Book Review: A Rabbi Looks at Jesus of Nazareth by Jonathan Bernis

Writing Sample: A book review on A Rabbi Looks at Jesus of Nazareth, by Jonathan Bernis

A Rabbi Looks at Jesus of Nazareth – Book Review

There is no dearth of Christian apologetic books on the market, including more then a few in-depth works penned by scholarly types who have spent a lifetime “defending” the Christian faith. By and large, most of these these Christian apologists have been Gentile Christians (Lee Strobel, Josh McDowell, & Ravi Zacharias being the most notable) with one or two few penned by “completed Jewish” believers—aka formerly non-Messianic Jews who have come to accept Yeshua (Jesus) as their Lord and Savior.

Unfortunately, in a media-saturated, technology-driven culture where most people—including Christians—tend to have the attention span of a gnat, much of the time anything remotely “scholarly” = dry and boring. Whether such books actually are boring (read: written by academics for the academic minded) is immaterial…the point is, they rarely get read.

Not so a nifty, mid-size Christian apologetic book penned by a Messianic Rabbi from Rochester, New York, Jonathan Bernis. In the first few pages, Bernis prompts a welcome sigh of relief among its readers with the statement:  “Iʼm not interested in writing a scholarly treatise that can only be understood by those who have a doctorate in theology.”

Bernis, who elsewhere has promoted his Christian apologetic book primarily as an “End Time Equipping Book for Christians” holds true to his promise. With A Rabbi Looks at Jesus of Nazareth he delivers an easy-to- understand, yet well-researched & conversationally written examination on both the Jewishness of Jesus and why accepting Yeshuaʼs own claim that He is, in fact, the long-awaited Messiah is about the most Jewish thing you can do.

Itʼs an excellent evangelistic primer for Christians, most of whom have been historically ignorant—not only about the Jewish origins of Christianity, but also about exactly how and why there has been a great divide between Jews and Christians. This includes the extent of the historic Churchʼs persecution of Jews as early as the first century; the dark, deep roots of anti-Semitism, as well as how anti-Semitism plays out today in more subtle forms through such doctrines as Replacement Theology and Dual-Covenant Theology. Both, he claims, have had great bearing on Judeo-Christian relations, not to mention they could effect the very future of the state of Israel.

Wisely, Bernis doesnʼt promise the moon; i.e., that he can prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” to anyone—Jew or Gentile—that Jesus is the Son of God, nor that the Bible is the inspired Word of God nor even that God exists at all.

What Bernis does promise the reader, however, is that he will present a thorough examination of the evidence that might help persuade a reader that Jesus is, as He Himself claimed, the  Messiah. Bernis goes a step further by saying, “I will show you that it takes more faith not to believe, then it does to believe in Him.”

Download the rest of the review


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