For many people Jesus is God, but is the reverse true?
Last week I needed to have a document notarized. I took it into my bank where they have a notary on staff. The young woman looked over my paperwork and told me, “For this document you have to swear an oath. I have one that mentioned Jesus and one that does not. Which do you want.”
“I’ll take the one without Jesus,” I said.
After I’d sworn I asked what the oath with Jesus was and how it was different. She read it to me. The only difference was the addition of the words, “so help me God.” For this young woman, God = Jesus.
I was reminded of a class about God in which a rabbi taught that in some Christian communities the members are teach that whenever they see the English word “Lord” in the bible, the original Hebrew says “Jesus”. I was skeptical of that statement and wondered where the rabbi got that idea. But a Christian woman in the class spoke up exclaiming, “It DOESN’T?” That was indeed what she had been taught.
It is important for us as Americans to remember how thoroughly our culture is Christian. For so many people the God they love – or reject – is a Christian one.
Jews must remember that it is highly unlikely that the person equating God with Jesus is being mean; they probably have no idea they are discomforting you. For non-Jews it is important to remember how inundated your Jewish partner is with Christianity. Notice the synonymous relationship between “religion” and “Christianity”, and between “God” and “Jesus” in our society.
If we keep these things in mind our communication with be improved and we will be more patient with each other.