Many times I've heard people say that the Ancient Jews were so well versed in Scripture. Yet, without divine assistance, they could not recognize Jesus Christ in the Old Testament.
When Jesus said:
John 5: 39Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.
So, they probably asked themselves, “What? Where?”
Unless Jesus opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, as He did the Apostles, they could not make the connections between the Old Testament Suffering Servant and the Messiah who was standing in front of them.
So, in a way, I feel sorry for them.
Not all, but some, were sincerely following their faith. Then this guy shows up, performing miracles, doing signs and claiming He is God. But what does Scripture say to do with guys like that?
Deuteronomy 13:1If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder, 2And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them; 3Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, .... 5And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death;....
And that is what they did. They put Him to death on the Cross.
It is interesting to consider that this was part of God's plan from the beginning.
God said, "When a man comes to you, proclaiming a God that you don't recognize, you must put him to death."
Then, God came as a man and they did not recognize Him and they put Him to death.
Here's the rub:
Hebrews 9:15 And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.
16 For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.
17 For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth.
God is the Testator of the Old Testament. Therefore, Scripture says that God had to die in order for the Old Testament promises to come into effect.
In other words, the Old Testament Jews could not walk into the promised land until God died.
Heb 11:37 They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; 38 (Of whom the world was not worthy they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.
39 And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise:
40 God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.
They could not receive the promise. They could not enter heaven, until God died upon the Cross. It was all part of God's plan.
Even the Jews knew this. The High Priest made it known:
John 11:49 And one of them, named Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said unto them, Ye know nothing at all, 50 Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not. 51 And this spake he not of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation;
And they put Him to death in accordance with God's plan and He led their Forefathers out of captivity.
Then why were they punished?
The answer is soooo profound. It could only be a work of God. In order to understand, you have to be aware of several things from the Old Testament and from the New.
Let’s start with the New Testament. God says:
Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
The Crucifixion was a double edged sword. For those who love God, it became the greatest of blessings. For those who do not, it resulted in the greatest of curses. You can see this in the Sacraments which were established and which pour out the graces of the Crucifixion to those who love God, but are the source of condemnation for those who do not believe.
Remember, God did not punish all the Jews. Jesus was clear that the Leaders of the Jewish religion were corrupt. They were twisting the Word of God in order to enlarge themselves.
Matthew 23:23 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. 24 Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel. 25 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess.
It is they, and their followers, who were punished when the nation of Jerusalem was destroyed in 70ad. This was prophesied by Jesus:
Matthew 24:2And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.
Now, let’s go to the Old:
Long ago, God prophesied that the Jewish nation would be punished for their lack of faith and their disobedience:
Deuteronomy 28:58 If thou wilt not observe to do all the words of this law that are written in this book, that thou mayest fear this glorious and fearful name, The Lord Thy God; 59 Then the Lord will make thy plagues wonderful, and the plagues of thy seed, even great plagues, and of long continuance, and sore sicknesses, and of long continuance.
It’s an old, old story. And it repeats itself. The Jews did not learn their lesson.
Or did they?
Most didn’t. But some did. As God said through Isaiah:
Isaiah 1:9 Except the Lord of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Gomorrah.
Why was this remnant saved? Because they were faithful. This is what God said to Elijah when he thought that all the children of Israel had abandoned the Faith:
1 Kings 19:14 And he said, I have been very jealous for the Lord God of hosts: because the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away. 15 And the Lord said unto him, Go, return on thy way to the wilderness of Damascus: and when thou comest, anoint Hazael to be king over Syria:….18 Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.
And where is this small remnant?
Have you ever heard of Mary of Nazareth, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus; and Simon the Canaanite?
Have you ever heard of the Catholic Church? That is where you will find the remnant. Those who believed in God and sought His righteousness were given the grace to convert and come into the Catholic Church. That is what I believe.
Romans 2:28 For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: 29 But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.
The result being that:
Romans 2:9 Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; 10 But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile:
So that all, in the Catholic Church, are now the same:
1 Corinthians 12:12 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. 13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.
That is what is so profound. God permitted the unfaithful Jews to Crucify Christ, in order that, by that action, the grace of God would flow to all the righteous Jews and all of mankind, but at the same time, condemn the unrepentant wicked Jews for their crime.
Because, all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
Any thoughts? Please let me know, below.