Finding Messiah: A Journey into the Jewishness of the Gospel, By Jennifer M. Rosner
Finding Messiah
  • Length: 224 pages
  • Dimensions: 5.5 × 8.5 in
  • Published: May 24, 2022
  • Imprint: IVP
  • Item Code: A0324
  • ISBN: 9781514003244

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Jesus was Jewish, and his Jewish identity informed every aspect of his work, words, and witness. He came as the Messiah of Israel, God's covenant people, and he spoke the language of God's faithfulness to this people. So why does it seem that Judaism has little to do with our Christian discipleship today?

Jennifer Rosner, a scholar of Jewish-Christian relations, takes us on a personal and corporate journey into the Jewish roots of Christian faith and practice. Understanding Judaism—and the way in which Judaism and Christianity became separate religions—is essential for a rich and holistic Christian identity. As a follower of Jesus who was raised in a Jewish home and who continues to live a Jewish life, Rosner has seen firsthand how a Christian faith can become impoverished when divorced from its Jewish roots. Finding Messiah follows Rosner's own journey in rediscovering the role of Judaism and God's covenant with Israel in Christian life and practice. When we begin to understand Christianity's indelible relationship to Judaism, key aspects of the Christian faith come alive and the wonder of the gospel becomes clear in new and powerful ways.

Jesus' Judaism provides the foundation for the church that is built upon his name. Rediscover the Jewish Jesus, and in so doing, experience a deeper and richer faith than ever before.

"Jen Rosner urges us, having followed the telling of her unfolding story about what her Jewishness means for her faith in Christ, to think back now on our own stories. . . . Rosner has forced me to face issues that I have long been willing to ignore, and I will now continue to face. I am confident that her wonderful book will motivate others to make the journey also."

Richard J. Mouw, former president of Fuller Theological Seminary, from the foreword

"The good news is as Jewish as Jesus is, and Jennifer Rosner's warm, insightful work invites readers to take a fresh look at what this means for their faith. Her exploration of subjects that often have been issues of confusion when considering the Jewish foundations of faith in Jesus, such as ritual purity, holy days, and the apostle Paul's writing, are grounded in both careful scholarship and deeply rooted faith in Messiah Jesus. As a Jewish believer, I am grateful for Finding Messiah and the conversations I know it will spark in the church."

Michelle Van Loon, author of Moments & Days: How Our Holy Celebrations Shape Our Faith

"Look no further. This is the most enjoyable introduction to Jesus and Judaism you will ever find. It is Professor Rosner's personal story of religious exploration through her fascinating life of study and love in California and Israel. It is precise in its account of scholarly debates but also perfectly accessible to nonscholars. Recommended to all."

Gerald McDermott, Beeson Divinity School (retired), author of Israel Matters

"Formative years in the Vineyard movement taught Jennifer Rosner to bear testimonial witness to Jesus in the power of the Spirit. This book testifies of her loves—of Yonah, her husband (theologians fall in love too!), of Jesus the Messiah (here a Jewish person is grasped by his love!), and of historic and contemporary Jewish faith and practice (how one can fall in love with the tradition one was raised in all over again!). Spoiler alert: Christians and Jews, including theologians from both faiths, who read this book will need to be prepared to be challenged by Rosner's powerful theological narrative that cuts right to the core of the biblical message!"

Amos Yong, Fuller Seminary

"This is a book I didn't know I was waiting for. As a Jewish follower of Jesus, Jen has affirmed much of my own experience and bore witness to something meaningful that God is doing. She has challenged me to reconsider things I thought settled and has taught me other things I did not know. She has done all of this in a volume that is brilliantly and cleverly arranged, using the pleasant sharing of her own story as a guide. It is another book that will serve as a marker for the larger conversation about reckoning the Jewishness of the Christian faith and Jewish identity in the world today."

Marty Solomon, creator and executive producer of the BEMA Podcast and president of Impact Campus Ministries

"So much theology is written as though nothing much is at stake. But to read Jen Rosner, the stakes could not be higher: draining Christianity of the poison of anti-Judaism and showing her fellow Jews that she can be a loyal daughter of Sarah and follower of Jesus. I'm not sure which is the taller task! But I do know this: she has written a beautiful and brave and learned book, and you should read it."

Jason Byassee, Vancouver School of Theology, author of Surprised by Jesus Again

"How odd that one of the Bible's main themes—God's love for the Jewish people—is so often missing from textbooks on Christian theology. In this book, Jen Rosner interweaves autobiography, interpretation of Scripture, liturgics, doctrinal analysis, and historical investigation to fill in the gap. The result is an illuminating study that is likely to challenge and change the way you understand the gospel of Jesus Christ."

R. Kendall Soulen, professor of systematic theology at Candler School of Theology, Emory University

"In Finding Messiah, Jennifer M. Rosner deftly weaves together her fascinating story of becoming a Jewish follower of Jesus with her adept theological investigation into the questions and implications surrounding Messianic Christianity. Rosner's attempt to bridge the ancient rift between Jewish identity and Christian faith is timely and important. I thoroughly enjoyed this book."

Brian Zahnd, author of When Everything's on Fire

"Jen Rosner interweaves her fascinating journey as a Messianic Jew navigating the tensions between Judaism and Christianity with an informative discussion of the Judaism of the earliest believers in Jesus. I heartily recommend her work here. Christians everywhere need to learn more about the Jewishness of the New Testament and the necessity of understanding of Jesus and Paul within their original Hebraic context."

Lois Tverberg, author of Reading the Bible with Rabbi Jesus

"In Finding Messiah, Jen Rosner asks what might be the most simple yet significant question facing Christians today: How did the church forget that the incarnate God was an observant Jew? In this powerfully written and illuminating book, Rosner tells both the history of how Christian faith distanced itself from its Jewish roots and relations alongside her personal story of becoming a Jewish follower of Jesus. Along the way, she shows us that we are in the midst of a monumental and long-overdue reconsideration of the relationship between Christianity and Judaism—and why this is crucial for Christian faith."

Drew Collins, associate research scholar at the Yale Center for Faith and Culture, coeditor of The Joy of Humility

Read an Excerpt


Foreword by Richard J. Mouw

Introduction: On Being Monstrous
1. The Parting of the Ways
2. The Excluded Middle
3. Lost in Translation
4. Jesus and Ritual Purity
5. "The Land I Will Show You"
6. Bodies
7. Sin and the Fall
8. Sabbath
9. The Spirit
10. Sacred Days
11. God’s Ex-Wife
12. Paul
13. A Way Forward
Epilogue: The Jewish Gospel

Questions for Reflection or Discussion
Glossary of Jewish and Hebrew Terms


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Jennifer M. Rosner

Jennifer M. Rosner is affiliate assistant professor of systematic theology at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California, where she completed her PhD on the relationship between Judaism and Christianity. She is the author of Healing the Schism and coauthor of At the Foot of the Mountain. She and her family live in Northern California.