(A disputation between Christian and Jewish scholars – Woodcut carved by Johann von Armssheim (1483) – source)
“For I speak to you Gentiles;
inasmuch as I am an apostle to the Gentiles,
I magnify my ministry, if by any means
I may provoke to jealousy those who are my flesh
and save some of them.”
Christianity began as a Jewish sect with teachings rooted in the Jewish culture and society. After the disappearance of Jesus from the physical realm, one of the apostles started to spread the received knowledge, but the center of the essenian movement was, until the year 70 A.D., Jerusalem, and the majority of community members was Hebrew. In other words, the first Christians were Jews who believed and supported the teachings of Jesus.
When St. Paul wrote the Epistle to the Romans, he spoke to the gentiles to stir up zeal to his own people, the Jews. Certainly, he was referring to those Jewish Christians that retired from the movement and reform initiated by Paul because they were displeased by the fact that the fundamental laws and rules were changing so that it would be easier for the gentiles (non-Jewish Christians).
It is believed that Mark was the gentile with the roman name Marcus, and his mother was Mary, who lived in Jerusalem. Luke was close to Paul and it is believed that he too was a gentile because Paul made a distinction between him and the other Jewish workers.
Paul was convinced that he is the “proper tool” to spread the teachings of Jesus in the world, the reason for which he started doing anything to gather more members into the community. At the end of the second century, the gentile Christians started being more numerous than the Jews and slowly, there were formed two “camps”.
Peter was a defender of the tradition and a devoted Jew, opposing any modification brought by Paul. The answer and tactic of Paul at the protests of Christian Jews and especially of Peter was to facilitate, modify or renounce the ancient laws more and more, so that anyone could adhere to the new movement. In this way, circumcision was abjured as necessity to be accepted; the Sabbath, which was Saturday was moved to Sunday; the strict alimentary rules disappeared totally, and meals that were not even part of the Jewish diet, like pork meat, became something normal. Fasting day became celebration day like at the Romans.
It is believed that Jesus, who was strict in law and tradition, would have never accepted this, but he was not there anymore to stop Paul from the unorthodox modifications that he was making. It was no longer important who entered the community, nor his quality; what interested Paul was the number of members who had to raise without stoping. Peter and the other Jewish Christians became more a minority in the plan of their own sect, and finally even separated from it, this being in fact the first prechristian schism. In this way, Christianity started to detach more and more from the old roots and to become an independent religious power.
At the moment of the Edict of Milan in 313 A.D., given by the emperor Constantine the Great, when Christianity became a state religion and Christians were no longer oppressed, the separation between Christians and Jews became huge and complete. They were and are two different religions and will always be.
The irony of these things is that, like all the other spiritual masters, Jesus did not want this. He wanted to keep the tradition and this is even mentioned in the Gospel of Matthew, where it says that whoever breaks the divine laws will be among the last called to the Father, and when referring to the Laws, it was not only about the 10 commandments of Moses but of the entire Torah which contains 613 laws about the conduct and harmonious life in society.