I never thought I would find myself sympathizing at all with the religious leaders of ancient Palestine who opposed Jesus. But today I read a study note in my Bible that really helped me to see some things from their perspective.
In the Book of Daniel, the Bible teaches that the Babylonian Empire would be succeeded by the Median-Persian Empire, followed by the Greeks and then the Romans. After Rome, the Christ would come to demolish the kingdoms of the world and establish His own eternal kingdom.
At the time of Jesus’ ministry, Babylon had fallen. So had Media-Persia. As had the Greeks. And now the Roman Empire was at the height of its power. So the religious Jews expected the Christ to overthrow Rome as Rome had overthrown Greece, Greece had overthrown Media-Persia, and the Medes and Persians had overthrown Babylon. These kingdom had been actual, literal, political kingdoms, so they expected the same from the Striking Stone of Daniel.
Instead, the Romans killed Him. Of course, the Jews did have something to do with that.
I’m not trying to justify these religious leaders, who after all were the ones who were supposed to recognize and proclaim the Christ. And, of course, there are plenty of other Messianic passages in the Old Testament, especially those about the suffering Christ in Isaiah, that they apparently disregarded completely. I’m just saying that for the first time I can understand why they might have been confused about Jesus’ identity as the Christ.
Makes me feel sort of creepy, like a heretic or something.