What sparked the beginning of who is jesus develop out of first century Judaism? Christianity developed quite naturally out of first century Judaism based on two key factors. Firstly, Christianity finds its roots and basis in Judaism, and more specifically, in the sacred Jewish texts, the Old Testament. Christianity stringing up out of Judaism and bearing fruit was as natural as an olive tree yielding its bounty. Additionally, the Apostle Paul, a very learned Jewish scholar and Pharisee, was used to highlight and document the intellectual connections between the two religions and to spread the faith among the non-Jews. First century Christianity looked very much like first century Judaism in many regards. The development of Christianity is due largely to the Apostle Paul’s work.
As stated, firstly, the beginning of Christianity and the early history of Christianity is dependent upon the holy texts of Judaism. That Christianity owes its foundation and plausibility to Judaism and the Jewish scriptures is an unquestioned fact. Jesus, Christianity’s central figure, and both early and modern Christians alike, referenced the Old Testament scriptures firstly, and repeatedly to justify their own beliefs.
Jesus, himself, based his whole ministry on the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies. Two pertinent passages from the New Testament are Luke 4:16-21, and Matt 8:16-17. In them he references the well known Jewish prophet, Isaiah (Is. 16:1-2 and Is. 53:4, respectively). Notice the latter:
“16 When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick. 17 This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: “He took up our infirmities and carried our diseases.”” Matt. 8:16-17 NIV
The New Testament, the Christian scripture, portrays Jesus as having quoted directly or indirectly, or alluding to the authority if the Old Testament Jewish texts to support his actions and claims well over 100 times. In doing so, he referenced significant people from the Jewish texts, significant places, and the major prophets of the Jews. Additionally, he used the term “The Law and the Prophets” and the term “Scriptures” when justifying himself and his message. Anyone living during first century Judaism understood and instantly recognized these references. Simply put, the beginnings of Christianity and the early history of Christianity are built upon these foundations.
Modern scholars would say that first century Judaism paved the way for first century Christianity. The later was not possible without the former. The roots of Judaism simply gave life to the tree of Christianity.
Equally important to the development of Christianity was the work and ministry of “Saul of Tarsus”, later known as the Apostle Paul. Paul began his ministry after literally being ‘knocked off of his high horse’ by the risen Christ (see Acts 9). He became the chief believer in the “faith he once tried to destroy.” (Gal. 1:22-23) He could have easily been a poster child of first century Judaism. As such, Paul was especially suited for his grand role in shaping, defending and defining the new faith. In defending his claims before a court of Jewish leaders, he stated the following: