“Not a Jew!”: Unlikely Believers in the Bible
by Allen Yeh
Adam Sandler has a famous series of songs called “The Hanukkah Song” (you can see all three versions on YouTube) where he lists a lot of celebrities who are Jews, like Henry Winkler, Leonard Nimoy, the Three Stooges, Winona Ryder, Bob Dylan, Jack Black, Paula Abdul, and Natalie Portman. But then he also lists people like O.J. Simpson, Bruce Springsteen, and Marlon Brando, each of whom he humorously calls, “Not a Jew!”
I think you can also do the same for the Bible (how’s that for an irreverent segue?). Most of the heroes in the Scriptures are Jews: Jacob, Joseph, Elijah, Moses, David, Isaiah, Peter, John, Paul. But not exclusively. How about Adam, Noah, Job, Melchizedek, or Abraham? “Not a Jew!” That’s right, though it may not be surprising to find Gentile believers in the New Testament like Luke (after all, he’s friends with Paul the apostle to the Gentiles, and he also wrote the book of Acts), there are quite a few non-Jewish believers in the Old Testament too!
In addition to the five OT characters listed above, try Zipporah (Moses’s wife) who was a Midianite; Ruth (Naomi’s daughter-in-law) who was a Moabite; Rahab (who helped Joshua’s spies) who was a Canaanite; and Bathsheba (David’s wife) who was a Hittite. Each one of them: “Not a Jew.” And if you read the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew (the Jewish Gospel), those last three women are all listed as ancestors of Jesus! So yes, our Messiah had a lot of “mudblood” (to use a Harry Potter reference) ancestry. Isn’t it shocking that the most Jewish of the four Gospels would highlight this fact? Multiethnicity is part of the ethnic makeup of our Savior…
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