Yeshua... Who Is He?
Dr. Michael L. Brown, who received his Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Literatures from New York University. He is the director of the Coalition of Conscience, president of Fire School of Ministry, host of The Line of Fire radio show and is an author and international speaker.
The Jewish people of Yeshua’s day were all looking for a Savior. Some hoped for a mighty military leader, while others looked for a deliverer from the sky. Some looked for a holy priest, while others looked for a teacher of righteousness. Yet no one was looking for a crucified Messiah. And no one was looking for the Lamb of God. They had forgotten that the righteous Servant of the Lord was Himself to be an ’asham- an offering for sin (Isaiah 53:10). And they had forgotten father Abraham’s words that God would provide the lamb for the burnt offering (Genesis 22:8).
Yes, there were some rabbis who claimed that every sacrifice was accepted on the basis of Abraham’s offering up of Isaac. And they claimed that in the Passover rite, when God “saw the blood” (Exodus 12), He was looking at the sacrifice of Isaac and not at the blood of the lamb.
Yet Isaac was not offered, and his blood was never shed. And it was God Himself who provided the sacrifice that saved the life of Abraham’s son.
It was Messiah who suffered and died, and it is by His wounds that we are healed (Isaiah 53:5). It was he who was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and it was he who bore our sins (Isaiah 53:7, 12 and Leviticus 16:22).
Oh yes, there were Jewish teachers who believed that the suffering of the righteous could bring atonement to the world. Yet when the truly Righteous One suffered and died, they said that it was for nought.
Our rabbis tell us that when Messiah comes, He will establish peace on earth. When the real Savior comes, He will remove us from sin. But a Savior who takes us out of sin without taking the sin out of us is really no savior at all. And a Messiah who establishes peace on earth without first establishing peace in our hearts is really no Messiah at all.
Messiah had to die. Messiah had to take our place. There was no other way. No other substitute was found. No one else could pay the price. Nothing else could heal our wounds, for sin required death.
Yeshua paid the price. It was His death that brought us life. He alone was the substitute for a sinful human race, and He alone can offer us redemption.
The traditional Judaism of our day has its roots in the religion of the Pharisees, a small group of Jews who banded together over two thousand years ago. These were the men who would not eat with ceremonially unwashed hands, the men so famous for their attention to detail. These were the men who even tithed on insignificant crops, and who studied every jot and title of God’s Law.
Yet many of these men were the ones who missed Yeshua when He came. They did not see the forest for the trees.
For it is not ritual observance that makes a man clean within, and it is not attention to an outer system of laws that brings us to God. And no matter how much we try to love Him and please Him, our efforts are polluted with sin. We are members of a fallen race. Only a new heart will do. Yet this is the truth these zealous men missed, since in their passion for obedience to every letter of the Law they did not fully grasp the spirit of the One Who gave it.
And as the Pharisees went, so have the Jewish people gone.