When Jesus began His ministry in 27 AD, Judea and Jerusalem had been under harsh Roman rule for over sixty years. King Herod sat on the throne and considered himself to be “King of the Jews,” although he was not from the lineage of King David, was appointed by Rome, and was of Arab ancestry.
The priests that ran the Temple were mainly Sadducees, who were aristocrats that did not believe in a resurrection of the dead, an afterlife, and angels or demons. The two high priests, Annas and Caiaphas, were Sadducees and appointed by King Herod. Both high priests were not a part of the lineage of Aaron or even Levites.
The Romans forced the Jews to pay high taxes as did King Herod, who was rebuilding the Temple and other buildings. Life was a daily struggle for the Jews, living in Galilee, Judea, and Jerusalem.
If you check out Deuteronomy 28, you will discover that the Jews were struggling because they lived under the curse and suffered from the Judgments of God.
But He answered and said, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” (Matthew 15:28)
Jesus’ earthly ministry was aimed at the Jews because the promises of God were first given to the Jews. He constantly preached a message of repentance to them.
How did Jerusalem and Judea respond to Jesus’ ministry? Not well.
“How I wish today that you of all people would understand the way to peace. But now it is too late, and peace is hidden from your eyes. Before long your enemies will build ramparts against your walls and encircle you and close in on you from every side. They will crush you into the ground, and your children with you. Your enemies will not leave a single stone in place, because you did not accept your opportunity for salvation.” (Luke 19:42-43)
Jesus prophesied the total destruction of Jerusalem on the first Palm Sunday. His prophecy came to pass on 70 AD when Rome destroyed Jerusalem, its Temple, and killed nearly one million Jews.
So, if God judged His chosen people, why do we Americans think that we can avoid His judgments?
(Continued in Part 2)