How do we know that Jesus was the Jewish Messiah?
There are approximately 15.2 million Jewish people in the world today. The vast majority of them are still awaiting the arrival of the Messiah or “Meshiach.” How do we know that Jesus was the Messiah of the Jewish people?
The Hebrew Bible describes the Messiah in great detail. These writings contain specific information about his lineage, the place of his birth, and other important identifying characteristics.
According to the scriptures:
Jesus fulfilled these prophecies regarding the Messiah’s lineage and birthplace. He also matched the verses describing the lifestyle and time period in which the Messiah would appear.
According to the scriptures:
Furthermore, Jesus clearly claimed to be the Messiah in the Bible. In one story, when Jesus encounters a Samaritan woman:
“The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.” Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.”
Jesus’ disciples, companions and followers were all Jewish and acknowledged him as the Messiah for their people. The disciples of Jesus were so certain, in fact, they went to their deaths preaching that Jesus was the Messiah. The question then becomes, if Jesus fulfilled so many prophecies about the Messiah, why didn’t all of the Jewish people accept him as such?
The people rejected Jesus because he did not do what they expected the Jewish Messiah to do. He did not deliver the Israelites from their enemies, destroy evil, and establish an eternal kingdom with Israel as the preferred nation in the world.
The Jews believed that the Messiah, the savior figure prophesied by Moses and the other Hebrew prophets, would deliver them from the Romans and set up a kingdom filled with peace and justice. It is clear from the scriptures that Jesus’ disciples believed that Jesus, as the Messiah, would accomplish this. Two of the disciples, James and John, even asked to sit at Jesus’ right and left in His kingdom when He came into His glory (Mark 10:35-45). The people also expected Jesus, as the Messiah, would deliver them. They shouted praises to God for the mighty works they had seen from him and called out, “Hosanna, save us,” when He rode into Jerusalem on a donkey (Matthew 21:9). They treated Him like a conquering king. Then, when he allowed himself to be arrested, tried, and condemned to death, the people stopped believing that he was the promised savior and they rejected their own Messiah (Matthew 27:22).
Jesus was, in fact, supposed to establish an earthly Kingdom of God, just as God had promised. Jesus was meant to establish a new and everlasting covenant with the Jewish people, a fact which he referenced in the gospels (Luke 22:20) (Matthew 26:28) (Mark 14:24). However, the Jewish people broke their covenant with God. One of Jesus’ twelve disciples, Judas, conspired with the Jewish high priests and sold Jesus out, setting in motion the events which led to the crucifixion. This caused the covenant to be taken away from the Israelites.
Jesus warned about what would happen if the Jewish people rejected him. Just consider this passage from Matthew 21:
Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures:
“‘The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvellous in our eyes’?
“Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit. Anyone who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; anyone on whom it falls will be crushed.”
When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard Jesus’ parables, they knew he was talking about them. They looked for a way to arrest him, but they were afraid of the crowd because the people held that he was a prophet.
This is exactly what happened. Jesus was meant to bring a new covenant to the Israelites (see Jeremiah 31:31-33). However, because they rejected him, they lost the covenant and it was given to someone else.
To read more about the true story of the crucifixion and how the covenant transferred from the Israelites to the descendants of Ishmael, see the articles “The Bloodline of Jesus Part 1” and “The Bloodline of Jesus Part 2”
Promises are conditional.
The condition to the promise is that the person remains in the same state of mind and heart he was in when he received the promise.
If they remain in the state, the promise will come true.
Consider the stories of the prophets and messengers. Moses promised the Israelites that they would enter into the holy land. Due to their lowly behavior, things changed and it was the next generation that entered the promised land instead. Abel was meant to be the successor of Adam but due to the actions of Cain, Seth became Adam’s successor. Time and time again the stories of the prophets and messengers have shown that promises changed based on the condition and actions of the people.
If the Israelites would have supported Jesus and given victory to God, he would have delivered them from Roman bondage and established a messianic kingdom of peace and prosperity.
This promise was not fulfilled on the part of the Israelites, therefore things changed. This cannot be used as an argument against the truthfulness of Jesus as he was and always will be the promised Messiah of the Jewish people.