THEOLOGY & APOLOGETICS
Jesus and the Jewish Messiah, Part 2
Revealing the Jewish Messiah
By Rabbi Robert
Part 1: The History of Jews, Jesus, and Christians
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So here are my tips for witnessing to Jewish people. I wish that I could explain each one in detail but space will not permit.
You must show Jesus to be five things that the Jewish people expect the Messiah to be. The Jewish Messiah must be a prophet greater than Moses (Deuteronomy 18), a priest on the high order of Melchizedek (Micah 5:2), a King (Luke 19), a man (Isaiah 9:6), and God (Matthew 26:2) himself. Now you and I know that Jesus met each of these requirements. There are many additional Scripture references for each of these titles.
Jesus was a prophet greater than Moses. This is a tough one for Jewish people. After all Moses freed them from slavery, Moses gave them the word of God. Moses represented God to the people and the people to God. Moses took them to the Promised Land! Who — in the Jewish mind — could be greater than Moses?! Jesus is a greater prophet in that he frees us from the bondage of death and sin. Jesus didn't represent God — he was God! The living word! Jesus doesn't just lead us to the Promised Land he takes up to heaven for eternity! For these and many more reasons, Jesus is a prophet greater than Moses.
Jesus was not a Levite and only Levites were allowed to be priests. So how can Jesus qualify as a priest? Jesus was a priest on the order of Melchizedek (Genesis 14). Notice that Melchizedek was a priest of the Most High God — but there were no Jewish places of worship at that time so where was he a priest? Melchizedek's very name is Hebrew for King of Righteousness. Scripture tells us that no one is righteous except God the Father. Melchizedek was also called the King of Salem, which is Aramaic for King of Peace. So if Jesus is called the Sar Shalom=Prince of Peace, the King must be his Father. Abraham gave Melchizedek a tithe. Who do we tithe to? God. Scripture tells us that Melchizedek had no beginning and no end, no parentage. God the Father was the Ancient of Days with no beginning and no end. The same is said about Jesus in the Book of Hebrews with respect to beginnings and ends. Melchizedek was a theophany, God appearing in the flesh just like he did in Genesis 18 to Abraham and why Abraham recognized him as God (Abraham actually referred to God by his Holy Name in Genesis 18, Yud, hay, vav, hay known as the Tetragrammaton). Thus as a priest on the order of Melchizedek, Jesus was a priest greater than the Levites. He was a heavenly priest able to make a final sacrifice and remove sin, not just cover our sins.
Notice something else about Abraham's interaction with Melchizedek. In Genesis 14:18, Melchizedek brought out bread and wine and shared it with Abraham as a ritual. Nowhere else in Scripture is bread and wine used as a ritual until Jesus and his disciples share it at the Seder meal (Last Supper). The first time bread and wine is used as a ritual is with God the Father and Abraham, the father of redemption, and then it becomes clear that the ritual will serve as our communion when Jesus shares the same ritual with his disciples. There is an Alpha and Omega moment!
Jesus must also be a King in order to be the Messiah. When Jesus was born the Magi came looking for — not just any King — but the King of the Jews. When Jesus was taken to the Temple to be dedicated, Simeon said that he could now die in peace because God fulfilled his promise that Simeon would not die until he beheld the Salvation of Israel and the light to the Gentiles. During his trial before Pilate, Jesus did not defend himself except to answer affirmatively when Pilate asked if he was the King of the Jews. Jesus replied, "It is as you say." Jesus told the people that his kingdom was not of this world. And finally Jesus died with a sign above his head stating the truth, "Jesus King of the Jews."
But Jesus also had to be fully man to be able to atone for our sins. He had to be tempted in every way and remain perfect in order to be a perfect sacrifice for us. Hebrews 2:14-18 says:
Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death — that is, the devil — and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham's descendants. For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.
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Image Credit: Microsoft Clipart
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