Most modern Christ-followers mistakenly think that the New Testament states that the Jewish people rejected Jesus. But is their reading of the New Testament itself accurate?

The foundational proof text for the idea of the “Jews rejecting Jesus” comes from the traditional misreading of the Gospel of John, wherein translation from the original Koine Judeo-Greek we read: “He came unto His own, but his own received him not.” (Jn. 1:11).

The standard interpretation equates “his own” with first-century people of the Jewish religion; thus making two basic interpretive mistakes. First, it ignores the grammar of the original – the first “own” is neuter (τὰ ἴδια), but second “own” is masculine (οἱ ἴδιοι). This indicates that at least the first “his own” cannot possibly refer to the Jews! The second mistake ignores the fact that the word (Ἰουδαῖοι) used in John’s Gospel, translated traditionally as “Jews” back then did not mean “people of the Jewish religion” as it does today. The primary meaning of this word was “Judeans” or even “the leaders of the Judean region.”

The New Testament acknowledges that there was a veil placed upon Israel for the spiritual benefit of other nations (reminiscent of the veil that was once placed on Moses’ face!). But the New Testament never claims that “the Jews rejected Jesus.”

The question that bothers Apostle Paul is why “not all Jews believed in Jesus”?  He formulated it as follows: “Did God reject His people?”

A very clear answer followed – absolutely not! … at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace. (Romans 11:1,5)

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169 COMMENTS

  1. Ok, you lost me. Why does a neuter "his own" rule out a reference to the Jews? And what does the masculine "his own" signify? Are you saying that the Jewish religious leaders rejected Jesus, but not the Jewish people as a whole? The Jewish people of today (other than the Messianic variety) definitely do reject Jesus as Messiah.
  2. Dr Eli, you are in denial. If the Jewish people did not reject Yeshua, why are they rejecting Him now? The simple truth is that the majority of Jews and Gentiles have rejected their Saviour.
    • Shalom, Christian. Perhaps... :-). Anyone can of course be in denial without realizing it. But you see when people say "Jews rejected Jesus" they don't mean that HUMANITY (Jews and Gentiles) rejected Jesus (this is what you are correctly suggesting). They mean that it is ONLY the Jews and the JEWS AS A WHOLE that did that :-). So I think you ,may want to rethink your comment.

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    • Jews or none could have known Him as the scripture says" 1Co_2:8 none of the princes knew: had they known, would NOT have crucified the LORD OF GLORY." God did not give the full knowledge of God, till He comes the second time to gather as Isa 11;9-11 says and as THE COMFORTER, THE SPIRIT AND TRUTH , HOLY SPIRIT as Joh 14, 15, 16 say. HE HAD TO DIE TO SAVE MANKIND. SO HE BLINDED ALL HUMANS FROM ADAM till HE COMES THE SECOND TIME TO GIVE LIFE IN HIM. We lacked the knowledge of GOD as the sea!

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  3. "Most modern Christ-followers mistakenly think that the New Testament states that the Jewish people rejected Jesus. But is their reading of the New Testament itself accurate?" The Judahite (of the tribe of Judah) people of the 1st century not "Jewish" (please see Schlomo Sand's "The Invention of the Jewish People") who didn't accept Jesus, are those who rejected Him so the only Judahites that didn't reject the Christ Jesus were those who actually were truly born again, yet there were many Judahites who did reject Jesus all through the Gospel accounts (1 Gospel, 4 accounts).
  4. Wow,, a great play on words, the Jews didn't reject Jesus, True, but they did reject the fact that he was the Messiah, consequently the Jews have been blinded in part until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in. Although there were obviously a lot of Jews who did accept that Jesus is the Messiah.
  5. (Continuation) There was no "Jewish" religion in the 1st century, but there was the one an only Israelite faith. Regarding John 1:11; He came unto HIS own - Τα ιδια - to those of HIS own family, city, country: - and HIS own people, οἱ ιδιοι - HIS own citizens, brethren, subjects (See parallel Isaieh 1:2-3). The Septuagint, Josephus, and Arrian, use these words, τα ιδιοι and οἱ ιδιοι, in the different senses given them above. The clauses "did not appropriate/acknowledge/welcome" (John 1:5) are instances of "litotes". They indicate that the world... (continued)
  6. Sir, what’s your point? The rejection of Jesus by the Jews was actually a fulfillment of prophecy, “He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and WE esteemed him not.” (Isaiah 53:3) That being the case, WHY did God plan it that way? Go to Exodus chapters 3, 4 and 5. (E.g., Ex 5:2 Pharaoh said, “Who is the Lord, that I should obey him and let Israel go? I do not know the Lord and I will not let Israel go.”)
  7. (continued) .. they indicate that the world — particularly, the Judahites, which represented it — utterly disowned the the Christ. All rejected him; all, with the exception of those to whom reference is made in verses Joh_1:12-13. Note: as many as … to them, which is a common Aramaic idiom. (See p. 64.) While the world and its representative, the Israelite people, rejected the Saviour, individuals accepted him. But these people receive the greatest spiritual benefit w/o respect to nationality or physical descent. The expression “as many as” amounts to “whosoever” whether Judahite or Gentile.
  8. “The Jews have not rejected Jesus. The entire New Testament story took place in the Land of Israel-the land of the Jews. Jesus was a Jew. He declared Himself Messiah of Israel. All of His followers were Jews. The disciples were all Jews, as were the 120 in the upper room. The 3,000 that came to faith on the Jewish holiday of Shavuot, or Pentecost, “grew to about 5,000,” according to Acts 4:4.” (BY RABBI JONATHAN BERNIS). This is where Messianic Judaism started from. The apostle Paul himself was a Pharisee. The good news was then taken to the world.
    • I agree. I think the fair thing to say that sadly the Jewish leadership failed to see in Jesus what many first-century Jews saw in him.
    • Dear Dr. Eli please note, this is not an argumentary question.I have nothing against Jews (in contrast, I may have Jewish blood in me myself) ... And I have the world's respect for Jews who believe in Jesus!
      ☺ I just want to know who are the people of whom Jesus spoke in Luke 19: 42-44? Was it the authorities or the temple authorities or the Pharisees or who?
      # these comments made me wonder.

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  9. Is this correct? Genesis 14:18-19: Abram received the Bread & Wine offered him by Melchizedek, the Righteous King (and High Priest) of Salem when He met him at Shaveh. Abram also received The Blessing as a result; whereas, the king, high priest, & most the other rulers of Judea & Jerusalem (God’s own “things” ) chose not to receive The Bread of Life nor The Wine of Salvation (Cup of Blessing)-these who He came also to meet with & offer All of Himself & thereby be Blessed. Luke 19: 28-48
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