Do Jews need to follow Jesus - or is there more
than one blessing?

Jesus said, "No man can come to me, except the Father who sent me draws him...." (John 6:44) He also said, "if any man hears my words, and believes not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world." (John 12:47) This shows that coming to Jesus in the Christian age is something that is given to individual people as an act of God's grace, rather than a matter of obedience that is expected of all people.

Most Jewish people are not drawn to Jesus. How could they be? If you were a Jew in Jesus' day, you might have known that Joseph had married a woman who was already pregnant, and had adopted Jesus, a boy who he was certain was not his own. And if you had heard that Mary, when asked, had said, "God is his father", you would likely have said like most of the kinsmen in Jesus' community, "Yeah, right."

Then Jesus grows up and the boy whose origins were doubtful becomes the man who can't quite "get it together" as a prophet. (His own family thought he was mad. Mark 6:2-5) One day he gets multitudes to follow him, another day he stumbles most of them by going on and on about how they have to eat his flesh and drink his blood. Later, when his disciples ask why he won't speak plainly to the people, he says in essence, "I don't want multitudes to follow me because I'm not ready to forgive their sins, heal them, etc."

And then, at the peak of his popularity, this on-again, off-again Messiah gets betrayed by one of his own band and put to death as the laughingstock of the community -- the "King of the Jews". And his followers were slinking along in the shadows, obviously embarrassed to even be associated with him.

And so to the first-century Jewish people, Jesus became a scandal -- an embarrassment. (1 Corinthians 1:23) He just didn't fit the mold, and when they compared his message to what they had grown up with, it seemed out of whack. They were looking for a great general to deliver them from Rome, and set up a world-wide kingdom of equity in the earth. The Messiah would be resurrecting droves of dead people, too -- not just one personal friend and only 2 other recorded examples in the Gospels. Jesus just didn't pass their "Messiah" test, (and no one else so far has either).

Christians should think carefully about this

We are well aware that our Christian brethren are squirming about now, wondering how we could ignore some plain statements of the New Testament such as "He now commands all men everywhere to repent", or "Repent, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when times of refreshing shall come.... etc." -- and that "there is no other name given among men, whereby we must be saved." (Acts 4:12) Weren't the Jews given a major preaching of the (Christian) gospel, and weren't the Jews left behind as a nation when only a remnant accepted the message of Jesus?

Yes, and Yes, but other scriptures must be explained in harmony, too.

Paul discusses the matter in Romans 9 to 11 and concludes, "Have they stumbled that they should fall? GOD FORBID!" Paul explains that the lack of acceptance of Jesus by the nation of Israel was expected by God. It was part of his plan. And Israel remains beloved for the fathers' sake -- Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and the others. Paul discusses 2 favors God has in mind for his special people -- a heavenly favor and an earthly favor.

The Jews were offered the heavenly favor first -- Paul calls it the "chief favor" -- the opportunity to be the bride of Christ. A remnant of Jews accepted this offer, but the rest chose not to. Fine -- God sent influences and leaders, starting with the Apostle Paul, whose job it was to exploit the cleavage in Jewish thinking during the first century. Paul called this his "office" -- he would go into a town, preach Christ in the synagogue, create a huge uproar, divide the group into Christians and non-Christians, and then leave. The Christians ended up leaving the synagogues, while the non-Christians stayed aloof. Once this split began, it was only a matter of time before Christianity and Judaism became 2 separate religions, and within a few centuries, after paganism overtook Christianity and got its hands on the levers of power, "Christians" began murdering Jews in the name of religion.

So now we discover almost 20 centuries of reasons why Jews are not drawn to Jesus. It's in the name of Jesus that all these evil people have burned synagogues, raided homes on Christmas eve, burned Jews at the stake, etc.

If you were a Jew in 1492, you would not have known that Columbus was lost, but you would have known that you had to leave Spain or die. Why? Something about Jesus.

In the next century, Martin Luther comes along in Germany, trying to befriend the Jews and tell them how they need to accept justification by faith. (They thought it seemed more logical that a man would be considered good because of his actual deeds, not simply believing in a famous Jewish criminal). So when the Jews rejected Luther's offer, the Protestant leader bitterly lashed out, condemning them to eternal hell and, in the meantime, winking at anyone who might want to cleanse their synagogues with a torch.

Perhaps Luther is the biggest reason why German society came to loathe the Jews, and was willing to blame them for all the world's problems. The Holocaust has definite roots in "Christian" fundamentalism.

What does it really mean to follow Christ?

To follow Christ is to do what he did, and go where he went. That means being a suffering servant, and following him through death all the way to heaven. Is that what the Jews were expecting and hoping?

No, Jews grew up on the promises of Moses and David, the prophecies of Isaiah and Zechariah. These folks saw perfected people, yes, but they also saw a perfected human society, a world at peace, a government headquarted in Jerusalem. They saw universal education, economic prosperity for all, absence of suffering, the vanquishing of all enemies. Jesus did not predict any of these things to those who would follow him, except after their deaths -- and then the picture he painted was something invisible, in the heavens, not a society on this earth.

So that's why we say that Jews do not need to follow Jesus. Jesus is leading, it appears, the last cohort of his followers to heaven in the coming generation. The Jews are not part of that cohort. They will be first in line, though, for the next phase of God's plan -- the blessing of all peoples ON EARTH.

Instead of sacrificing, the leaders at that time will be prominent and powerful. Instead of walking by faith, the leaders at that time will be in direct contact with God, Satan will be bound, and a worldwide society based upon accurate knowledge and obedience to God's laws will be established -- with the Jews, ancient and modern, fully in charge as the human leaders of the "whole family of God, in heaven and earth."

Fellow Christian, leave the Jews alone, and do not preach the way of Christianity, or even the person of Jesus, to them. When Jesus appears in his role of world governor, King Messiah, the Jews will be the first to recognize him. They've been expecting such a king all along -- and that king won't look at all like Jesus of Nazareth did 2000 years ago. He'll look exactly like pious Jews picture in their minds -- a hero King, reigning over the earth from Jerusalem.