The majority of Jews rejected Jesus as their Messiah, but is important to recognize the first to believe in Him were a relatively small group of Jews. Though Israel had been promised a Messiah and Savior – which were fulfilled in Jesus Christ – multitudes of Jews rejected Him and even persecuted the early Jewish church (Acts 7:59-8:1 ).
The Jews were under the heel of the Roman Empire at Jesus’ time. Their nation was occupied and they were waiting for a leader to arise to rescue them. They were focused on the hope of a Conquering King and many overlooked the prophecies of a Suffering Servant. Many in Israel did not look beyond their desire for immediate victory.
Most Jews found their righteousness in Law obedience, and a few sought God’s mercy and accepted Jesus’ redeeming sacrifice on the cross [Romans 9:30-33]. The Christian life is not about rules and rituals, but the relationship with Jesus.
Religious leaders had status and property to protect, and feared the Romans would find an excuse to take over the temple and religious life [John 11:47-53]. Jews sacrificed Jesus to keep their control, and Early Christians strived to help the poor [Acts 2:42-45].
After spending millennia desperately waiting and anticipating His arrival, most Jews didn’t recognize Jesus. They had studied the Old Testament and knew the Messiah was supposed to be a political leader that expelled their enemies out of their territory, reestablished the Jewish nation, and brought peace and prosperity to God’s chosen people. Jesus’ purpose on earth was to bring personal peace between people and God and that peace was also for the Gentiles.
The Jews rejected Jesus as Messiah because it was inconceivable God would incarnate and dwell among them. Therefore It was a complete heresy for any man to claim He was God.
The apostles were Jewish, it is estimated a quarter-million Messianic Jews live in the U.S. and Israel still has a role to play in the millennial kingdom. Jews will flock to Israel (Ezekiel 34:11-13) to accept Jesus as their Messiah (Zechariah 12:10), and Jesus will rule the world from Jerusalem (Isaiah 2:4) and bring peace to the nations (Isaiah 11:6-9).
The Antichrist is already in Rome, he knows the Jewish messianic expectations and will strive fulfill them as an impostor of Jesus Christ.
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