All Eyes on Israel
Chapter 2 - Is Modern Israel the Israel of Promise?
Page 10 - Was Jesus a Jew?
(Go Back to Page 9 -
How Pure was the Jewish "Race?")
Was Jesus a Jew? Jesus was a Judean by birth because of the place of His birth - Bethlehem of Judea and because He was of the tribe of Judah which, as we have seen, included non-Israelite blood. He lived his early life in Nazareth, in "Galilee of the Nations (or Gentiles)" (Isa 9:1) so "He shall be called a Nazarene" (Matt 2:23). He was also referred to as a Galilaean:
"When Pilate heard of Galilee, he asked whether the man were a Galilaean. And as soon as he knew that he belonged unto Herod's jurisdiction ..." (Luke 23:6)
Both His earthly parents were from the tribe of Judah and His ancestry was described to help those who were looking for the Messiah to recognize Him. However, He had no hereditary connection to Joseph, His stepfather.
Jesus was only called the "son of Mary" or the "son of Joseph" by those who, at the time they said it, did not understand who He really was. He always referred to His Father in heaven.
There is actually no reason to believe that Mary necessarily contributed genetic material to Jesus either. Even modern technology today can make a woman be a birth mother without contributing any of her own genetic material.
Many people claim that Jesus had to have had genes from His mother, Mary, or He wouldn't have had that humanity that could be "... tempted like as we are, yet without sin." (Heb 4:15) However, think about it - Adam and Eve were created by God, with no genes from an earthly parent, and they actually did sin, so obviously they could be tempted and could submit to temptation. So, it is conceivable (but not conclusively proven) that Jesus had no human and therefore no Jewish genetic material.
We have seen, on the previous page in this study, that there was considerable mixing of blood from non-Jews in Jesus' ancestry. Also, we have seen that it is not ancestry but character that is the important factor. Anyone can become part of spiritual Israel if they will accept God's help to be overcomers. Jesus was the ultimate overcomer, the Israel that everything about Israel pointed to.