Baptist theologian Russell Moore offers us an important Christian message in the aftermath of Pittsburgh:
It a time when it seems as though every week brings more bloodshed and terror in this country, we should not let the news cycle move on without a sober reflection of what this attack means for us as Christians.
Such is especially true as we look at a world surging with resurgent “blood-and-soil” ethno-nationalism, much of it anti-Semitic in nature. As Christians, we should have a clear message of rejection of every kind of bigotry and hatred, but we should especially note what anti-Semitism means for people who are followers of Jesus. We should say clearly to anyone who would claim the name “Christian” the following truth: If you hate Jews, you hate Jesus.
Anti-Semitism is, by definition, a repudiation of Christianity as well as of Judaism. This ought to be obvious, but world history, even church history, shows us this is not the case. Christians reject anti-Semitism because we love Jesus.
I will often hear Christians say, “Remember that Jesus was Jewish.” That’s true enough, but the past tense makes it sound as though Jesus’ Jewishness were something he sloughed off at the resurrection. Jesus is alive now, enthroned in heaven. He is transfigured and glorified, yes, but he is still Jesus. This means he is still, and always will be, human. He is still, and always will be, the son of Mary. He is, and always will be, a Galilean. When Jesus appeared before Saul of Tarsus on the Road to Damascus, the resurrected Christ introduced himself as “Jesus of Nazareth” (Acts 22:8). Jesus is Jewish, present tense.
Indeed, much of the New Testament is about precisely that point. Jesus is a son of Abraham. He is of the tribe of Judah. He is of the House of David. Jesus’ kingship is valid because he descends from the royal line. His priesthood, although not of the tribe of Levi, is proved valid because of Melchizedek, the priest’s relation to Abraham. Those of us who are joint-heirs with Christ are such only because Jesus is himself the offspring and heir of Abraham (Galatians 3:29).
As Christians, we are, all of us, adopted into a Jewish family, into an Israelite story. We, who were once not a people, have been grafted on, in Jesus, to the branch that is Israel (Romans 11:17-18). That’s why the New Testament can speak even to gentile Chrisitans as though the story of their own forefathers were that of the Old Testament scriptures. We have been brought into an Israelite story, a story that started not in first-century Bethlehem but, millennia before, in the promise that Abraham would be the father of many nations.