A parable: Why don’t Jews accept Abraham Lincoln as their Messiah and worship him?
Christians have wondered for the last two thousand years, often quite vocally and even violently, how is it possible that Jews still do not accept Jesus as their Messiah. Why do Jews refuse to honor him as the “Son of G-d”, as their “Lord and Savior”, and worship him as they did “G-d the Father” in the time of the prophets? Don’t they see all the wonderful changes brought about by Jesus to the human civilization? Is not Jesus’ story, as relayed in the gospels of the New Testament by those who believed in him, compelling? All those miracles! Why can’t Jews see Jesus as their promised messiah and as G-d in the flesh? Is Jesus not worthy of Israel’ adoration, praise and worship?
To help answer these questions, I decided to compose a parable. Parables are useful to relay ideas because they help us approach them from a fresh angle. This parable is not about Jesus. Rather, it’s about another great man of history – President Abraham Lincoln. Before and after his untimely and tragic death, Lincoln was viewed by many as a messianic figure, comparable to Jesus. But what if a new religious movement had sprung up around Abraham Lincoln’s legacy after his death as it did with Jesus? How would Jews respond? Let us explore this possibility…
A parable by Gene Shlomovich
200 years ago, in a tiny one-room log cabin on the Sinking Spring Farm in Hardin County, Kentucky, there was born a man, Abraham Lincoln. His father was a carpenter. He shared a name with a great biblical forefather and this was the foretaste of the greatness that awaited him. True, he started as an unassuming, humble man who kept to himself for the first part of his life, but then slowly rose to greatness and popularity. Although he was a product of his times, he saw the evils of his society and injustices all around him, he rose above all that and sought to end slavery. He had many supporters who shared his vision. They called him their “President”. And later, they called him a “Messiah” and a “Redeemer“. However, he also had opponents, people who opposed him and his vision. They didn’t like what he stood for, they wanted to keep things as they were. They certainly didn’t want him ruling over them as President and so they wanted Abraham Lincoln dead. One day, they sent a wicked man to shoot the great man. Mortally wounded, Abraham Lincoln suffered greatly, spending a day in agony, before succumbing to his injuries. He was a martyr. His followers were distraught and wondered if Lincoln’s vision would go forth. He was shot on Good Friday, and he died the day before on Easter Sunday.
Some of his supporters, few at first, however, didn’t believe that Lincoln really died and claimed visions of the resurrected Abraham. They began to claim that when Lincoln was still alive he told his followers that he was a son of G-d and that the Bible predicted everything about him. The followers also claimed that Abraham foreknew that he would be killed and predicted his own unjust death at the hands of those who didn’t want him to rule over them. The followers also believed that Lincoln had G-d living inside of him in a unique way, and some even thought that his mother was a virgin when she conceived him. The changes Lincoln initiated would last hundreds of years, creating a great society. Only a man of especial holiness, a unique man was capable of such a great feat, his followers thought.
Fifty years later, some of Lincoln’s followers built up a new, great religion, with Abraham Lincoln at its center. They had their opponents, but they would not be stopped. They saw Lincoln as the great liberator who will come again to liberate all oppressed people, not just the black slaves he freed during his first appearance, but everyone who was suffering injustices. They would come to claim that “Lincoln died for us”. They said that because of his divine origins Lincoln deserved their worship; they sang praises to him and prayed to him. They built great monuments to his name.
Lincolnites wondered aloud why did Jews not join them in their worship of Lincoln? Didn’t they also see him in their own scriptures like the Lincolnites did? Lincoln loved them so much, but they won’t return the favor and submit to him? Wasn’t Lincoln a great liberator of slaves, just like Moses? He reached out to those others rejected. Is this not the function of the Messiah that Jews themselves expected? Didn’t Lincoln stand for freedom and liberty, a man of G-d though whom G-d acted? And so what if Abraham’s genealogy wasn’t perfectly recorded and his claimed Jewish descent uncertain? Didn’t King David have a Moabitess for a grandmother? Worship him, Jews – embrace your own Savior and Lord!!! Surely the great G-d of the Jews was not so simple and had room for one more person within Himself. And who is more worthy than Abraham Lincoln?!
Those obstinate Jews, always stiff-necked, doing their own thing, refusing to come in. Didn’t their own scriptures predict that a great man like Lincoln would come one day and not just for Jews, but for everyone who was oppressed? If not Lincoln, then who? Do Jews actually expect someone even greater than him? Look at all the good things his coming has accomplished! And look at all those myriads of their fellow Jews who supported Lincoln as their President – they even saw him as the First Jewish President! Lincolnites grew quite resentful. Jews, however, would not change their ways and insisted to sticking only to the G-d they already knew, and they called the worship of Lincoln an idolatry. Abraham Lincoln was only a man, a mortal man who walked among us, and not G-d, Jews insisted. Jews also were adamant that Lincoln didn’t really fulfill any other messianic prophecies and the world was not really much better after his coming. That was their grave mistake, according to the Lincolnites, and the Jews would pay a price for their error.
Note: don’t forget to click on the linked words for some surprising facts about Abraham Lincoln related to the parable!