Jesus and Israel

Summary of Catechism paragraphs 554-94:

  • Jesus fulfills the Old Testament prophecies of the Messiah, as underscored by His Transfiguration; when His divine glory is revealed on the mountain, Jesus is joined by Moses and Elijah, representing the Law and the Prophets.
  • Explicitly Messianic imagery surrounds Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, e.g., His riding on a donkey, the people spreading their cloaks before Him, their linking Him to David amid shouts of “Hosanna.”
  • But even while fulfilling prophecy, Jesus at times contradicted conventional wisdom and popular expectations, and this caused conflict.
  • Jesus disavowed worldly power: far from being a political-hero Messiah, He explained to the shocked Apostles that He must instead suffer and die.
  • Jesus taught with His own divine authority, revealing the full meaning of the precepts of the Law – the call to total conversion of heart.
  • By transforming the prevailing interpretation of the Law, Jesus sparked controversy with a number of Jewish religious authorities.
  • Another flashpoint of contention was Jesus’ healing on the Sabbath; some judged that He violated the Law by “working,” but Jesus emphasized that liberating people from the bondage of illness showed the true meaning of the Sabbath rest.
  • Some Jewish religious leaders were also scandalized by Jesus’ forgiving sins; because only God can do that, they thought that Jesus was committing blasphemy by making Himself equal to God.
  • Similarly, Jesus upset the Temple establishment when He drove out the merchants and moneylenders; He also went on to identify His own Body with the Temple, thus describing Himself as God’s new dwelling place among people.
  • In this way Jesus revolutionized the idea of divine worship, henceforth centered on Christ Himself, and no longer on the Temple, whose impending destruction He prophesied.

Live Your Faith

Jesus’ teaching still contradicts what popular culture would have us believe, and His words resound to shake us out of a false sense of complacency.

We are called to complete dedication to Christ, not half-hearted service when it’s convenient for us. Are we conformed to Christ in every circumstance of our lives, or do we tend to hold part of ourselves back?

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