The MashiachThe mashiach will be a great political leader descended from King David (Jeremiah 23:5). The mashiach is often referred to as "mashiach ben David" (mashiach, son of David). He will be well-versed in Jewish law, and observant of its commandments (Isaiah 11:2-5). He will be a charismatic leader, inspiring others to follow his example. He will be a great military leader, who will win battles for Israel. He will be a great judge, who makes righteous decisions (Jeremiah 33:15). But above all, he will be a human being, not a god, demi-god or other supernatural being.
It has been said that in every generation, a person is born with the potential to be the mashiach. If the time is right for the messianic age within that person's lifetime, then that person will be the mashiach. But if that person dies before he completes the mission of the mashiach, then that person is not the mashiach.
What About Jesus?
Jews do not believe that Jesus was the mashiach. Assuming that he existed, and assuming that the Christian scriptures are accurate in describing him (both matters that are debatable), he simply did not fulfill the mission of the mashiach as it is described in the biblical passages cited above. Jesus did not do any of the things that the scriptures said the messiah would do. [http://www.jewfaq.org/mashiach.htm]
When I was in Israel last December, I was sitting on the steps of the Church of the Agony just outside the Garden of Gethsemane, looking across to the Eastern Gate. I asked our Jewish tour guide what she thought about the messiah. Her thoughts were extremely similar to the views expressed above. She did laugh at the Muslims for thinking they could prohibit the Messiah from using the Eastern Gate by putting a cemetery there. She said that the messiah would have supernatural properties and could fly over the cemetery, if he wanted to. She also said that a cemetery wouldn't stop him anyway, as he would not be a levite and therefore not have any prohibition regarding touching the dead.
|View of the Eastern Gate with Muslim cemetery blocking the entrance at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.|
Our church prays for Israel and for the Jews that they would recognize Jesus as God's Son, and therefore the Messiah or Mashiach.