Jews are Looking for Moshiach – the Jewish Messiah
Israel’s Jews are either ultra-Orthodox (8%), religious Zionists (17%), traditional Jews (55%), or secular Jews (20%), link. So some 80% of today’s Jews follow Old Testament (OT) belief in some way, from fundamentalism to loose Jewish practice. The key questions is “Who do these Jews believe their Messiah, Moshiach, to be? And did Jesus fulfill that role?”
Jews believe the Moshiach (‘the anointed one’) will be a great human leader, like King David, link, link. He will be anointed with oil as an earthly king and he will deliver Israel. He is not a ‘saviour’ (as in the Christian ‘Messiah’) but he is a human political leader who has achieved a level of nobility and greatness not yet seen by the world. All the nations of the world will recognize him to be a world leader and he will usher in world peace. There are many messianic prophecies in the OT that could be taken to pertain to the Moshiach. For example:
The scepter shall not depart from Judah … until Shiloh comes; and to Him shall be the obedience of the people (Gen 49.10)
I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness; a King shall reign and prosper, and execute judgement and righteousness in the earth (Jer 23.5)
Yeshua is not Recognized as their Moshiach
Here is the crucial difference in belief. Christians believe that Shiloh in Genesis 49 refers to a proper name, to Yeshua or Jesus, and that the King referred to in Jeremiah 23 is the returning Christ.
In contrast, Jews do not recognize Yeshua as their Moshiach because He did not accomplish the tasks of the expected human leader. In particular, Yeshua did not come as King to deliver Israel, or usher in world peace. Also, with the exception of a minority of Jews called Messianic Jews, Jewish beliefs do not acknowledge the empty cross of Christ, whereas Christians believe Christ is risen and lives and is soon to return to rule the earth with justice and righteousness!