After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”
Perceiving then that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself.
…and went up to him again and again, saying, “Hail, king of the Jews!” And they slapped him in the face.
Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read: JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS. Many of the Jews read this sign, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Aramaic, Latin and Greek. The chief priests of the Jews protested to Pilate, “Do not write ‘The King of the Jews,’ but that this man claimed to be king of the Jews.”
Jesus is referred to as the King of the Jews as we see above at two times in His earthly life: at His birth by the wise men Matthew 2:2 and at His trial and subsequent crucifixion (Mark 15:2). All four gospels record the words “King of the Jews” as part of Pilate’s instructions to the angry mob (Matthew 27:37; Mark 15:9; Luke 23:38; John 19:3) and Pilate’s direct address to Jesus (Matthew 27:11; Mark 15:2; Luke 23:3; John 18:33). It is interesting that only non-Jews used this specific title to describe Jesus, underscoring the truth of John 1:11, which says, “He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.”
Traditional Judaism firmly believes that death is not the end of human existence. However, because Judaism is primarily focused on life here and now rather than on the afterlife, Judaism does not have much dogma about the afterlife, and leaves a great deal of room for personal opinion. It is possible for an Orthodox Jew to believe that the souls of the righteous dead go to a place similar to the Christian heaven, or that they are reincarnated through many lifetimes, or that they simply wait until the coming of the messiah, when they will be resurrected. Likewise, Orthodox Jews can believe that the souls of the wicked are tormented by demons of their own creation, or that wicked souls are simply destroyed at death, ceasing to exist.
Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but by Me” (John 14:6). The “no one” He referred to includes Jews and Gentiles. Jews are not saved because they are God’s chosen people, but because they believe in Jesus Christ as their true Messiah. There are many Messianic Jews who have accepted Yeshua (the Hebrew word for “Jesus”) as their Messiah.
However, there is no doubt that the Jews are still God’s chosen people. “For you are a holy people unto the LORD your God: the LORD your God hath chosen you to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth. The LORD did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because you were more in number than any people; for you were the fewest of all people: But because the LORD loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers…” Deuteronomy 7:6-8.
Once a year, on the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur), the Levitical High Priest would enter the Holy of Holies in the temple and sprinkle the blood of the sacrifice on the mercy seat. Through this yearly act, atonement was made for the sins of all Israel, but the Holy Temple was destroyed in A.D. 70, and for almost 2,000 years, Jews have been without a temple, a sacrifice, and a means of atonement.
Jews, like all of humanity, are commanded to repent and trust the Savior Acts 2:38, and warned that if they don’t repent, they will perish Luke 13:3. Jesus, who was Jewish (see John 4:9), is the promised Jewish Messiah (see John 4:25,26). The disciples were Jewish. Christianity was birthed in the land of the Jews. The first three thousand converts to Christianity were Jews (see Acts 2:41), as well as the next two thousand (see Acts 4:4). The apostle Paul was Jewish (see Acts 23:6), commissioned to testify to Jews about their need for “repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ” (see Acts 20:21). The God of Israel (the Jews) made sure the gospel was offered to the Jews first, before the Gentiles (see Rom. 1:16).
In summarizing, there is so much more to say; but our Lord is our Lord. Take it how you may, but we have been given so much. Think of it; we had absolutely nothing before, now we live with the hope and promise of eternal life.