Apologetics, Faith, Issue 28

Dig Deeper: Why Did The Jews Reject Jesus?

Dig Deeper: Why Did The Jews Reject Jesus?

“And one day, the Messiah will come to make everything right again,” Dad said, as he recounted her favourite story to her once again. “Do you remember what ‘Messiah’ means?” Dad cheekily asked.

She giggled. “Of course I remember! It means ‘Anointed One,’” she announced loudly. “But Dad? When will that day come? We’ve already waited so long.”

Dad chuckled and held her hand within his.

“He will come soon, beloved,” Dad whispered as he patted her hand. “When He does, He will restore Jerusalem and make all things right. He will redeem Israel and make it a new, powerful kingdom. The Messiah will be our triumphant King.”

Who were the Jews waiting for? 

While there had been various messiahs in their history (e.g. David became an anointed one in 1 Sam 16:13) and differing ideas about what a messiah does, the Jews of Jesus’ time were anticipating the Messiah’s arrival. The Messiah (i.e. the Christ) would be a king like David who would rescue them from the control of the Roman empire and establish a new kingdom (Ps 2).

Why was Jesus rejected as the Messiah?

Instead of arriving as a triumphant king, Jesus came as a Suffering Servant (Isa 53). Rather than being heralded as a great military or political leader, he was “despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain… He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth” (Isa 53:3, 7). Since Jesus did not overturn Roman rule, many Jews did not recognise Him as the hoped-for King. He was seen at best as a rabbi, and at worst as a rebel.

What next? 

Christians believe that the Messiah has already been sent by God and His name is Jesus. When Jesus came down to earth, He did not come as a powerful king, but rather as a vulnerable baby tucked in a manger. He came to take our sins by dying on the cross so that we may be saved into His kingdom. As we wait for the Messiah to return for us and finally rule over a new creation, let us live out and share with others all of His teachings, standing firm in our identity as children of God through faith in Jesus and always seeking to serve others. Should you have the privilege of meeting a Jewish person, try having a conversation about how it was unique that Jesus came as a servant and a ransom for many (Mark 10:45). Listen carefully to what they know and share what you believe!

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