The Man Who Changed Everything
Text: Acts 21:27-22:22 | Listen to Message
Is Christianity An Enemy Of Judaism?
The Apostle Paul was arrested in Jerusalem, charged with trying to destroy the very essence of Jewish identity. Acts 21:28 records the accusation: “This is the man who is teaching everyone everywhere against the people and the law and this place.”
According to Judaism and the Old Testament, the Jews are God’s chosen people. God gave the Mosaic Law to them at Mount Sinai. God put His presence in their midst within the temple’s Most Holy Place. No other people group could make these claims.
But was Paul really changing all that? Well, yes…and no.
Yes, Paul was “teaching everyone everywhere” that the concepts of God’s people, God’s law, and God’s place had changed. Because of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus the Messiah, God’s people came to include anyone – Jew or Gentile – who believed in Jesus. And Paul wasn’t telling people to neglect God’s law; he was simply saying you can’t have a right relationship with God by obeying a law you’ve already broken! Finally, God’s temple continued to be a place filled with His presence, but that place was no longer a single building in Palestine; it was the life of every believer. So yes, Paul was teaching new definitions of these old concepts that lay at the heart of the Jews’ culture and identity.
But no, Paul was not changing anything. God Himself made these changes and Paul was simply telling others what the risen Jesus Christ had told him. Furthermore, Paul was making it very clear that these new teachings were not an attack on Judaism, but rather the fulfillment that the Old Testament had pointed to all along. Christianity does not nullify Judaism, it completes and fills up the faith of our fathers by worshiping Jesus – the one whom the whole story was about from the very beginning.