Although a defining difference between Christian and Jewish beliefs is that Christians believe Jesus is the incarnate Son of God and Jews do not believe Jesus is the Messiah, a recent survey has surprisingly shown that over one in five Jewish millennials do believe Jesus is the Son of God .
CharismaNews.com reports that the study, which was commissioned by Jews for Jesus and conducted by the Barna Group, is titled Jewish Millennials: The Beliefs and Behaviors Shaping Young Jews in America. The survey found that 21 percent of Jewish millennials (born between 1984 and 1999) believe Jesus was “God in human form who lived among people in the first century” and 28 percent “see him as a rabbi or spiritual leader, but not God.”
Additionally, 42 percent of Jewish millennials who were surveyed said they celebrate Christmas.
Ari Kelman, a professor of Jewish studies at Stanford University, was surprised at the survey’s results:
“These don’t look like Jews I recognize,” said Kelman. However, he continued, “I was not willing to just write them off entirely. Maybe these are Jews we’ve never seen before. We know religion is changing; we know parameters of identity are changing; so why would we expect different generations to look exactly the same?”
For Christians, the survey offers hopeful information.
“This was a generation that was spiritual, that is willing to engage in the subject of whether or not Jesus might be the Messiah. All we can ask for is an open mind to engage with the Bible, engage with the culture and look at the possibilities,” said Susan Perlman, the director of communications for Jews for Jesus.