Today many people use the internet to collect information of their interest, and we are no exception. Recently I have found a list of questions relating to our subject, where somebody asks a consultant on the Christian portal www.bible.com.ua why Israelis did not recognise Jesus Christ despite all the “hints” they had. The consultant’s answer has seemed convincing and trustworthy to me. The answer well correlates with the present-day reality where for some reason we got the first critical and negative reviews on our publications from contemporary clergymen (see an example), and such opinions are very similar to those of Judaic Pharisees and lawyers who lived two millennia ago. Well, we are not going to draw any accusatory parallels, for our task is totally different.
Why wasn’t Christ recognised? I can somehow understand those who shouted He was a son of an ordinary carpenter, but those who knew every line in the Torah and other texts... After all, the Book of Daniel mentions the name “Jesus Christ”, and they knew His name was Jesus Christ! I cannot understand how one could have said to another one: read the scripture and see that no prophet came from Nazareth. Wasn’t he aware of the Book of Isaiah? It contains so many allusions to Jesus. It is very strange that people knowledgeable in the texts failed to recognise Him, while ordinary fishermen did recognise Him via the law they knew much worse than the Pharisees.
Peace to you! First of all, let’s look into your statements regarding the Bible.
1) No verse in the Old Testament says the promised Saviour would be called Jesus.
2) Jesus Christ is not a name and family name. Jesus was a very popular name of those times, whereas Christ is a Greek word for the Hebrew mashiach. In those days people were expecting the advent of Mashiach (Messiah) Who would save Israel. However, the name of Mashiach could be attributed only to the One Who would implement everything in His life as described in the Torah and the Prophetic Books.
3) I don’t quite understand what you mean about the Book of Isaiah. It seems to contain no predictions about Nazareth, although there are certainly numerous other important predictions about Mashiach, and Chapter 53 is particularly interesting.
Generally speaking, as you have correctly noted, the entire Torah and all the Prophetic Books are full of details on how Mashiach should look and behave. Thus, if we read these texts attentively and impartially, we can easily see that all predictions have fulfilled exactly in the life and personality of Jesus from Nazareth. Hence, as for me, with clear conscience I call Him Mashiach (Christ in Greek) and the Lord. Judaic teachers could have done the same in their time, but they didn’t for some reason. To be more precise, not all of them eventually recognised Him as the promised Mashiach. Why?
Everything is very simple. The thing is that, should they acknowledged Jesus the Messiah, they would have to change their life in accordance with His requirements (Ephesians 4:24). Just read what He taught... at least in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7). He taught that same law, but not in the way the Pharisees did. They adjusted the commandments for themselves to live more comfortably (Mark 7:9), while He taught people to be permanently dependent on the commandments (Matthew 5:17). Do you see? The Pharisees would have had to review and amend all their “educational programs”, eliminate nearly everything they taught and recognise they were mistaken. In the Gospels, every collision between the Pharisees and Jesus was painfully disgracing for those people, although Jesus never wanted to drive anyone into an awkward situation. His teaching always lay heavy on their conscience and insistently required repentance and improvement, but they didn’t want those. Thus, they refused to acknowledge evident proofs of Christhood of the destitute man from Nazareth. Do you know what the most interesting point is? Nowadays we have the same, but as if vice versa. We easily recognise Jesus the Messiah, i.e. Christ, but we fail to understand that Messiah is the One Whom we need to listen to (Psalm 2:12). Hence, we continue our habitual sinful life. We have recognised Him the Lord in words, but in practice we reject Him. So, we are often no better than the Pharisees and lawyers, and if we don’t repent we will end just like they did.
The nearest future will show to which extent the grievous events that took place 2,000 years ago correspond to the present-day reality. Please, follow our publications.
Prepared by Dato Gomarteli (Georgia-Ukraine)