I am Jewish and I think that Christianity was just a small movement. Jesus never thought he was starting something new -something that would leave Judaism. He was a rabbi. He was very religious and he did not cancel all of the commandments. He just talked to the people to be more honest, to love God, and to stop making Judaism a business. After he died, Paul changed all the commandments and opened the religion to everyone. I think Jesus is my brother and the only real faith is our faith - Judaism. All the rest is a wrong interpretation. The first Christians prayed in the synagogue. So why do you change it to a church and eat pigs? You should return to the first Jesus - Judaism.
The question whether Jesus ever thought He was starting another religion is one that none of us can answer sitting here in the twenty-first century. The only individuals who can answer your question are ancient historians who lived at that time. Here are a few significant quotes from them.
The well-known Jewish writer and Roman historian, Flavius Josephus (A.D. 37-100) records in his book entitled “Antiquities of the Jews” in book 18, chapter 3 the following,
Now, there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man. For he was a doer of surprising feats – a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. He was [the] Christ; and when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him, for he appeared to them alive again the third day, as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him; and the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct to this day.”
This is a surprising quote. Flavius calls Jesus a “wise man” and wonders if it is lawful to call him a man. The ancient Roman archives of Pontius Pilate confirm Joesphus’ words that Jesus performed miracles and raised the dead. Jesus was more than just a rabbi. He was more than a miracle worker. It is interesting that Flavius says Jesus “drew over . . . many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles.” Flavius reveals the fact that Jesus was trying to start something new. If Jesus did not want to start something new, why did he continue doing “surprising feats” and teaching? Flavius never calls Jesus God but he does say that Jesus returned to life or became “alive again.” We must remember that Flavius is a Jew when he says, “as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him.” He knew the prophecies about Messiah. Flavius was a Jew and he recorded these words!
There is a surprising statement in two different ancient documents which were written by two different historians. The surprising statement is that darkness covered the face of the earth at the time Jesus died. He died in the afternoon. Early historians tried to find an explanation for the darkness. Some of them thought it must have occurred during a solar eclipse when the moon is between the earth and the Sun. Others realized this was not possible because Jesus died during the Passover at full moon (the moon is behind the planet). It is not scientifically possible to have a full moon during a solar eclipse. The ancient scientists were Phlegon and Thallus. Phlegon was a non-Christian and Thallus may have been one. The event was also recorded in the Roman archives of Tiberius Caesar. Why such an event for a man who let things get away from him?
Here are the words of the prophet Isaiah about the Messiah:
But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities . . . All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; but the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him. He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth; like a lamb that is led to slaughter, and like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, so He did not open His mouth. By oppression and judgment He was taken away; and . . . His generation . . . considered that He was cut off out of the land of the living . . . His grave was assigned with wicked men, yet He was with a rich man in His death, because He had done no violence, nor was there any deceit in His mouth. But the LORD was pleased to crush Him, putting Him to grief; if He would render Himself as a guilt offering . . . the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, as He will bear their iniquities. (NASB) Isa. 53:5-11
Notice that the prophecy predicted that the Messiah would be pierced, killed, rejected by His generation, considered cutoff, die along with wicked men, and be buried in a rich man’s grave even though He was sinless. The Messiah – the Righteous One, My Servant – would be a guilt offering and bear our sins. The Messiah was Jesus!
The ancient historians and politicians – Jew and Gentile – tell us that Jesus was no ordinary man. He performed supernatural dealings and feats. He “drew” people to Himself. At the time of His death darkness came upon the earth and three days after His death, He returned to life. No, Jesus knew what was happening. He did not cancel all of the Mosaic Law. He canceled only the law that could not forgive our sins. When Jesus died, the perfect man died. He was God in order to be sinless and He was a man so that He could die as the ultimate guilt offering. In Jesus’ blood is life – the forgiveness of all our sins. In His blood is eternal life and peace with God if one only believes this is true. He is our God – the Savior of the world!