The Old Testament presented many predictions of the coming of the Messiah. The Jews were waiting for the fulfillment of these prophecies for more than a thousand years. And yet when He came, they knew Him not. Jesus came “as a root out of a dry ground;” He had “no form nor comeliness;” and they saw in Him no beauty that they should desire Him. “He came unto His own, and His own received Him not” (Isa. 53:2; John 1:11).
The Jews fixed their expectations upon worldly greatness. Ever since they entered the land of Canaan, they left the commandments of God, and adopted the ways of the heathen. Every reformation was followed by deeper apostasy.
If they had obeyed the Lord, God would have made them “high above all nations which He hath made, in praise, and in name, and in honor.” “All people of the earth,” said Moses, “shall see that thou art called by the name of the Lord; and they shall be afraid of thee.” “The nations which shall hear all these statutes” shall say, “Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people” (Deut. 26:19; 28:10; 4:6). But because of their unfaithfulness, God’s purpose could be carried out only through continued difficulty and disgrace.
The Israelites were taken captive to Babylon. For centuries they were persecuted until they realized that their prosperity depended upon their obedience to the law of God. But their obedience was not prompted by love. They offered outward service to God as the means of reaching national greatness.
They did not become the light of the world, but instead they closed themselves away in order to escape the temptation of idolatry. They separated themselves from all other nations.
After the return from Babylon, much devotion was given to religious instruction. But these actions became corrupted. And the Jews were conquered by the Romans for their disobedience to God.
But the Jews, in their obscurity and oppression longed for the coming of the One who would conquer their enemies and restore the kingdom to Israel. They ignored those scriptures that pointed to the humiliation of Christ’s first advent, and looked at those that spoke of the glory of His second coming. Pride masked their vision. They interpreted prophecy in accordance with their selfish worldly desires.
They hoped that the Messiah would come as a conqueror, to break the oppressor’s power, and exalt Israel to worldwide state. Thus, the Jews hearts were blinded and they reject ed Jesus as the Messiah.
In His service,
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