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Questions and Answers | Jewish People and Jesus

Why don't Jewish people believe in Jesus?

Some Jewish people do believe in Jesus. In fact, Paul uses this as a proof that God hasn’t rejected the Jewish people (Rom. 11:1). He goes on to say that there will always be a remnant of Jewish people who will believe because they are chosen by grace (Rom. 11:5).

For Jewish leaders of first century, Jesus was not the kind of Messiah they were expecting. They wanted a political and military deliverer to liberate them from Rome, not a sacrificial Redeemer. But if you ask your Jewish friends today why they don’t believe, that’s probably not what they would say. They might not even know why most Jewish people don’t believe in Him.

But there is one special reason. It is the antisemitic history of the church. Great Church Fathers and Reformers spoke terrible words about the Jewish people. The Crusaders killed many Jewish people in the name of Jesus. Even many professing Christians participated in the Holocaust. Why would a Jewish person want to follow a teaching that promoted hate? As a result, Jewish people feel as if they are committing cultural suicide by believing in Jesus.

Believers need to adopt a loving and caring attitude toward Jewish people. We need to take a strong stand against antisemitism. When we present Jesus, we must demonstrate His love for His own people. And our lives need to be so transformed by knowing the Lord, that Jewish people will be “envious” of our faith (Rom. 11:1). This is what Paul meant when he said Gentile followers of Jesus should make the Jewish people envious of the salvation Gentiles found in Jesus, the promised Jewish Messiah.

BY Dr. Michael Rydelnik

Dr. Michael Rydelnik is a professor of Jewish Studies at Moody Bible Institute and the host of Moody Radio’s Open Line with Michael Rydelnik. He is the author of 50 Most Important Bible Questions inspired by both his radio show and his columns for Today in the Word. Michael served on the translation team of the Holman CSB Bible and contributed to several other books and study Bibles. Michael also appeared in the Lee Stroebel video The Case for Christ. Michael and his wife, Eva, have two adult sons. The Rydelniks live in Chicago, Ill.

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