By Mitch Glaser

I don't remember hearing a lot about Messiah as I was growing up. It was somewhat taken for granted that one day the Messiah would come and bring peace to the world. But very few details about the Messiah were offered.

But actually, there is a lot of information in the Jewish Scriptures about Messiah!

As Jews, we know that the Messiah will be a descendant of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Genesis 12:1-3); He will come from the Tribe of Judah (Genesis 49:10) and be a son of David (11 Samuel 7:16). We also can see clearly the promises of the Hebrew prophets that one day the Messiah will reign on Earth and initiate an age of peace (Isaiah 9:6-7).

Jewish scholars have produced a very detailed portfolio of Messianic activities, which includes the resurrection of the dead and the return of all Jews to the land of Israel. But they have left out one vital aspect in their description of Messiah's work and character. It is that Messiah was supposed to die as a perfect sacrifice for the sins of both Jews and Gentiles. Let's take a look at Messiah's death, as predicted in the Hebrew Scriptures.

The purpose for His death is most clearly explained in the 53rd chapter of the Book of Isaiah. In this great passage of Scripture, the statesman-prophet Isaiah describes the coming Messiah. What is especially significant in this passage is to see Jesus as the perfect Sacrifice for both Jews and Gentiles.

This is clearly pictured in the following verses:

He was despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely He has borne our grieves and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all (Isaiah 53:3-6).

Thus, we find a Messiah whose vindication comes only after He has suffered the indignity of death.

Jesus died to fulfill these and many other prophecies--willingly, I might add--as the ultimate sacrifice for sin. And it is through the shedding of His sacrificial blood that you and I have forgiveness of sin.

We must admit that this is not an appealing picture. The scene of the crucifixion of Jesus in Mel Gibson's movie, The Passion, for example, is very realistic and quite gruesome. There is nothing humane or pretty about His death. But it did take place exactly as the Jewish prophets foretold it would.


Now that we have the Biblical answer to why Jesus had to die, we can respond to the question, "Who really killed Jesus?". The answer is that Jesus, knowing that His death would be the fulfillment of prophecy, offered Himself as a sacrifice for our sins. He died because of our sins, all of our sins.

Jesus was not forced by anyone to die, but rather He died willingly, in obedience to His Father's will.


Generations of Jewish people have been blamed for the death of Jesus. It is a terrible crime of history that Jesus--Himself a Jew--would abhor.

Yet the death of Yeshua does require a response--and there is only one that we can reasonably make. It is to accept Him as Messiah, to receive His forgiveness, and view His death as our own, because He died in our place.


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