Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Review: The Real Kosher Jesus

The most influential Jew who ever lived. The most controversial Jew who ever lived.

He has been called a rabbi, a rebel, a reformer, a religious teacher, a reprobate sinner, a revolutionary, a redeemer. Some have claimed he was a magician, others the Messiah. Some say he was a deceiver; others say he was divine. Who is this Jesus-Yeshua, and why are we still talking about him two thousand years later?

Recently a prominent Orthodox Jewish rabbi presented a new version of Jesus, a “Kosher Jesus” that Jews can accept. By reclaiming Yeshua as a fellow Jew and rabbi, he has taken a very major and truly wonderful step in the right direction, but by re-creating Jesus, he has also robbed him of his uniqueness.

The Real Kosher Jesus takes you on a journey to uncover the truth. It is a journey filled with amazing discoveries and delightful surprises, a journey that is sometimes painful but that ends with joy, a journey through which you will learn the real story of this man named Yeshua: the most famous Jew of all time, the Jewish nation’s greatest prophet, the most illustrious rabbi ever, the light of the nations—and Israel’s hidden Messiah.

Dr. Michael Brown's The Real Kosher Jesus is a dynamic examination of the identity of Jesus within His rich Jewish context. Dr. Brown draws the reader into a progressive revelation of Jesus-Yeshua as a Jew, a rabbi, a prophet, a revolutionary and the long awaited and soon returning Messiah. The occasion of the book was the publication of Rabbi Shmuley Boteach's book Kosher Jesus, which I have not read and will not be a part of this review, however The Real Kosher Jesus goes far beyond a narrow or temporary response to Boteach's work. This book, penned in only two and a half months, leads the reader into a discovery of who Jesus really was and is. The progressive revelation of Brown's writing, which manages to both build a case and present a journey, is consistently evangelistic and exceptionally powerful, presenting the beauty of Jesus as the truly Jewish Messiah.

While avoiding an academic or scholarly tone, The Real Kosher Jesus obviously has an enormous scholarly depth and foundation. Dr. Brown is probably the foremost Christian apologist to the Jewish people, authoring five volumes of Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus, and he effortlessly draws from comprehensive source material. The book moves from Anti-Semitism and the Jewish response through Church history to the Jewishness of Jesus, the Jewishness of the Gospel, the Jewishness of Paul, and a distinctly Jewish path to discovering Jesus as the Messiah, the Savior, Lord, and Son of God. This journey contains vast amounts of revelation for the Christian as well as for the Jew and provides a fresh and vital presentation of the gospel. In reading the book, one feels that this was the progression of the gospel as it was meant to be revealed to the world through the Jewish people and nation. In all the fervor and momentum of the movement back to the gospel in the Church and publishing world today, I have never read a more passionate and more revealing description of the good news in the identity of Jesus.

Dr. Brown refers to Rabbi Boteach's book specifically a number of times and spends three chapters in specific refutation of Boteach's thesis. Having not read Boteach's book, I am unable to thoroughly weigh the argumentation; however, these chapters are immensely relevant without reading Boteach's book. They feature the most entertaining and humorous prose within the book and are also powerful reminders of the revolutionary nature of Jesus in both His spiritual militancy and His passionate non-violence. While Kosher Jesus was the occasion for The Real Kosher Jesus, my impression is that Boteach's work will not stand the test of time, while I hope to see this work endure through many editions.

The Real Kosher Jesus stands out as an exceptionally relevant and readable work of apologetics and theology. It is a prophetic cry both to the Jewish people and the Christian Church to discover the reality of Jesus as He is and as He revealed Himself to the world. It is not only the finest book on the identity of Jesus I have ever read; it is one of finest books on the gospel I have ever read. It has transformed my view of the revelation of God's love and redemption in Jesus-Yeshua.

My thanks to Charisma House for providing this complimentary review copy. I was not required to give a positive review. I have given an honest review.

360707: The Real Kosher Jesus: Revealing the Mysteries of the Hidden Messiah The Real Kosher Jesus: Revealing the Mysteries of the Hidden Messiah
By Michael L. Brown, PhD / Frontline

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