The Jewish Roots of the Catholic Faith
22 May 2012 – Jesus and Judaism – the roots of the Eucharist
Scripture Reading: St. Luke 4: 14 – 30
Notes for 22 May 2012
To situate Jesus’ teachings in their historical context, we need to answer a few questions.
1. What were first-century Jews actually waiting for God to do?
2. We know that many were expecting God to send a Messiah – What did they think the Messiah would be like?
3. What did they believe would happen when the Messiah finally came?
The Jewish hope for the future at the time of Jesus
Most Christians today believe that in the first century A.D., the Jewish people were waiting for an earthly, political Messiah to come and set them free from the Roman Empire and return the land of Israel to its rightful owners. Some Jews of the first century were in fact waiting for a political deliverance from their Roman overlords. Zealots, a first century sect who were call that because of their zealous love for the land of Israel and their hatered of Rome.
Many Jews were waiting for the restoration of Israel in a New Exodus. What was the Jewish hope for a new exodus? The expectation was that the God of Israel would one day save his people in much the same way that he had saved them at the time of Moses, the time of the first exodus.
The Old Exodus
The story of the Old Exodus is found in the Old Testament books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. In the Old Testament books we read the story of Moses, the deliverance of the twelve tribes of Jacob from slavery in Egypt and the plagues, the Passover, the wilderness wandering, and the journey home to the promise land.
The Prophets foretold that God would one day bring about a New Exodus.
The New Exodus
The New Exodus has four key elements
1. The coming of the New Moses
2. The making of the New Covenant
3. The building of a New Temple
4. The journey to a New Promise Land
The New Exodus will provide us our three primary keys for unlocking the mystery of the Last Supper of Jesus: The Passover, The Manna, and The Bread of the Presence.
The New Moses
In the first exodus God saves the people of Israel by means of a deliverer; Moses. According to the Old Testament prophets, God would one day save his people again by means of a new deliverer: The Messiah – the new Moses would be like Moses.
Important historical fact in the lives of the Jewish people:
Between the Exodus from Egypt and the birth of Jesus (1,000 years), two major disasters struck the people of God, disasters that would give rise to the hope for a future act of deliverance by God.
A. 722 B.C. – The ten northern tribes of Israel were taken into exile by the Assyrian Empire and scattered among the surrounding Gentile nations (2 Kings 15-17).
B. 587 B.C. – (over 100 years later), the two remaining southern tribes of Judah and Benjamin were taken into exile, by the Babylonian Empire (2 Kings 25-27).
At this point God’s promise of the land to the twelve tribes would appear to have been broken, alongside these tragic events there arose a hope that God would one day send his people a new deliverer, a new Moses.
This hope of a new Moses was actually rooted in the promise of Moses himself. Before Moses’ death, he had prophesied that the twelve tribes Israel would rebel against the Law of God and be cast out of the promise land (Deuteronomy 4: 26-27)
Jesus understood himself as the New Moses (Deuteronomy 18: 15-18). Jesus saw himself as the “Meshiah” - the anointed one. Like Moses the “Meshiah” would one day be sent to Israel to deliver them from bondage.