The Godhead – Jesus Christ
Most of the Jews affirm that Jesus of Nazareth is not the Messiah, for He did not fulfil the mission of the Messiah as it is described in the Jewish Scriptures. In other words, Jesus did not do any of the things that the Scriptures said the Messiah would do. Let us see then the things that the Messiah - according to the Jews - will do when he comes? The Messiah will bring about the political and spiritual redemption of the Jewish people by bringing the Jews back to Israel and restoring Jerusalem (Isaiah 11:11-12; Jeremiah 23:8; 30:3; Hosea 3:4-5); he will establish a government in Israel that will be the center of all world government, both for Jews and Gentiles (Isaiah 2:2-4; 11:10; 42:1); he will rebuild the Temple and re-establish its worship (Jeremiah 33:18); he will restore the religious court system of Israel and establish Jewish law as the law of the land (Jeremiah 33:15).
Berger and Michael Wyschogrod in their booklet Jews and ‘Jewish Christianity’, whose purpose is to explain why
Jews ought not to become Christians or Jewish Christians, say about the
Messiahship of Jesus: ‘Let us begin with the fundamental belief that Jesus
was – and is – the Messiah. Since the very word Christ means Messiah, this belief lies at the heart of the
Christian faith. But how do we go about testing the claim that Jesus was the
Messiah? The first thing to remember is that the term Messiah gets its basic meaning from Biblical prophecy; it is only
because of such prophecy that people expected the Messiah in the first place.
Any person claiming to be the Messiah must, therefore, be able to pass a very
exacting test: Has he done what the Bible expects of the Messiah? We must begin,
then, by taking a look at the Bible as a whole. How would the Messiah of the
Hebrew Bible be described by someone who had just read the text for the first
time without any knowledge of either Judaism or Christianity? If our
hypothetical friend were a perceptive reader, his first observation would be
that the word messiah simply refers
to any king or high priest who was anointed with oil in accordance with the
custom of ancient
Jesus of Nazareth is the promised Messiah, for He fulfilled the mission of the Messiah which God foretold through the prophets of old. According to the prophetic Scriptures, the Messiah had to die for our sins and rise again from the dead for our justification, and Jesus of Nazareth died for our sins and rose again for our justification.
what the prophet Isaiah said about the atoning death of the Messiah: “For he
shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry
ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we
shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised
and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid
as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem
him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the
chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way;
and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and
he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the
slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his
mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his
generation? for he was cut off out of the land of
the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. And he made
his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his
death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.
Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou
shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall
prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. He
shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his
knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their
iniquities. Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he
shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto
death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare
the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” (Isaiah
53:2-12). The above mentioned words of Isaiah were fulfilled in Jesus of
Nazareth. For those who dwelt in Jerusalem and their rulers condemned Him to
death (even though He had gone about doing good and healing all who were
oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him) and asked Pilate, governor of
Judea, that He should be put to death. Pilate gave sentence that it should be
as they requested, even though he had found no reason for death in Jesus. So
Jesus was brought to the place called
what David said about the resurrection of the Messiah: “My flesh also will
rest in hope. For You will not leave My soul in Sheol, nor will You allow
Your Holy One to see corruption” (Psalm 16:9-10 – NKJV). The words of David
were fulfilled in Jesus of Nazareth, for after three days God raised Him from
the dead, and He was seen by His disciples. Here is what Luke wrote
concerning the resurrection of Jesus: “Now upon the first day of the week,
very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices
which they had prepared, and certain others with them. And they found the
stone rolled away from the sepulchre. And they entered in, and found not the
body of the Lord Jesus. And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed
thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments: And as they
were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them,
Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in
Jesus Himself, during the days of His flesh, declared very clearly that He came into the world to die and rise again from the dead. One day He explained to His disciples that “he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life” (Matthew 16:21 – NIV), and on another day, going up to Jerusalem, He took the twelve disciples aside on the road and said to them: “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death, and deliver Him to the Gentiles to mock and to scourge and to crucify. And the third day He will rise again” (Matthew -19 – NKJV).
In the light of the Scriptures, therefore, Jesus the Messiah did not have to bring about the political redemption of the Jewish people; nor did He have to establish a government in Israel that would be the center of all world government, both for Jews and Gentiles; nor did He have to rebuild the Temple and re-establish its worship; nor did He have to restore the religious court system of Israel and establish Jewish law as the law of the land; nor did He have to usher in an age of peace and righteousness. All these things had nothing to do with the mission of the Messiah. That is confirmed by the fact that Jesus, after His resurrection, rebuked the two disciples on the way to Emmaus, for they had believed that He had come to redeem Israel from the Romans rather than from their sins; hear what He said to them: “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?” (Luke 24:25-26 – NKJV).
Someone may ask at this point, ‘The prophetic Scriptures clearly state that the Messiah had to die and rise again, why then do the Jews fail to understand them?’ Well, the reason why the Jews fail to understand the passages of the Scriptures which speak of the atoning death and the resurrection of the Messiah is that “a veil lies on their heart” (2 Corinthians – NKJV), that is to say, because God has blinded their minds, so that they are unable to understand the Scriptures. However, when Jesus returns from heaven all the Jews will turn to the Lord and the veil will be taken away.