SIOUX CITY -- Myron Slobin says a lot of people have mistakenly called him "Marvin" over the years.
In a crowded room, Slobin might not immediately realize the person is referring to him -- much like Jesus might not recognize the Anglicized name "Jesus." More likely, Slobin said, Jesus would be familiar with the name "Yeshua" -- the Hebrew version of his name.
Slobin, the spiritual leader of the Siouxland International Messianic Fellowship (SIMF), said this is one example of many that demonstrates the Jewishness of Jesus and the Judaic influence on Christianity.
"The Jewishness of the New Testament," an ongoing lecture series presented by the SIMF at Aalfs Downtown Library, aims to shine light on the connections between the New Testament and Judaism.
"The purpose of this lecture series is to give people who have, maybe an interest in going a little bit deeper into God's revelation, and what is expressed in the New Testament," Slobin said.
The role of Jewish people in the early Church is often misunderstood or obscured, Slobin said.
"In Jesus' ministry, while he walked the Earth, he spoke primarily to Jewish people," he said.
Oftentimes, Christians overlook the Old Testament in favor of the New -- and Slobin said they're missing something when they forget the first half of the Bible.
"I think a lot of Christians would benefit from that perspective," he said.
"Jesus 33 times references the Old Testament in what he says," Slobin added. "There are over 800 references in the New Testament to passages in the Old Testament. So that alone should point people in that direction, if they up until now have not seen the relevance."
There are other links between Christianity and Judaism that Slobin says the faithful might find interesting -- like the relationship between the Lord's Prayer and an old Jewish prayer.
The next lecture in the series, "The Role of the Church," will be Monday. It will be presented by Paul Andersen, a longtime member at Faith Lutheran Church. After that will be "The Lord's Prayer: A Messianic Perspective," on Feb. 26, presented by Michelle Fiechtner, a convert to Messianic Judaism; "The Christian Fathers and their Views," on March 5, presented by Rabbi Nate Seitelbach, spiritual leader at Adat HaTikvah Tzion in Omaha; "Jewish Customs & Misconceptions," on March 12, presented by David White, a member of the SIMF executive board; "The Jewish Jesus" on March 25, presented by Larry deMalignon, another SIMF executive board member; and "The Old Testament in the New Testament," on April 2, by Jeanne Andersen, a long-standing member of Faith Lutheran Church.
All lectures will begin at 7 p.m. and be no more than an hour long. There will be an audience discussion at the end.