The ancient Jews long expected the Messiah. The promise of the Messiah is in their canonical text, as well as extra-canonical ones. One of the first classes I took in seminary was on the Old Testament. Admittedly, even after doing decently well in two Old Testament classes, I hardly know anything about the Old Testament, and my guess is it will forever remain a mystery to me.

When I read the Old Testament, trying as best as possible to read it as an ancient Jew would, I see a Messiah that does not look like Jesus. As I pretend to be a Jew of the first century, the Messiah would look to me like a powerful, eschatological figure who would liberate Israel from its captors and restore Israel to a mighty nation. I doubt my reading is much different from the Jews who knew Jesus and were his disciples. They asked Jesus,

Lord, are you going to restore the kingdom to Israel at this time? (Acts 1:6)

These disciples had been with Jesus, witnessed his awesomeness, seen him die, and experienced his resurrection, yet they still were looking for a restoration of the kingdom to Israel. This, however, did not happen.

How do we reconcile the Jewish expectation of the Messiah in the Old Testament with the Jesus we know from the New Testament account? Do we read the Old Testament from the vantage point of New, or is that taking away the voice of the Old Testament? Is there a way to let the Old Testament stand with its own story about the Messiah, and do this without neglecting the New Testament? What is your view of the Messianic expectation of the ancient Jews?