Did the Jewish Leaders Know Who Jesus Was?

27 01 2014

Question: Did the Jewish Leaders Know Who Jesus Was?

Answer: Yes the Scriptures teach that they did know who He was.

Consider a few passages with me if you would. They knew the time of Messiah’s coming was near because they were familiar with the prophecy in Daniel 9 concerning the timing of the coming of Messiah. Theyb knew the time had arrived and questioned John the Baptist as to whether he was the One to come. He denied being the one but pointed to Jesus of Nazareth as the One, “The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29)

In John 3 a Pharisee names Nicodemus came to Jesus on behalf of the Sanhedrin and he makes an interesting statement. “There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.” (John 3:1-2) Here Nicodemus admits “we” meaning the Sanhedrin “know thou art a teacher come from God.” They knew He was from God the fact that they tested that does not mean they were unaware. The same is said of Satan when he tempted Jesus he said “If thou be the Son of God.” (Matthew 4:3) Satan knew who He was but wanted to cast doubt just as the Pharisees sought to do. They recognized He was from God.

The Pharisees realized that if they did not do something all people would follow Jesus. “Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, and said, What do we? for this man doeth many miracles. If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation.” (John 11:47-48) Here we see a recognition that if they leave Jesus alone all will believe on Him. They recognize His power and His miracles.

Jesus told the Pharisees a parable about themselves. “Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country: And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it. And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another. Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise. But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son. But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance. And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him. When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen?” (Matthew 21:33-40)

Now we know that He was talking about them but did they know this? Look at verse 45, “And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived that he spake of them.” They were pierced to the heart. They knew who He was and that He was the Son whose inheritance they were trying to take. He filled in the blanks for them as well: “Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes? Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.” (Matthew 21:42-43)

In John 11 we see what the Sanhedrin was actually afraid of: “Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, and said, What do we? for this man doeth many miracles. If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation.” (John 11:47-48) The concern about Jesus was that because of Him the Romans would take away their “place” (this refers most likely to the temple) and their nation. Why would they think such a thing? Well because they were quoting a prophecy of the Old Testament concerning the coming of the Messiah: “And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.” (Daniel 9:26) They recognized that after the Messiah came the temple and city of Jerusalem would be destroyed. They recognized Jesus being the Messiah would bring this to pass.

When Pilate pronounced that he washed his hands of the innocent blood of that just person the Jews did not argue that He was not innocent or just but rather they replied, “Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children.” (Matthew 27:25) When Judas came to return the money for betraying Christ he declared that Christ was innocent and the council didn’t argue with him in fact they seemed to agree, “Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? see thou to that.” (Matthew 27:3-4)

The final proof is found during the murder of Jesus of Nazareth. Their accusation was not that He was a false Messiah. Look carefully at the claims they made about Him.

1. He claimed to be the Messiah or King of the Jews: “And they began to accuse him, saying, We found this fellow perverting the nation, and forbidding to give tribute to Caesar, saying that he himself is Christ a King.” (Luke 23:2)

2. He was convincing the people He was the Messiah: “And they were the more fierce, saying, He stirreth up the people, teaching throughout all Jewry, beginning from Galilee to this place.” (Luke 23:5)

3. They denied Him as their King: “But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar.” (John 19:15)





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