In the spirit of proud and undisguised plagiarism, I thought that the following passage from Dr. Jacob Jocz’s The Jewish People and Jesus Christ was worth citing in full, for its thought-provoking qualities:
“Throughout the ages there were numbers of Jews who submitted to the claims which Jesus made and acknowledged his Messiahship. This is important, for it is almost universally held on both sides that the Jews have rejected and the Gentiles accepted Jesus of Nazareth. This grave mistake is due to the fact that Christianity, which originally began as a movement of individuals and remained such for several centuries, subsequently became a state-patronized religion. Herein is the irony of history, that while the early triumphs of Christianity were due to the breaking down of all national ties, these very triumphs led it back into the bondage of nationalism. The main issue between the early Church and the mother religion was concerning the national prerogatives of Israel. But eventually Christianity became nationalized, for only as such could it come to terms with the State. Today we speak of Christian nations and non-Christian nations without even suspecting a contradiction. We have become accustomed to speaking in collective terms about a movement which by its very nature concerns only individuals. If there ever were ‘Christian nations,’ the Jewish people never was one. But if amongst the nations of the world there were many Christians, it is our purpose to show that the same can be said about the Jews.”
I may differ with Dr. Jocz somewhat (only somewhat) on the extent to which Christianity and nationhood are unrelated, as per this earlier post. However, his central idea – that the proportion of actual Christians among the Jews is likely quite comparable to that among the nationally-Christian Gentiles – is an essential one, regardless of exactly how the math shakes out.
The sharp separation between the Jews who rejected Christ and the Gentiles who accepted him has historically served as the underpinning for anti-Semitism. It must be overcome by reminding the world that it is the national dichotomy that has been drawn wrongly, not – as our relativistic culture is ever-inclined to do – by blurring the spiritual one. It seems to me an important task of Jewish Christians today to bear witness to this fact.