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How Jesus Made Me Kosher
By Lori McHugh
How in the world did a nice Jewish girl like me come to believe in Jesus? I'd like to tell you. I was born into a Conservative Jewish family on Long Island where I was raised to live the religion and traditions of my people. As a Jew, I was taught that we were God's Chosen People -- chosen for what, I didn't know but what I did know was that we Jews didn't believe in Jesus. Jewishness and Jesus were like oil and water and any Jew who even considered Jesus was viewed as a traitor to his people and heritage.
Like most of the families in my neighborhood, we went to synagogue on Sabbaths and the holidays. One of my most vivid memories occurred on Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement), the most solemn and important day of the year. Even though I was only six, I was allowed to fast along with my parents as we all prayed for God's forgiveness for our sins. My father explained these sins listed in the prayer book in terms I could understand -- telling lies, tattling on my brother, having hateful thoughts, being spiteful. I knew I was guilty of all of these and more! I was certainly sorry for my faIlure to live up to God's holy standards and promised Him to try to be a better person. Of course, once the holiday was over, my promises were broken as quickly as my fast. This continued year after year.
By the time I went to college, I felt better believing that God would just have to accept me on my own terms -- after all, I was sincerely trying to be a good person. But I never really knew where I stood before Him. One day, while working in the school's Computer Center, I met an upperclassman who came to my rescue on a something which I wanted. I was intrigued when they told me their peace and deep joy were due to a personal relationship with God but I was very offended when they told me that Jesus, the Jewish Messiah was the only one who makes this reconciliation possible.
I started reading the Bible to prove that Jesus couldn't possibly be the Holy One of Israel. But a terrible thing happened to me -- instead of finding ammunition for my arguments, I found myself being held captive by the truth of what I was reading. Moses and the prophets were right when they said that my righteous deeds were like filthy rags before a perfectly holy God. I understood that God gave the Jewish people a sacrifice system so that atonement could be made for sin through the necessary shedding of blood (Lev. 17:11). But what were we to do now that we have no temple where we can sacrifice? Where is our atonement today?
Then the story unfolded as I read how God who would be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2), be King David's descendant (2 Sam. 7:12), would be rejected by his own people and would suffer and die as the perfect sacrifice for his people's sin (Isaiah 53). From the Jewish Scriptures, the evidence was overwhelming -- Jesus is the Jewish Messiah! When I asked Him into my heart to be my atonement, I knew for the first time in my life that my sins were indeed forgiven and I had new, eternal life in the Messiah.
As a Jew, believing in Jesus has not been without social consequences and rejection from my people, but it's still the right decision. I now have that personal relationship with the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and I've truly come home to the faith of my fathers. Are you willing to open your heart and mind to find out the truth about Jesus? My prayer is that you will come to have the peace, love and deep joy that He gives to all who believe in Him.