There was once a Jewish follower of Yeshua. He loved Torah. His love for Torah naturally grew into a love for the religion of Torah: Judaism.
His life was good.
But over time, he became distressed at seeing just how ostracized he was as a follower of Yeshua. “My God!”, he said, “they call me an idolator!”
Even voicing his convictions was grounds for getting the boot from the community.
This created a conflict in himself: without giving up – or keeping quiet about – his convictions, he would not be accepted in the only real Torah community in the world: the Jewish observant world.
He naturally desired to be part of that community. Yeshua-centered communities didn’t seem focused on Torah; their devotion to Yeshua inevitably led to assimilation into the church, it seemed.
It was during these turbulent times that the young man would repeatedly hear of the Christian problem. The church invented their own holy days, obsoleted the Torah, reimagined Yeshua as a commandment-destroying Roman, rendered meaningless Jewish identity, oh, and let’s not forget of the millions of Jews killed by Christians in the name of Christ. Maybe it’s like the anti-missionaries say, he thought, maybe the church is Edom, the eternal enemy of the Jewish people.
Whatever degree of truth in that, one thing was certain: The church was wrong, and there was no getting around it.
The turbulence in his mind worsened.
Despair set in. It persisted until something dawned on him. Something big.
“They say I’m an idolator”, he mused, “because I worship Yeshua.”
He confirmed this to himself.
“Isn’t it possible, then, that I shouldn’t be worshipping Yeshua?”
“After all”, he justified, “the church has been wrong about so much! Isn’t it plausible the church was wrong about Yeshua being God?”
Oh, but this couldn’t be. Yeshua was one with the Father…right? Yeshua was an emanation of God, the glory of HaShem.
“They called him, “Lord”! My God, they called him Lord.”
Was there any wiggle room here, any at all? He hoped there was; if he could only make this work, he would no longer despair, he would no longer be ostracized.
Looking for confirmation, he found no shortage of Jewish sources telling him it was so: the worship of anyone besides the creator was idolatry. He knew this to be true. Jesus should not be worshiped, because he was a man, and, as the Torah states, “God is not a man…”
“Christians are misinterpreting Yeshua’s words!”, he thought to himself. And it wouldn’t have been the first time, he noted.
This all started to make more sense to him: Jesus isn’t the creator, therefore Jesus should not be worshipped. Yeshua may be divine, but not the Creator himself. Therefore, Yeshua should not be worshipped.
This had to be true. He wanted to believe it. His acceptance in the only true Torah community depended on it.
But something nagged at him: what about all those times in the New Testament when Yeshua is worshipped? What about those claims Yeshua made about being the only way to God? What about the part where Yeshua says, “If you reject me, you reject my Father in heaven?” What about the clear, brazen claims Yeshua made, claiming to sit at the right hand of God, claiming to be the glorified Son of God? What about his claims that “anyone who believes my words will have eternal life”? What about that?
But the young man was too far down the road to turn back now.
Searching for validation of the things he wanted to believe, he surrounded himself with confirming voices. These voices whispered new revelations: now, he is told, Christians are actually editing the Tenakh to fit their prophecies about Jesus. Now, he is told, Christians redacted the New Testament. The New Testament isn’t reliable, because Christians changed it; Yeshua never really said those things.
And that settled it. If the New Testament was unreliable, his problem was solved.
At last, how happy he was: accepted by the only true Torah community, and…uhhh…a kind-of-follower-of-Yeshua-but-not-really. He realized it: though he still loved Yeshua, he had come to deny him.
Yes, he had to reject everything about Yeshua: every book written of his works. Every detail of his miracles. The accounts of the witnesses who gave their lives in upholding the record. That miraculous, sacrificial work, taking the sin of humanity as whip lashes on his back. That great work after which the Temple –and the world – was never the same. That act that sparked billions from the nations following the God of Israel.
All of it.
To reach the goal, it had to be thrown out.
“But”, he justified, “at least now I am accepted.”