Some believe(d), some did not.
12/8/2016 10:32:47 PM
Why don't Jews believe in Jesus?
Some believe(d), some did not… Christmas, 2016
An angel came to young Mary and told her she was to bear a Child, the Son of God, and she believed. With great faith and quiet devotion, she readied herself to nurse the Baby at her breast and nurture the Messiah, her Messiah, at her dinner table, teaching him the scriptures she revered. Oh yes, Mary believed.
An angel also came to Joseph with a similar message from God, and he believed and acted in great faith to take Mary, (along with whatever ridicule came with her), as his wife. He faithfully waited to consummate his relationship with his wife until after Jesus’ birth, charged by the angel to do so.
Soon, we will read of the angelic choir that announced Jesus’ birth to shepherds on a hillside; they too believed. Astronomers from the east would see the great star and where it had come to rest, and they believed.
But some did not.
Allow me to segue a moment to illustrate the strange juxtaposition of clear evidence vs. traditional thought.
Frances was delightful, informative, relational and passionate about Israel; she was our tour guide who lives in Jerusalem. [In truth, I was so inspired by what I learned from her, that I thought several times of leaving all behind in California, and becoming a tour guide myself of the land, the history, the water, the scripture … I know I could do it! Maybe someday.] She carried her well-marked little Bible with her to quote exact passages of scripture—New Testament as much as Old Testament-- for the context of what we were viewing from our bus window or touching as we drew near a beloved site. I remember distinctly as we were driving through the Judean desert, she pointed out where Jesus went through 40 days of temptation just before he started his ministry. She pointed out the caves where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found in 1947, shoring up the reliability of the scriptures.
>Frances pointed out the area of the Jordan River where John the Baptist likely baptized Jesus.
>When we passed through Migdal, she talked of the ‘woman with the issue of blood’ who
who was told of a rabbi, Jesus, who was healing people. Perhaps he could help her, and he did.
>Frances explained the perfect setting for Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, where multitudes followed him around the Sea of Galilee to hear him teach, for he taught like no other.
>She knew great detail about Capernaum, the well-excavated little town where so much of Jesus’ ministry took place—the synagogue, Peter’s mother-in-law’s little home, and more…
>When we went out on a boat on Galilee, she retold the story of Jesus quieting a raging storm, when the disciples were so terribly frightened.
I could go on, but the point is that Frances pointed out many real places at the excavated locations where Jesus lived, ministered and then died … but is Jesus Frances’ Messiah? The answer is ‘yes’, but ‘no’. While Jesus came for all—Jew and Gentile alike—the choice is left to the individual to recognize him as Messiah, Lord, Savior; Frances does not.
Last week at Women of Passion, I shared a few pictures and rough cellphone video clips from my trip to Israel, and a woman raised the question, ‘with all this evidence for Jesus, why don’t the Jewish people believe?’
It is not a short answer, but permit me to begin with this: many do. Many did. All of the disciples were Jews, all of the early believers were Jews, up until Cornelius, a Roman soldier came to faith. (Acts 10) Have you and I skimmed right past these references in the gospels?
"Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover many believed in his name...
many of the multitude believed in him...
many came to believe in him...
many of the Samaritans believed in him...
a great many of the priests became obedient."
(John 2:23; 7:31; 8:30; 4:39; Acts 6:7)
And then look at this: “Then they said to Paul: "You see, brother, how many thousands of Jews have believed, and all of them are zealous for the law…” Acts 21.20
As for why many Jews have rejected Jesus Christ as Messiah, the short answer, ‘he was different than they expected.’ (More to follow.)
But for now, I must ask you this: has your belief in Jesus as your Messiah made you more like him—i.e., more loving, less judgmental, more compassionate, more humble, more likely to serve others? For that is what will speak to the ‘Frances’’ of this world, whether Jewish or godless. Maybe then more will believe.