Why didn't some Jews accept Jesus?


How and why did the Jews miss the boat about Jesus?


The prophetic writings about the messiah were understood by the Jewish nation as a human king, not God. They expected a great king and military commander who would reestablish Israel as a world leader. When Jesus came, His message was that His kingdom was not of this world, that He was God, that we should love our enemies, these are things the Jewish people didn’t want and couldn’t understand.


They were looking for Saul, rather than David.

Peace and God bless!


Funny, I always thought that some Jews did accept Jesus. :wink:


Imagine this:

You are a 1st century Jew. You have been raised from birth to understand that there is one God, that God is One. It is a matter of pride, almost, that your God is not even remotely similar to the “gods” of the Romans, or the Greeks, or the Egyptians, or any other culture that claims “gods” who demonstrate human foibles.

Now imagine some guy shows up, using titles for himself that are reserved for God alone (I AM), claiming Sonship with God, and preaching an image of the Messiah that flies in the face of what you’ve been taught.

THEN throw in the whole “God decending upon a Virgin to conceive a child” part, and it smacks of Zeus or Jupiter, or any false god from a Gentile pantheon.

Frankly, I think it speaks volumes about the power of Jesus that ANY Jews were able to accept him as God. It would be akin to a something that resembled a space alien, decending from some place that looked like outerspace in something that could be described as a shiny ship, saying he’s Jesus returned for the Judgement. How many of us would embrace that?

As a 1st century Jew, you knew that you were among the only people chosen by God. He chose you to form a covenant. He chose you to reveal his Sacred Name. He chose you to nuture through the Mosiac Law, the priesthood, and the prophets. Then to have God walk among you, saying that the Law was fufilled in Him, that the priesthood was corrupt, saying such things that many accused Him of being insane…when you consider all this, it isn’t too hard to understand why some Jews didn’t accept Jesus.



I think you hit the nail on the head Cari. If some bum in a toga with long hair and a beard walked to my front door and told me that he was Our Lord returned for the Judgement, I would scream heresy faster than I could slam the door in his face. It’s not hard to imagine a first century Jew would do the same.


It’s worth pointing out that studies of Roman records indicate that the majority of Jews likely DID become Catholics, or at least ceased to be practicing Jews and their descendents became Catholics. The self-identified Jewish population of the Roman Empire shrunk by millions between the death of Christ and the fourth century, while the population of Catholics exploded during the same time.

There is no indication of mass slaughter or emigration out of the Empire on the part of Jews; they stayed put, but most of them stopped identifying as Jews. It’s not at all unlikely that they account for a significant portion of the early Catholics. There are even cases such as the people of Ethiopia where this is not mere speculation, but demonstrable fact (the Ethiopian Catholics and Orthodox still keep many of the Jewish cultural practices, such as keeping kosher, to boot).

So it’s more correct to say that the ancestors of those we call “the Jews” today rejected Jesus as the Christ, rather than that the Jews of the time as a whole rejected Him.

Peace and God bless!


Have you any reference for that?

The only one I can come up with assumes it and suggests that it’s the reason for Jews having a high average IQ - the dumb became Christians while the intelligent remained Jews.


While I find that part of the argument convincing :stuck_out_tongue: I’d really like to know about these ‘studies of Roman records’, exactly what they show and exactly when they show it happening.


I think you missed the Jewish uprisings against Rome in 70ce and in 132ce resulting in the decimation of the Jewish population of Israel


Yes, I have read this some place before, can’t now remember where. It seems to me that many, perhaps most Jews, did become Catholics.

All of the original followers of Christ were, after all, Jewish. Jesus himself, as well as all his disciples and all of his initial followers. He preached only in the Jewish territory, and attended the temple and preached in the synagogues. When Paul began spreading the gospel to Gentiles, it was at that time a novelty.


The population of the Roman Empire in Jesus’ time was something of the order of 95 million people, by the time of Constantine it had dropped to about half of that. I would need to go back and find my source in order to cite the publication. It was a history of the Jews in that period if I am not mistaken. Also I seem to recall that in that same time period the proportion of Christians to pagans shifted pretty dramatically despite the persecutions.


this is an interesting question on a personal level.

It takes me a long time to catch on to things, years in fact. That’s the story of my life.

Even knowing what I know now, I don’t know if I would recognize Jesus today if He were right in front of me.

Even the best Catholics among us fail every day. Fr. Pavone was hammering Catholics last election to vote for the pro-life candidates, and that no other issue came close in importance. Are we all convinced of that fact now? Has that former candidate delivered to us?

Would I have stopped to notice Jesus two thousand years ago? Blessed I would be if I had. I don’t know if I would have been a good Jew of the day. Even His hand-picked disciples fled from Him. If they fled, I would probably be abreast of them going in the same direction.

To have followed Jesus then, you’d have to loosen your hold on the leadership of the priests and scribes in the Temple, it seems. You’d have to radically leave father and mother and brother and sister to follow Jesus. And, then, you’d have to have solid faith after He died, rose, and ascended. After all, there’s Herod’s Temple, up there on the mount. It’s pretty impressive. Where do we go now?

You mean, the book on the last couple thousand years of Jewish history is over? Where are we? Jesus is one thing, but now He’s gone. Who do we follow? that guy over there, who’s leaving town soon? What does it all mean?

You’ve really got to have Jesus’ teaching in your heart to follow Him. I think that’s what impresses us about that period of time.


Jesus, in speaking in refernce to those Jews and cities and towns in Israel which had witnessed his steady stream of stupendous miracles, said:

If I had not come and done among them
works which no man ever did,
they would not be guilty of sin…

…for rejecting him.

So, Jesus wasn’t just a guy in a toga with a beard.
He fed multitudes with 5 loaves and 2 fishes,
cured tons of people of serious illnesses, blindness, deafness,
raised the dead repeatedly, and cast out demons.
When the Jewish laypeople were impressed by this,
the Pharisees would snort, “He casts out the demons only
by the power of Beelzebub, the prince of the demons,” and thus undermine the incipient faith in Jesus of the Jewish crowds.

The religious leaders of the 1st century were largely to blame, with their emphasis on legalistic externalism.
And even despite this, many many thousands of Israeli Jews did become Christians in the first century.


Largely because Jesus chose to accept crucifixion rather than fight and ask the Father to send twelve legions of angels to His defence. That is certainly the reason given in the New Testament. The cross is “to the Greeks folly, to the Jews a stubling block they cannot get over”.

Whilst we don’t know exactly how much political influence Jesus had, and He would certainly have had rivals, the majority of Jews would have lined up with a Messiah once he had shown some signs of being able to defeat occupying forces, maybe even before then. Even Herod was hoping to see a miracle.


A very small percentage of the Jewish population even heard of Jesus while he was alive. Out of those who heard him, the majority never heard him proclaim to be God or the Messiah.
Those that heard him proclaim to be the Messiah would have most likely adopted a “wait and see” attitude, as he hadn’t fullfilled the relevant prophecies.

To suggest that millions of Jews then converted to Christianity is a massive, gross overestimation, unless you believe virtually every Jew that was alive converted. Clearly not the case.


How many?

cured tons of people of serious illnesses, blindness, deafness, raised the dead repeatedly, and cast out demons.

How many? Every doctor was casting out demons.

The religious leaders of the 1st century were largely to blame, with their emphasis on legalistic externalism.
And even despite this, many many thousands of Israeli Jews did become Christians in the first century.

Really? how many? If I recall Paul’s frustration correctly, his main reason for turning to the gentiles was that his message was rejected by the Jews.


If I were to call you an idiot (I wouldn’t) and puncuate it with a :thumbsup: , would that make it ok?


I was referring to the thousands who are reported to have converted after Pentecost. I don’t accept the view, either, that “millions” of Jews converted to Christianity. That just didn’t happen.


Valke2, what are the “relevant prophecies” he hadn’t fulfilled in the eyes of the Jewish people? thanks in advance.


He wasn’t a military leader. He didn’t win battles or go up against the enemies of the Jews. He didn’t oversee the return of all Jews to Israel.

Those are some of the things the Jews were looking for in a Messiah. That is why, if he had told the Jews he was the Messiah, many would have taken a “wait and see” attitude.

I know that there are explanations as to how Jesus did in fact fullfill these and other requirements. But those are christian explanations that are not accepted by us and were certainly not sufficient for (most) a 1st century Jew.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.