Question from a reader: Despite all the points you mentioned, the vast majority of Jews at the time (the very people Jesus tried to preach to) rejected
Jesus and the New Testament. What does that tell you?
Either the Jews are right, or Christians are right, not both.
The Bigot’s response: There are over 300 prophecies in the Old Testament about Messiah. Many were about how He would bring peace on earth, vanquish Israel’s enemies, and be a conquering King. There are also prophecies about his lowly birth and humble life, how He would suffer, and that He would bring the gentiles into His kingdom. It’s very difficult to reconcile these two seemingly different pictures of the Messiah. Clearly, many people were utterly baffled at Jesus, His teachings, and the willful submission to the cross. When He rode into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, the crowds lauded Him and shouted “Hosanna” and “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the LORD.” They were expecting and hoping that Jesus was preparing to establish His physical kingdom and finally rid the Jews of the Roman occupation, as so many of the prophecies indicated. But Jesus did not come on a horse- the sign of a conquering king. He chose a donkey instead, the gentle animal that signified peace.
During his first Advent, His goal was to seek and save the lost (that’s me and everyone else.) He established His spiritual kingdom and threw the doors wide open to ANY person who sees Him for the servant King that He is. He has made Himself known to us through His baffling and historical Incarnation. He has laid out unbelievably high expectations for His followers, and He has sent a Helper (the Spirit) who will guide us in all truth. He has not compelled anyone to believe but rather has given us the option, if you will, to choose Him as our King.
Where the Jews right about their expectations? Yes. But the mystery that many first century Jews were not able to unpack, and which still hold mystery for Christians, is that the Messiah is coming again for His second Advent. But next time, it will be on a war horse. It will be as a King who is coming to establish His physical kingdom on earth. And at that time, whether you have acknowledged Him or not, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is King of kings and Lord of lords.
Nearly all of the first Christians were Jews. Jesus and the apostles based much of their apologetics and evangelism on the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament Scriptures). In fact, there were only two forms of “Judaism” that survived the Jewish-Roman war of 66-70 AD: Rabbinic Judaism and Christianity. That’s right; Christianity was considered a Jewish sect until the second century when more people from the Gentile world (rather than the Jewish world) were converting to Christianity.
You are correct. Many Jews rejected Jesus as Messiah. Like today, many cannot see past their own desires about what they would like to have in a God or Messiah so they construct their own. Like the first century Jews, we trim away the parts of God that make us uncomfortable or don’t fit our expectations and we add features that allow us to get what we want from God without having to personally change- the cosmic vending machine if you will. But make no mistake, the story of God (the Bible) exists because God is personal and He wants to be known for who He is. Knowing Him, the Living God, the one who created you and me, is the only way to eternal life after death and abundant life now.
So back to your question. It is not primarily about whether Jews or Christians are right. The question is: “Is Jesus who He said He was?” That is the necessary starting point of every discussion in matters of life and theology. And the answer to that question changes the trajectory of this life and the next.
The above question was posted in response to “How can you base your beliefs on a book that has been translated and edited hundreds of times?”
Also see “Christianity according to Jesus”