When Jesus returns to the earth and is opposed as being "the Antichrist", it will not be the first time he will be rejected by the very people who claim to be looking for his coming. There is a powerful lesson to be learned from the reasons that led to the denial and crucifixion of Jesus by the Jews when he came the first time. If someone had told the Jews in Israel before Jesus began his ministry that they would soon reject their Messiah, no one would have believed it. Likewise, who would have thought that people from the same crowds who welcomed Jesus into Jerusalem shouting, ''Hosanna to the Son of David'', and spreading their garments and palm branches before Him, would but one week later be crying out "Crucify him, crucify him !"
It must be remembered that before Jesus began his ministry the Jews in Israel were not completely ignorant as to the nearness of the coming of their Messiah. On the contrary, there were several reasons why more than a few of the people expected their Messiah soon to reveal himself. First of all there was Daniel's 70 weeks prophecy (Daniel 9:24-27), which stated the coming of the "anointed one" would be approximately 490 years (70 weeks of years multiplied by 7 days per week), after the decree to rebuild Jerusalem. Many of the Jews were well aware that in 456 BC, this very command was given by Artaxerxes. Secondly, almost everyone in Israel would have heard of the wise men who visited Herod at the time Jesus was born, looking for the infant who was to become the king of the Jews. They so convinced Herod the Messiah had been born that he ordered every male child two years old and under, in the area of Bethlehem, to be put to death in an attempt to destroy Jesus. Thirdly, the message of John the Baptist had spread throughout the nation. He urged the people to be baptized for the forgiveness of their sins and taught that another would come after him who would be far greater than himself.
Following his baptism by John, Jesus journeyed throughout Israel preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God and healing the various diseases and infirmities of the people. His fame quickly spread throughout the nation because of the authority with which he spoke and the wonderful miracles he performed. The four gospels record two separate incidents when he fed over 4000 men, plus women and children, from a small amount of food; three different occasions when he raised a person from the dead; and numerous times when the lame were made to walk, the blind were given sight and the dumb were able to speak. It is little wonder that the Jews began to look toward Jesus as being the long expected Messiah spoken of by their prophets. If the comments of the people are examined it is evident they recognized this man from Nazareth was more than a prophet. On several occasions they referred to him as the Son of David and at other times were quoted as saying, "Never was anything like this seen in Israel."
Why then did the Jews reject the very person who had brought hope and healing to Israel and clamor for the release of a terrorist and murderer instead? The answer can be found upon a close look at the incidents that occurred in the last week of Jesus' life before his crucifixion.