systems! This study error is disturbingly common. We must not allow ourselves to "go on auto pilot" when reading the Bible!Luke 4:18,19 "The Spirit of the LORD is upon me; therefore he has anointed me to announce Good News to the poor; he has sent me to proclaim freedom for the imprisoned and renewed sight for the blind, to release those who have been crushed,Now read the section from which he was reading:
to proclaim a year of the favor of the LORD."Isaiah 61:1 The Spirit of the LORD God is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to announce good news to the poor. He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted; to proclaim freedom to the captives, to let out into light those bound in the dark;See anything interesting?
2 to proclaim the year of the favor of the LORD and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn.
Yeshua did not quote the entire verse! He omitted Isaiah's ending: "and the day of vengeance of our God..."
Why would he do that?
The only logical explanation is that his omission was intentional. Yeshua knew he would not be HaMashiach (i.e. the Messiah), neither Mashiach ben David nor Mashiach ben Yosef! He knew he would not fulfill the messianic prophecies nor take up the mantle of King of Israel as the Messiah must do!
Not only did he omit the key Messianic section, he completed his reading this acknowledgement:Luke 4:21 He started to speak to them: "Today, as you heard it read, this passage of the Tanach was fulfilled!""As you heard it read," in other words, as I edited it. Yeshua knowingly edited the prophecy because he knew he would not fulfill it from the very beginning of his ministry, despite what he seems to have told the Samaritan woman at the well!
Yeshua believed he had been anointed (Hebrew mashiach) to call the Jewish people to teshuvah (repentance). He did not believe he would be their Messiah according to the majority of Gospel texts. He viewed himself as a religious reformer, a spiritual teacher, not as the King of the Jews. He further stated:I can do nothing on my own. I judge as God tells me. Therefore, my judgment is just, because I carry out the will of the one who sent me, not my own will -- John 5:30His desire was that his talmidim or students should commit themselves to HaShem and His Torah, just as Yeshua believed he did.that they will all be one, just as you, Father, are in me and I am in you. I pray that they will be in us, so that the world will believe that you sent me -- John 17:21Yeshua apparently considered himself to be a tzadik, which is to say, righteous person who had harmonized his personal will with the Divine Will (something no real tzaddik would ever claim for himself!). He wanted his talmidim to attain that same level of spiritual oneness with HaShem. True tzadikim like Rebbe Nachman, Saba Israel, the Alter Rebbe (Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi), Rebbe Menachem Mendel Schneerson, etc. desired the same for their talmidim
But again, whatever the gross misunderstood historic Yeshua ben Miriam actually believed and taught, he has been rejected by every generation of Rabbinic authority since his days on earth. To restore his "true derech," the Way sect of he and his talmidim, even if possible, would be to resurrect an ancient sect condemned by all Jewish religious authorities.
Those who are sincere are advised to study Rabbinic Judaism, the religion they practiced, let go of their rejected reforms and beliefs, and enter Derech Noahide: The Way of the Seven Law Covenant granted to non-Jews.
From now on, when you see a sign emblazoned with the slogan "Jesus saves" read instead: "Jesus Sins" and understand that he was merely a fallible Jew without the ability to save anyone.
Our God is a God who saves, HaShem, the sovereign Lord, alone can rescue from death
ONLY HaShem Saves!
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