Should Jews Believe In Jesus?

“Jews should not believe in Jesus, because . . .”

These were the words emblazoned on the front of a flyer printed by the Hillel Union Of Jewish Students and distributed on the Arizona State University campus.

The flyer continued:

”Jews should not believe in Jesus because:

  1. He was to have saved them from their enemies (Luke 1:69-71), which he DIDN’T!
  2. He was to have saved them from their sins (Matthew 1:21), which he DIDN’T (John 15:24)!
  3. He was to have returned as the reigning King Messiah in that same generation (Matthew 16:27-28), which he DIDN’T!
  4. He was to have come at that time, without tarrying (Hebrews 10:37), which he DIDN’T!
  5. The true Messiah was to be ‘David’s Son’, and Jesus WASN’T (Matthew 1:18)!
  6. The Servant described in Isaiah 53 (which Christians claim was Jesus) was to have lived a long life and have many children (verse 10), and to have had his share of wealth (verse 12), which Jesus DIDN’T! (He died poor and childless at the age of 33.)

Jews should definitely NOT believe in Jesus! The general picture obtained from an impartial reading of the so-called New Testament (not to be confused with the New Covenant described in Jeremiah 31:31-34) is one of a would-be prophet who failed to actualize his claims.

The God of Israel still offers the Jewish soul the greatest hope and challenge.”

A Hebrew Christian friend sent this author a copy of the above flyer and asked for a response. My reply follows:

“A Response to the Flyer, ‘Jews should not believe in Jesus because . . .’

  1. “He was to have saved them from their enemies (Luke 1:69-71), which he DIDN’T!”

The passage referred to is part of the “song” that the priest Zacharias sang at the birth of his son, John (the Baptist). A reading of the entire passage (Luke 1:67-79) reveals that Zacharias did not say that Jesus would deliver the Jewish people of His day from their enemies. What Zacharias specifically said about the Messiah was that He would “. . . give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins” (Luke 1:77), which Jesus did in His first coming.

  1. “He was to have saved them from their sins (Matthew 1:21), which he DIDN’T (John 15:24)!”

Obviously, forgiveness of sin is based on repentance. The Jewish people who have responded positively to the messianic message of Jesus have repented and been saved from their sins. “He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the children of God, even to them that believe on his name” (John 1:11-12).

  1. “He was to have returned as the reigning King Messiah in that same generation (Matthew 16:27-28), which he DIDN’T!”

Jesus stated in Matthew 16:28: “. . . There are some standing here, who shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom. Immediately following this statement, Jesus took Peter, James and John up a mountain where He was “transfigured” before them; and Moses (representative of the Law) and Elijah (representative of the Prophets) appeared with Him. This “transfiguration”, when Jesus’ face shone with unveiled glory, was a foretaste of the future kingdom and was a fulfillment of the promise in Matthew 16:28.

  1. “He was to have come at that time, without tarrying (Hebrews 10:37), which he DIDN’T!” Hebrews 10:37 does not say that Jesus would come again “at that time”, but says: “For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry.” The writer of Hebrews is alluding to the Prophet Habakkuk who had wondered when divine righteousness would be vindicated in light of the suffering he was witnessing. God answered his complaint and bade him be patient (Habakkuk 2:3-4). The writer of Hebrews is simply encouraging his readers with the same message that has encouraged Jewish sufferers throughout the ages: “Be patient and wait.” As a matter of fact, Targum Jonathan paraphrases the Habakkuk passage: “If there is a long period of waiting for the event, keep looking out for it; behold, it will come in its appointed time, and will not be late.” The psalmist reminds us that a thousand years in God’s sight are as yesterday, or as a watch in the night (Psalm 90:4). Peter dealt with the same question in 2 Peter 3:3-16. The apparent “delay” in the Lord’s coming gives further opportunity for people to be saved.
  2. “The true Messiah was to be ‘David’s Son’, and Jesus WASN’T (Matthew 1:18)!”

The genealogy of Matthew one traces the ancestry of Jesus back through David to Abraham by way of His adopted father, Joseph. This would legally qualify Him as a genuine descendant of David, even though He was not Joseph’s “natural” son. For those who may question this, there is also the evidence of Luke 3:23-38 which traces Jesus’ descent from David (Luke 3:31) by way of His mother Mary. In light of the rabbinic ruling determining a child’s Jewishness by his mother’s Jewishness, such evidence cannot be lightly regarded.

  1. “The Servant described in Isaiah 53 . . . was to have lived a long life and have many children (v. 10), and to have had his share of wealth (v. 12), which Jesus DIDN’T!”

Isaiah 53:10 reads: “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.”

To become a “sin offering” plainly implies death, and since He was to prolong His days after becoming a sin offering, it surely refers to life after death, and implies that Messiah must rise from the dead and then live.

His “seeing His seed” was also to follow His becoming a sin offering (dying) first; therefore, it cannot refer to natural seed. Jesus was indeed childless as far as natural seed is concerned, but of this the passage in question does not speak. “His seed” refers to spiritual seed or followers (refer to Psalm 22:31). As to a spiritual seed which was to be the reward of His being a “sin offering”, there have been and are to the present day millions – those Jews and Gentiles alike who have received Him as their “sin offering”.

Regarding the statement that the Servant would have “his share of wealth, which Jesus DIDN’T,” it should be noted that Isaiah 53:12 states that the Servant will “. . . divide the spoil with the strong, because he hath poured out his soul unto death . . .” The wealth referred to was not physical, but the spiritual reward which the Servant received by His victory over death! This wealth consists of the “many” who were justified (declared righteous) because He had borne their iniquities (Isaiah 53:11).

Jews should believe in Jesus, because. . .

  1. According to Genesis 49:10 and Daniel 9:25-26, the Messiah had to come during the days of the Second Temple. Jesus was born, ministered, died and rose again during the latter days of the Temple and even prophesied that it would be destroyed (Matthew 24:1-2).

Jews should believe in Jesus, because . . .

  1. Jesus of Nazareth is the only person in history who fits the portrait of Messiah painted in the Hebrew Scriptures. He was born in Bethlehem (cf. Micah 5:2 and Matthew 2:1-6); His birth involved a miracle (cf. Isaiah 7:14 and Matthew 1:18-25); He entered Jerusalem in triumph and lowliness (cf. Zechariah 9:9 and Matthew 21:1-9); He was rejected by His own people (cf. Isaiah 53:1-3 and John 1:11-12); He was tried, condemned, mocked and crucified (cf. Isaiah 53:7-8; Psalm 22:7-17 and Matthew 27:1-31); and He died as a sin-bearer (cf. Isaiah 53:5-12 and John 1:29).

Jews should believe in Jesus because . . .

  1. Of the dozens of “messiahs” that have presented themselves to Israel during the last 1900 years, only Jesus of Nazareth returned from the dead (cf. Psalm 16:10) and has commended the allegiance of millions of Jewish people beyond His own day.

Jews should believe in Jesus because . . .

  1. The God of Israel still offers the Jewish soul the greatest hope, and of Him it is written, “. . . What is his name, and what is his son’s name, if thou canst tell?” (Proverbs 30:4).

His name is “Immanuel” (“God with us”), i.e., Jesus of Nazareth (Matthew 2:23), Israel’s greatest Son and mankind’s only Saviour.

Jews should believe in Jesus because . . .

  1. In doing so, they are being faithful to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to the prophets of Israel and to their biblical heritage. To the praise of God’s glory, many are believing.

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