An innocent Jewish man was executed, and to this day much of what we’ve heard about him is outright false! The proof is here!
So what’s his real story? And how, in spite of it all, did he captivate hearts around the world and transform billions of lives, including those of a million Jewish people? And how’s he still doing it to this day?
Some say he was a liar, a magician, a traitor. Others say he was a great teacher, a prophet, a virtuous man who did good deeds. So how can we know the truth about him?
Rumors or Reliable Testimonies?
On the one hand, there are some people who wrote about him 400-500 years after his time, said horrible things about him, without ever in their lives having met him or seen him. On the other hand, there are people who actually knew him personally. For years, they saw him and heard him – they were eyewitnesses. They wrote down in detail exactly what he taught and did. So, who would you rely on?
Well, it turns out that what many people believe about him today is actually based on what those who weren’t even there wrote. In other words, he was slandered, and we were lied to! But hasn’t the time come to see what the eyewitnesses themselves said? Let’s find out what the truth about him is and see how, in spite of all the hostility against him, he became the most influential person of all time!
The Real Story
Our story begins here in the Galilee in Israel, 2,000 years ago. The Jewish people were under the rule of the Roman Empire. A Jewish man named Yeshua – Jesus – a descendent of King David, who was born in Bethlehem and raised in Nazareth, began teaching in the synagogues and healing the sick throughout the region.
Eyewitnesses, including a Jewish man named Mattityahu – Matthew – record that people were astonished by Yeshua’s teaching, by the miracles he did, and by the love he showed each person he met. More and more people began to follow him, but the religious leaders weren’t so pleased to see this.
They tested him, asking what the most important commandment of the Law is. Yeshua answered, “‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul’” “‘and with all your strength.’” “This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:38-40, Mark 12:30)
Love in Action
Yeshua didn’t just talk about love – according to the eyewitnesses, he demonstrated it constantly to countless people from all kinds of backgrounds. He helped women who were trapped in the darkest corners of society to find a new life.
He also helped many people return to the path of righteousness. For example, a corrupt tax collector named Zacchaeus had a life-changing encounter with Yeshua, then decided to give half his possessions to the poor and to give back four times the amount to anyone he had cheated.
But the religious leaders criticized Yeshua for spending time with these kinds of people. Yeshua responded, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Luke 5:31-32).
The Essence of the Law
A conflict had broken out between Yeshua and the religious establishment, because according to Yeshua, the essence of the Law – what's really important to God – is that we show mercy and care for others, instead of focusing so much on fulfilling religious rituals that we ignore the needs of people around us (Hosea 6:6).
However, Yeshua made it absolutely clear that he did not come to establish a new religion, separate from the Hebrew Scriptures. He said, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them” (Matthew 5:17).
His famous Golden Rule was, “Do to others what you would have them do to you…” (Matthew 7:12). Think about it for a moment: If everyone lived out just this one rule, what a tremendous change it would make in our lives, in our world!
This is How a Revolution Begins
Yeshua spread many more revolutionary concepts. For example, he taught that whoever wants to be a truly great person should not seek status and control, but rather serve others.
Wherever he went, Yeshua cared for the poor, fed the hungry, brought justice for the oppressed, supported widows, and healed the sick. According to eyewitnesses, he helped tens of thousands of people – for free – and treated them as if each one of them was the only person in the world.
The Conflict Approaches Its Climax
One day just before Passover, Yeshua went up to the temple in Jerusalem and found a massive commercial operation there. The religious establishment had a monopoly – exclusive control over all the trade there – and the pilgrims had to buy the animals for their sacrifices at exorbitant prices. Imagine, all this was happening in the temple. This was supposed to be the holiest and purest place in the whole world!
Now, Yeshua couldn’t ignore this. He drove out all the merchants and animals, cleansed the temple, and demanded of them, "Do not make my Father’s house a house of merchandise!" (John 2:16).
People saw all the things that Yeshua was doing and were amazed. But the religious establishment saw him as a threat. After all the years of having money, power, and honor, they began to fear that now they were about to lose all of it. So they decided to get rid of him.
But Yeshua was about to carry out his greatest accomplishment. Now, to understand why it was necessary, we need to take a moment to talk about the heart. Yeshua taught that what’s really important to God is not to look good and righteous on the outside, but to actually be good and pure on the inside, in the heart.
So what about us? If others could see into our hearts and thoughts, what would they find there? Only good things, or also selfishness, greed, jealousy, vengeance? Have we always treated others the way we’d like to be treated? Have we always honored and been patient with others? Have we never gossiped? Have we always told the truth? And what about God who gave us life – have we always loved him and obeyed him in every moment?
A Serious Problem
God shows us in the Scriptures that he is holy and that the bad things we’ve done – our sins – cut us off from him (Isaiah 59:2). And since he’s also a just God and can’t ignore sin and injustice, he set up a day of judgment. King Solomon, the wisest of men, said, “For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing” (Ecclesiastes 12:14).
And no matter how many good deeds we do, they can’t erase the bad deeds we’ve done. King David said that if God judges us based on our actions, “no one living will be considered righteous in your sight” (Psalm 143:2). And according to God, the sentence that we deserve is eternal punishment (Daniel 12:2).
But God, in his great love for us, prepared a way for us to receive atonement for sin, so that we can enjoy a close relationship with him. In the Law, the Torah, he established the principle that only a sacrifice can atone for our sin. The person who had sinned deserved to die, but the sacrifice would die in their place (Leviticus 17:11).
God also promised that he would send a man who would become the perfect sacrifice. He would lay down his life and die in our place, paying for our sin once and for all. God said that this person would be called the Messiah (Isaiah 53, Daniel 9:24-26).
How to Identify the Messiah
So how can we know for sure who the Messiah is? The God of Israel gave us specific prophecies in the Scriptures, so that when the Messiah would come, we could recognize him, believe in him, and through him receive eternal life with God. For example, the prophets said that the Messiah:
● would come before the destruction of the Second Temple – in other words, 2,000 years ago (Daniel 9:24-26)
● would be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2)
● would be a descendant of King David (Jeremiah 23:5-6)
● would miraculously heal the sick (Isaiah 35:5-6)
● would bring many non-Jews to faith in the God of Israel (Isaiah 42:1-7, 49:5-6)
● would be not only the Messiah, but also the Son of God (Psalm 2, Proverbs 30:4-5, Isaiah 9:6-7, and more)
● would be rejected by the religious establishment (Psalm 118:22-23, Isaiah 29:13-14)
● would die a violent death that would include being pierced (Zechariah 12:10, Psalm 22, Isaiah 53:5)
● would lay down his life to atone for our sins (Isaiah 53, Daniel 9:24-26)
No Greater Love Than This
And now we’ve come to Yeshua’s greatest accomplishment. He was on his way to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover, and told his disciples that soon he would die, but that his death would bring life to many. Shortly afterward, he was betrayed, and the religious establishment convicted him of blasphemy for saying he was the Messiah, the Son of God. Yeshua was handed over to the Romans, who crucified him.
He had always taught about the importance of forgiveness and the need to love even our enemies. And as they were executing him, while enduring unbearable anguish, indescribable suffering, he turned to God and said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).
Could it be that when the prophet Isaiah prophesied about the death of the Messiah, he was prophesying about the death of Yeshua?
On the Feast of Passover, the 14th of Nisan, at 3 in the afternoon, at the exact time when the people of Israel were commanded to slaughter the Passover lamb in order to be saved from death by its blood, Yeshua poured out his blood as an innocent lamb to atone for our sins and give us eternal life with God (Exodus 12:6, Mark 15:33-41).
Yeshua said, "Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends" (John 15:13). And he did it – he took the punishment we deserved, and died in our place.
The Ending that No One Expected
This story could have ended in tragedy, but then something incredible happened. On the third day from Yeshua's death, several people came to his tomb here in Jerusalem, and they couldn't believe their eyes: The tomb was empty!
For 40 days, in different places, at different times, hundreds of people saw Yeshua alive – Jewish people from the Galilee like Yochanan (John), Miriam (Mary), and many others, met him, spoke with him, ate with him, and some of them even touched the wounds in his hands and his side.
Later, a religious leader who had persecuted the disciples of Yeshua wrote a testimony in which he described meeting with Yeshua after his resurrection and how it changed his life completely. And the most impressive proof that he’s still alive: About 500 witnesses saw Yeshua at the same time after he rose from the dead.
Then, eyewitnesses saw him ascend into heaven, just like the prophets of Israel had predicted. They had said that after the Messiah would rise from the dead (Isaiah 53:10-12, Psalm 16:10), he would ascend to the right hand of God (Psalm 110, 68:20; Daniel 7:13-14).
What Does All this Mean For Us?
Yeshua accomplished his mission. There is no other person in all of history who has fulfilled all the prophecies that we’ve seen here – and Yeshua fulfilled dozens of others as well! Through his resurrection, God confirmed that Yeshua is indeed the Messiah, the Son of God. Yeshua opened the way for us to receive forgiveness, atonem ent, and salvation, and now we can start a new life with our heavenly Father and be with him forever.
Yeshua the Messiah came “to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound” (Isaiah 61:1). No matter what we have done or what has been done to us, he can release us from guilt and shame, heal us from within, and give us true freedom and a new beginning. Yeshua has done it, and is still doing it in the lives of millions and in our lives personally. And now he’s reaching out and inviting everyone to come to him.
All we need to do is ask God for forgiveness for the bad things we’ve done, believe in Yeshua the Messiah, and choose to follow him from now on. It won’t be easy, but there’s nothing on earth that compares to what you’ll receive.
You can start this new life right now, right where you are. If you’d like to, just repeat after us as we pray this simple prayer from the heart:
“God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, thank you for giving me life. Please forgive me for all the bad things that I’ve done and said and thought. Thank you for sending your Son, Yeshua the Messiah, who died to atone for my sins. And thank you for raising him from the dead to give me eternal life. I have decided to accept Yeshua as my Lord and Savior. Help me to walk in your ways from now on and for the rest of my life. In the name of Yeshua the Messiah, amen.”
If you prayed with us, you can be certain that God heard you, forgave you, and gave you eternal life. This is the beginning of a new life and an exciting journey. There will be challenges along the way, so we’d love to help equip you with tools and knowledge that will enable you to succeed. So contact us.
If you still have more questions, we’d be glad to answer, so please call us or write us. And if you’d like to read the eyewitnesses’ testimonies of Yeshua’s life for yourself, you can do that and also watch other videos on our website, ThinkAgain.Life. To learn more about our ministry and to support, visit TreeofLifeIsrael.org.
And soon we’ll release more videos in this series – so please subscribe and follow us, because you don’t want to miss them. See you soon!