As a Bible teacher, I am frequently asked why the Jewish people rejected Yeshua, one of their own countrymen. I believe there are many reasons why God’s chosen people rejected our Lord as Messiah, not the least being the fulfillment of Bible prophesy. The Jews longed for a political messiah, who would deliver them from Roman oppression. In short, Yeshua did not bring the prophesied peace that the people longed to experience so they turned away from Him in anger, distrust, and ignorance.
In their opinion, Yeshua was simply another false teacher, making blasphemous messianic claims, a crime worthy of death by stoning according to the Mosaic Law (Lev 24:16). Every time Yeshua spoke the emphatic words "I AM," (from the seven great "I AM's" in John's gospel), He echoed the words His Father spoke to Moses long ago (Ex 3:14). In other words, Yeshua claimed to be the God of the burning bush! How dare He make such a preposterous declaration!
There was also the matter of confusion concerning the first and second comings of the Messiah. The religious leaders failed to interpret Scripture properly concerning the specific prophetic details. Instead of a conquering king, the Father sent a newborn babe to be the Savior of the World.
In addition, the Pharisees and Sadducees were extremely jealous of Yeshua’s miracle-working power and growing popularity among the peasantry of the land. Our Lord made the hypocritical religious leaders appear foolish and sinful in the eyes of the common people.
A Pentecostal pastor/friend shared an interesting experience with me a couple of years ago. While fasting with the men of his congregation during Yom Kippur, he asked the Lord why He allowed the Jews to be blinded for a season:
HE HAS BLINDED THEIR EYES AND HE HARDENED THEIR HEART, SO THAT THEY WOULD NOT SEE WITH THEIR EYES AND PERCEIVE WITH THEIR HEART, AND BE CONVERTED AND I HEAL THEM. John 12:40
The Lord spoke the following to my friend: "If I had not done so, there would have been no one celebrating my feasts all these years." What a profound thought! This, of course, was in reference to edicts passed during the days of the Early Church when such sacred observances were outlawed among Jews and Christians.
Jewish tradition is very strong. Many contemporary Jews regard Yeshua as an impostor simply because that was the opinion of their ancestors, which they passed unto their progeny. Consequently, it is the mission of the Church to pray the Jews unto salvation through Yeshua HaMashiach, Jesus the Messiah, the Anointed One. This divine commission is both a privilege and a responsibility as we long for the day when all Israel will be saved (Rom 11:26).