Have you ever wondered why Jewish people reject Jesus? Seriously, have you stopped to truly examine the situation? Would you be surprised to learn that it’s our fault? (And by ‘our’ I mean Gentile Believers.) Well it is.
You see, Jewish people who reject Jesus as Messiah and say He is a false prophet are actually following the Word of God. It is their love for and devotion to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God who rescued them from slavery in Egypt.
Read for yourself the litmus test of a false prophet from Deuteronomy:
You must be careful to do everything I am commanding you. Do not add to it or subtract from it! Suppose a prophet or one who foretells by dreams should appear among you and show you a sign or wonder, and the sign or wonder should come to pass concerning what he said to you, namely, “Let us follow other gods”—gods whom you have not previously known—“and let us serve them.” You must not listen to the words of that prophet or dreamer, for the Lord your God will be testing you to see if you love him with all your mind and being. You must follow the Lord your God and revere only him; and you must observe his commandments, obey him, serve him, and remain loyal to him. As for that prophet or dreamer, he must be executed because he encouraged rebellion against the Lord your God who brought you from the land of Egypt, redeeming you from that place of slavery, and because he has tried to entice you from the way the Lord your God has commanded you to go. In this way you must purge out evil from within. (Deut 12:32-13:5 NET)
Now take a moment to think about what you know of Jesus. He was a healer. He was a miracle worker.
Do you think He did away with the Torah/the commandments? Do you think He taught others to not to follow God’s commandments? Then you agree with God’s Word that He is a false prophet.
But look at what Jesus actually said:
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have not come to abolish these things but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth pass away not the smallest letter or stroke of a letter will pass from the law until everything takes place. So anyone who breaks one of the least of these commands and teaches others to do so will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever obeys them and teaches others to do so will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” (Mt 5:17-19 NET)
I’ve discussed this passage before, so I won’t dwell on it here. Instead, I will point out that He told His followers to obey the Jewish leaders.
“The experts in the law and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat. Therefore pay attention to what they tell you and do it.” (Mt 23:2-3a NET)
So why did He always seem so upset with the Jewish leadership? Besides the fact that He said they were not practicing what they taught (Mt 23:3b), a little background in Jewish history should shed more light on the situation.
When I was in Israel, I learned that the 1st Temple was destroyed because of idolatry. Therefore, the leaders of the 2nd Temple period taught that the people must meticulously follow God’s Torah.
Jesus acknowledged that they were being meticulous about it (Mt 23:1-33) but that rather than the Torah being a life giving delight (Deut 30:15-20), it had become a heavy burden (Mt 23:4).
This is why He cries out, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke on you and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and my load is not hard to carry.” (Mt 11:28-30 NET) (Note: in Judaism, the yoke refers to Torah.)
If Jesus is the Messiah, and I believe He is, then He would have been completely Torah observant and taught others to do the same. If we believe that He came to do away with God’s commandments, then read what the Word of God says about such a one:
Suppose your own full brother, your son, your daughter, your beloved wife, or your closest friend should seduce you secretly and encourage you to go and serve other gods that neither you nor your ancestors have previously known, the gods of the surrounding people (whether near you or far from you, from one end of the earth to the other). You must not give in to him or even listen to him; do not feel sympathy for him or spare him or cover up for him. Instead, you must kill him without fail! Your own hand must be the first to strike him, and then the hands of the whole community. You must stone him to death because he tried to entice you away from the Lord your God, who delivered you from the land of Egypt, that place of slavery. Thus all Israel will hear and be afraid; no longer will they continue to do evil like this among you. (Deut 13:6-11 NET)
So why do Jewish people reject Jesus? As I said, it’s our fault. In our zeal to follow Jesus and separate ourselves from Judaism, Christianity has misunderstood Jesus’ teachings. By doing so we made the Savior of the World, the Holy One, the Redeemer of Israel look like a false prophet and an enticer.