I’ve been thinking of a question once posed to me, “Do you think, Yeshua came to start a new religion?” I think the question left off an unspoken premise, “Didn’t he just clarify and qualify Judaism, such that if we merely follow Judaism, as it was intended, we will be saved.” Here is my answer, in short, and consequently to that extent incomplete.
Yeshua did not teach religion of any sort, because Religion has to do with Man’s attempt to reach God, whereas Yeshua came to do the things necessary to reconnect Man to God, (God doing what Man could not). In all religion Man’s reach to God is woefully inadequate, this is true of Judaism, as well, although it does accurately layout the law of God, as given to men by God. The sacrifice was a key part of Judaism, and it ceased in about 70 AD. Even so, the book of Romans, Galatians, and Hebrews, explain clearly and in great detail, the insufficiency of Judaism and why Yeshua, Messiah is Salvation. Three specific statements made by Yeshua have a more concise bearing on the answer to this question.
“Jesus answered, ‘My teaching is not my own. It comes from the one who sent me. Anyone who chooses to do the will of God will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own.’ ” (John 7:16-17). Choosing to do God’s will is validating activity of Yeshua’s truth.
“Jesus answered: … Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?” (John 14:9). Yeshua declared His Deity in Human form. This goes against all Religion and reveals the truth that Yeshua was making God known to mankind in a way that limited finite creatures can understand.
“Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’ ” (John 14:6). Yeshua declares all Religions faulty and distinguishes His Purpose and work from anything that was ever asserted.
Yeshua was God in Human form, fully man and fully God, as all Christian orthodoxy explains. The Jewish leaders rejected these statements and non-believers continue to find offense in them today, but there were many corroborating proofs, not the least of which is the Resurrection. Yeshua is a Jew and He came as Messiah for the Jewish people. In a true spiritual sense all believers of Messiah Yeshua, become grafted into the family of promise. Now believing Gentiles are connected to Messiah, included in citizenship in Spiritual Israel, native to the covenants of promise and with hope and God. “Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called ‘uncircumcised’ by those who call themselves ‘the circumcision’ (which is done in the body by human hands)— remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” (Eph. 2:11-13).
If one is looking for a religion so as to earn salvation and/or satisfy God’s demands of perfectly following the law, I have no recommendation; but the New Testament fully articulates and validates the truth that Yeshua is the Messiah, the one and only Son of God – follow Him.