Many Christians believe that Jesus Christ was God in human form. He ascended from His throne in heaven to interact with humans on Earth. There are many mysteries surrounding the God-man Jesus, but one that keeps coming up is, what religion was Jesus?
Jesus was born Jewish. Luke 2:27 And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law. His parents were Joseph and Mary, whose lineage was from the tribe of Judah. Jesus was born in Bethlehem, and He grew up in Nazareth. Jesus fully subscribed to the Jewish religion, culture, and nationality. Thus, Jesus practiced first-century Judaism religion.
Keep reading this article if you want to know if Jesus was born and raised as a Jew, if all Christians are Jews, what religion was followed before Christianity, and much more information surrounding religion and Jesus.
Was Jesus born and raised as a Jew?
Jesus was born into a Jewish family and raised as a Jew. Eight days after his birth, he was circumcised to observe the Jewish laws, and a sacrifice of a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons was also given in observance of Jewish customs.
Luke 2:21-23 And when eight days were completed [a]for the circumcision of the Child, His name was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb. Now when the days of her purification according to the Law of Moses were completed, they brought Him to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord.
Jesus was also taken through the purification ceremony that Jews practiced. As a young boy, he grew up learning the Torah and following its practices. Jesus’ parents are seen taking Him to the temple for His very first Passover festival in Luke 2:41-42.
He observed the Mosaic Law and practiced Jewish feasts, commandments, and ordinances. Jesus was born under the Law, as mentioned in Galatians 4:4. Therefore, he practiced everything that pertained to the Law and fulfilled it according to Matthew 5:17–18.
What was the dominant religious influence on Jesus?
Jesus was born in Bethlehem and raised in Nazareth, where Judaism was practiced. He grew up around people and an environment fully immersed in Judaism’s religion and practices. Many of Jesus’ teachings are around the Mosaic law, as he observed it keenly.
The Bible, in many instances, mentions that Jesus observed ceremonies such as the Passover feast. Jesus also regularly attended worship sessions in the synagogues where he taught. He is famous for often quoting the Tanakh or Hebrew Bible, as mentioned in Luke 4:4, 8, 12, and Mark 12:28–31. All this is a true reflection that Jesus’ dominant religious influence was from the Jews around him, his parents, relatives, friends, and associates, and they played a huge role in Jesus’ ascribing to the Judaism religion.
If Jesus was a Jew, does that mean all Christians are Jews?
No, Jesus being a Jew does not mean that all other Christians who follow Him should be Jews. Jews are a tribe and are mostly associated with the Israelites. Christians do not have to be Jews or follow Judaism. Judaism was rooted in the laws that God gave Moses at the Mount of Sinai. These laws were a covenant between God and the then-Children of Israel.
However, Christians do not need to follow these laws as they were fulfilled in Christ Jesus, as mentioned in Matthew 5:17. God has also promised to come up with a new law that would be favorable for both Jews and gentiles in Jeremiah 31:31-34.
Thus, Christians do not need to follow the old covenant ways anymore. Hebrews 8:13 In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away. This verse implies that the old covenant laws are no more, as they have been replaced by a new and better law that includes everyone.
Why do religious scholars believe Jesus practiced Judaism?
Many religious scholars believe that Jesus practices Judaism because of the various feasts and laws that He observed. Jesus was also born and raised among people who practiced Judaism, which in turn had a major influence on the religion he ascribed to. In many of Jesus’ teachings, we see him often quoting the Tanakh, the Hebrew Bible.
Jesus also observed the Passover festival as a young child and in his adult years with his disciples, as mentioned in John 2:13-25. Jesus often made pilgrimage trips to Jerusalem to observe the ceremony. He also observed other feasts that were part of the Judaism religion. John 5:1 says, “After this, there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.” This shows that Jesus was fully immersed in the Jewish religion.
Jesus also made several trips to attend worship and teach in synagogues, as mentioned in Biblical passages found in Mark 1:21; 3:1; and John 6:59. He is described as often being on the forefront to advise others to obey and follow the Law of Moses and even give sacrifices.
Mark 1:44 says, and said to him, see that you say nothing to anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, for a proof to them. He promoted the Law of Moses and fulfilled it, and in all these things, many scholars have suggested that it is proof enough that Jesus practiced Judaism.
Did Jesus ever proclaim himself a member of any religion?
The Bible is silent about this. There is no direct mention of Jesus proclaiming that he practiced the Judaism religion. However, several Bible passages suggest that Jesus practiced and supported the religion. Jesus was not against the Mosaic Law; neither did he condemn those who followed it. He even quoted the Hebrew Bible most times in His teaching.
What type of Judaism did Jesus belong to?
There are many sects of Judaism that believe and attribute different things. These sects include the Zealots, the Essenes, the Sadducees, and the Pharisees. There is no mention of the sect that Jesus belonged to, but many scholars imply that Jesus might have belonged to the Essene sect.
This is because they suggest that John the Baptist was an Essene; thus, Jesus, too, must have been from the same sect.
What religion did Jesus preach since Christianity was born years after his ascension to heaven?
Jesus mainly taught in line with the Judaism religion. He borrowed his teachings from the Mosaic Laws and advised people based on the Tanakh Hebrew Bible. He also adhered to the Judaic practices of feasts such as the Passover. He urged people to obey the Mosaic law and follow its precepts.
If Jesus practiced Judaism, where did Christianity come from?
Jesus, as mentioned in the Bible, came to fulfill the Law. Matthew 5:17–18 says that Jesus had come to fulfill the Law and bring it to a close. It is suggested in many Bible verses that before people were allowed to approach God, the priests were the only ones sacred enough to do so. Jesus came to abolish this Law and bring a better law that meant a personal relationship with God where anyone could approach God.
Jesus’ death on the cross was the first step in establishing Christianity. The temple curtain was torn in two, which many Christians believe signified the abolishment of the Law and the coming of a new one. It meant that people could now go to God on their own through Jesus. After Jesus went to heaven on the day of Pentecost, a new religion was born, one that was rooted in a relationship with God instead of just following laws. The Bible says people were first called Christians in Antioch in Acts 11:19–26. They were following Christ, who was risen, and what he taught.
Is Christianity a religion or a relationship with Christ?
Christianity is a pure religion that focuses on the relationship with God. This relationship is believed to be made possible when as men, we respond to the grace and mercy of God and accept Christ as our savior. Christianity is God reaching out to people based on their terms, but in essence, religion is a man trying to reach out to God based on God’s terms, and often this is by abiding strictly by rules.
Christianity is rooted in a relationship with Christ as you abide by His rules, meaning that even if you err, you can correct your faults. Still, religion often has consequences and a lot of condemnation because it is a man trying to please God by being righteous through outward physical practices that have dire consequences, even death, if not adhered to.
What religion were the first followers of Jesus?
The very first followers of Jesus practiced the Judaism Religion; they were Jewish and ascribed to Judaism. Christianity came later on after Jesus’ death and ascension.
Before Christianity, what religion was followed?
Before Christianity, the religion that was followed by many was Judaism. Many Jews practiced this religion and followed its rules for a long time. Judaism was built on the Mosaic Laws, which is what even Jesus preached and taught, as implied in the Bible. However, the same Bible suggests that Jesus came to fulfill the Law and bring a better law that now brings about Christianity, which is built on a relationship with God and not laws.
What Religion Was Jesus? Facts About Christ Before Christianity Began
If Jesus was a Jew, why aren’t Christians Jewish?
They say that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, right? Being raised by Christians significantly impacted my life since I started professing Christ from a young age. My passion for the Christian faith made me pursue a degree in Religious studies and a Masters in Theology. I am a believer and pastor dedicated to spreading the word of God. I have been in the Christian ministry for over a decade and am currently ministering in Life Christian Church. I have also been privileged to teach 4 Christian courses in a college and university. Please check the About Us Page for more details.