The Creed – Part 15B

“… And on the third day He rose again, according to the scriptures.”

As mentioned previously, many prophesies of the Old Testament which Christians see as pointing toward Jesus Christ and not seen that way by the Jews. This is especially true of passages relating to the suffering of Christ and His meaning for all people.
We remember that God promised to send a Messiah, a redeemer for all human beings. However, by the time of Jesus Christ many of the Jews saw the Messiah as a political, even military, figure who would cast the Roman occupiers out of Palestine and found a Jewish kingdom there. Many people in Jerusalem thought that Jesus Christ was going to do this on Palm Sunday. As our Lord enters Jerusalem
“Most of the crowd spread their garments on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. And the crowds that went before him and that followed him shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” (Mt 21:8-9)
However, as the days passed and Jesus didn’t throw the Romans out, the crowds turned against Him.
“… Pilate again said to them, “Then what shall I do with the man whom you call the King of the Jews?” And they cried out again, “Crucify him.” (Mk 15:12-13)
So Jesus Christ was not the national Messiah of the Jews, a political Messiah. As mentioned previously, Jesus saw his role of Messiah as that of the suffering servant. To see how Jesus Christ thought of his role, read chapter 53 of the Book of Isaiah in the Old Testament. Here are some quotations from this chapter:
“For thus says the Lord: “You were sold for nothing, and you shall be redeemed without money. For thus says the Lord God: My people went down at the first into Egypt to sojourn there, and the Assyrian oppressed them for nothing. Now therefore what have I here, says the Lord, seeing that my people are taken away for nothing? Their rulers wail, says the Lord, and continually all the day my name is despised.” (Isaiah 53: 3-5)
“How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good tidings, who publishes peace, who brings good tidings of good, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.” Hark, your watchmen lift up their voice, together they sing for joy; for eye to eye they see the return of the Lord to Zion. Break forth together into singing, you waste places of Jerusalem; for the Lord has comforted his people, he has redeemed Jerusalem.” (Isaiah 53: 7-9)
Beyond this, Jesus Christ thought of Himself as Messiah for all nations. In doing so, he fulfilled many predictions of the Old Testament about just such a figure.
“It shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be raised above the hills; and all the nations shall flow to it, and many peoples shall come, and say: “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.” For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. “(Isaiah 2:2-3)
“It is too light a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the preserved of Israel; I will give you as a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.” (Isaiah 49:6)
“For I know their works and their thoughts, and I am coming to gather all nations and tongues; and they shall come and shall see my glory, and I will set a sign among them. And from them I will send survivors to the nations, to Tarshish, Put, and Lud, who draw the bow, to Tubal and Javan, to the coastlands afar off, that have not heard my fame or seen my glory; and they shall declare my glory among the nations.” (Isaiah 66:18-19)
As we can see from these passages, Jesus Christ saw his role as fulfilling these universalist predictions, being the savior for all of humanity.
The other issue is that the Jews rejected the idea that the Messiah would suffer, although there are many Old Testament prophesies which point to it. As mentioned previously, to understand Jesus role as the suffering servant one should read Isaiah 53.
The notion of a suffering Messiah was so alien to the Jews that when Jesus Christ predicted he would be crucified this announcement went completely over the Apostles’ heads. This is why when Jesus was crucified all the disciples, with the exception of St. John and the women disciples, ran away and went into hiding. It was  only after the Resurrection that the apostles began to understand the Messiah as a suffering servant.

Fr. John

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