Christians believe that Jesus was the messiah promised by God to the Hebrew people. Because of being denied by his chosen people, as a sort of “well take that then”, salvation was offered to the gentiles.
Judaism does not recognize Jesus as the coming messiah. According to Jewish scriptures the messiah will be a fully human being (not supernatural in any way) descended from the line of King David. He will know and be obedient to the commandments of Jewish religious laws. He will be an inspiring and charismatic leader who makes righteous decisions. He will be a great political leader who will command great military leadership and win battles for Israel. Based on their scriptures the messiah must meet the following criteria:
- He must rid the Jews of the Roman rule of occupation and oppression.
- He must restore Jerusalem and cause it to be the center of world government.
- He must restore the political and spiritual prominence of Israel by reuniting all the Jews who had been scattered throughout the world back into a sovereign nation.
- He will rebuild the temple and restore sacrifice and worship.
- He will reestablish the Jewish courts and cause the rule of Jewish religious law as the law of the land.
- He will cause all people to know that the Jewish religion is the only religion.
At the time he lived, Jesus did not meet the prophecies of the scriptures; therefore he was not accepted as the coming messiah. But have those prophecies since been fulfilled?
I think it can be said that Jesus met some of these requirements. It seems obvious that Jesus was an inspiring, influential and charismatic leader who motivated people, later even nations, to follow him. He was a competent judge who made righteous decisions. He was knowingly well-versed in Jewish religious law and abided by the commandments of same. By Rome establishing Christianity as the state religion, the roman oppression against the Jews diminished. The establishment of Israel as a nation which allowed scattered Jews to return to their homeland was greatly affected by leaders of Christian nations. Although Jerusalem is not the center of world rule, it is recognized as the Holy City, birthplace of the rule of Abrahamic religions, of which Jewish religious law has some reverence. The military operations of predominately Christian nations support and protect Israel. Jesus certainly had something to do with all of the above.
What hasn’t been fulfilled is the rebuilding of the temple, the restoration of Jewish courts and a governing world religion based on Jewish religious law, and of course, according to Christians Jesus was a supernatural demi-god, not the mortal man Jews will expect to become the messiah.
Does the role that Jesus played in the history of Israel’s return to a nation make him the messiah? It will remain a matter of opinion. But the life and death of Jesus has greatly benefited the Jewish people and the nation of Israel, more so than any other person at any other time in modern history.