If Jesus really is the Messiah, why are there so many objections?
The number of objections that exists is not important, since there are solid answers to each and every objection, and actually, there are far more arguments for the messiahship of Jesus than against it. In fact, it would take hundreds of books to document the various proofs. But even if there were more Jewish arguments against Jesus than for him (and there are not), what would that prove? Most Jews today don’t even take the Ten Commandments seriously. Do their objections disprove the truth of the Bible or God’s law?
It would be easy to give you proofs from Messianic prophecy, from history, from contemporary miracles, or from my own life that point clearly to the messiahship of Jesus, but let’s be honest. Most Jews today—including the great majority of Reform and Conservative rabbis along with Jewish professors and scholars in general—don’t even believe that the Hebrew Scriptures are the literal Word of God. Many of them don’t believe in the divine origin of the Torah or the binding nature of the Ten Commandments. For most contemporary Jews, therefore, the real problem is not so much with believing in Jesus and following him but rather with truly believing in God and obeying him.
The only thing that our objections to Moses and the prophets—and Jesus—prove is that as a people (including our religious leadership) we tend to stray from the path of truth and obedience. We fought with Moses and Aaron and scorned the words of the prophets. We even disregarded the voice of God himself days after he spoke from Mount Sinai. Why should it be so surprising that we rejected the Messiah when he came? We have a track record of rejecting God’s prophets and laws from the beginning of our history until now.
Just think: Within days of receiving the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai, we broke the very first commandment and fell into idol worship. In the following years, we often spoke about stoning Moses and Aaron, appointing new leaders, and going back to Egypt. We fell into all kinds of sexual sin and pagan practices and regularly disobeyed and disbelieved the Lord. In fact, out of the entire generation that came out of bondage in Egypt, only two men made it into the Promised Land. This is painful but true.
After centuries of disobedience and rebellion, this is how the biblical authors summed things up:
The Lord warned Israel and Judah through all his prophets and seers: “Turn from your evil ways. Observe my commands and decrees, in accordance with the entire Law that I commanded your fathers to obey and that I delivered to you through my servants the prophets.” But they would not listen and were as stiff-necked as their fathers, who did not trust in the Lord their God.
They rejected his decrees and the covenant he had made with their fathers and the warnings he had given them. They followed worthless idols and themselves became worthless. They imitated the nations around them although the Lord had ordered them, “Do not do as they do,” and they did the things the Lord had forbidden them to do. They forsook all the commands of the Lord their God and made for themselves two idols cast in the shape of calves, and an Asherah pole. They bowed down to all the starry hosts, and they worshiped Baal.
They sacrificed their sons and daughters in the fire. They practiced divination and sorcery and sold themselves to do evil in the eyes of the Lord, provoking him to anger. So the Lord was very angry with Israel and removed them from his presence. Only the tribe of Judah was left, and even Judah did not keep the commands of the Lord their God. They followed the practices Israel had introduced. Therefore the Lord rejected all the people of Israel; he afflicted them and gave them into the hands of plunderers, until he thrust them from his presence.
2 Kings 17:13–20
In light of a history like this, is it any wonder we failed to embrace the Messiah when he came? Is it surprising we still reject him to this day? If most Jews around the world today don’t even follow Moses (or are just plain ignorant of what he taught), should it surprise us that most Jews today don’t follow Jesus (or are just plain ignorant of who he was)? Should it seem odd to us that Gentiles in general are more inclined to put their faith in Jesus than are Jews, even though they often have to leave their family religion—Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, nominal Christianity—and frequently suffer great persecution or even martyrdom as a result?
Take a good look at what the Lord said to the prophet Ezekiel:
Son of man, go now to the house of Israel and speak my words to them. You are not being sent to a people of obscure speech and difficult language, but to the house of Israel—not to many peoples of obscure speech and difficult language, whose words you cannot understand. Surely if I had sent you to them [in other words, to the Gentiles], they would have listened to you. But the house of Israel is not willing to listen to you because they are not willing to listen to me, for the whole house of Israel is hardened and obstinate.
This is quite a statement. Maybe the fact that Gentiles, more so than Jews, have historically followed Jesus the Jew is actually a major argument in favor of him being Israel’s Messiah! Maybe if more of us took the words of God more seriously we would take the words of his Messiah more seriously too, as the Lord said to his prophet: “But the house of Israel is not willing to listen to you because they are not willing to listen to me.” Is that the root of the problem?
To you who would classify yourself as a religious Jew, I ask you to think about whether the Rabbinic, oral traditions—as beautiful as many of them may be—have sometimes obscured the words of God written in the Scriptures. To which do you give more attention, the words of God or the words of men? 55 Are you sure you are listening to the Lord? As for Jesus being the Messiah, have the numerous objections to him with which you were raised made it difficult for you to honestly and openly look at the evidence? These are questions worth considering.
55 If you are an observant Jew, then you know the difference—at least in theory—between laws that are mid’orayta’ (i.e., from the Torah, and hence divine in origin) and laws that are mid’rabbanan (i.e., from the rabbis, and hence human in origin). In reality, however, don’t you really put more weight in the traditions of the rabbis, even when they seem to contradict the written Word?