Geza Vermes in ‘Jesus and the World of Judaism: Chapter 4 – Jesus and Christianity‘ does yeoman’s work to point out how Jesus was a clear adherent of the Judaism of his times. He was not a figure external to Judaism, but internal to the faith of his forefathers.
He followed Torah, in fact, taught on Torah ideals and how to delve further into them. He kept sabbath, purification rituals, and celebrated the festivals (IE: Passover). He had eschatological ideals, along the lines of the Essenes, and was a healer – like Honi from the Galilee. He followed the idea of being an ‘imitator of God‘, which had a rich history inside Judaism at the time. He was in an era when Judaism was making it’s codes for it’s faith and Jesus had his ideas which both differentiated him but also grounded him into the conversation.
It is plausible Jesus taught the idea, alive in Judaism in his era, that Israel would become a ‘light (un)to the nations‘. As David Ariel says about this idea in Reform Judaism ‘stressed that Israel was not only to be a moral exemplar but to see its religion as missionary, with morality as the Jewish mission‘.
Maybe Jesus saw a return to Torah, a better adherence, and building this relationship with God again (like the prophets) would lead Israel to (a) freedom and (b) influence. At this point in time Israel does not have a sovereign state and the religious fervor, apocalyptic in nature, was calling for this type of cleansing. If I am not to be believed surely 2 revolts – 68 CE and 132 CE – over this exact issue are to be considered.
Jesus fits in that mold of Judaism and he is an active participant in that faith. Did Jesus come to establish a whole new religion? This is the crux of the issue in Christianity.
Christianity has become a foreign idea to Jewish ears. Many ideas illegal to Torah have sprung up, accredited to Jesus, like blood atonement, end of the sabbath, Jesus’ equality to God, the law as a ‘curse’, and the overall usurpation/cancellation of Judaism by Christianity as God’s favored system.
Are we sure Jesus taught that? Are we sure Paul taught that even?
It is almost impossible for me to see Jesus as teaching such filth about his own beloved faith, in his Father-son ideas, and in the ideas of imitating God. No one in Judaism would make such claims against a God they proposed to love so dearly, in a religion established by God, and in the words (Torah) handed directly from God to Moses. That is ludicrous thinking.
So we must look at who wanted to usurp Judaism and take it’s integrity/place. This can only lie at the feet of Gentile writers. These writers/compilers never met Jesus nor were they taught in the ways of Torah (Judaism). They were, at best, taught Pauline ideas (who also never met Jesus), which were constructed from his Hellenistic-Jewish background and best interpretation of what he heard. What we find is we have 2nd and 3rd hand sources writing and compiling for the Christian canon.
I am claiming Gentiles complied/wrote/edited the teachings of Jesus (and Paul) so as to bend the faith in their favor. History not only bares this out but so does Christian thought (Philosophical Greek in nature – not Jewish).