3: Texts and Stories: What They Said About Messiah

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In the year Yeshua was born, what were people saying about Messiah? What were they learning about him? What were they reading, and what were their hopes and what were their stories?

Amidst all the complexity of Jewish life in Israel, religious and political ferment combined to produce a Messianic hope. Thus the first century witnessed “a remarkable outburst of Messianic emotionalism.”[1] That was the expectation of a Messiah, an anointed one, who would fulfill many expectations and hopes raised by the predictions of the prophets and Israel’s desire for freedom from foreign oppression.

Today, Jewish and Christian scholars disagree about the kind of Messiah that Yeshua declared Himself to be, or even that He declared Himself to be the Messiah. The question that begs to be asked however, is whether Yeshua was the kind of Messiah that the people of His day were hoping for.

[1] Abba Hillel Silver, A History of Messianic Speculation in Israel (Gloucester, Mass.: Peter Smith, 1926), 5.

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