Did the scribes and Pharisees know that Jesus was their Messiah?

by Sparrow

His eye is on the sparrow

His eye is on the sparrow

Rick Brentlinger Answers -

Thanks for asking such an interesting question. I do not agree that it is implicit in the gospels that the scribes and Pharisees who sought to kill Jesus knew exactly Who He was.

Jesus tells us the Jews did not know He was their Messiah, God in the flesh. And other scriptures support Jesus' assertion
"And it came to pass, as he was alone praying, his disciples were with him: and he asked them, saying, Whom say the people that I am? They answering said, John the Baptist; but some say, Elias; and others say, that one of the old prophets is risen again. " -Luke 9:18ff

"Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots." -Luke 23:34

"But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory." -1 Corinthians 2:7-8

"And now, brethren, I wot" (old English for know) "that through ignorance ye did it" (delivered Jesus to be crucified), "as did also your rulers." -Acts 3:17

"For they that dwell at Jerusalem, and their rulers, because they knew him not, nor yet the voices of the prophets which are read every sabbath day, they have fulfilled them in condemning him." -Acts 13:27

"The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ. For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together," -Acts 4:26-27

Scripture is clear - Jewish scribes and Pharisees had no idea who Jesus was when they delivered Him to be crucified by the Roman authorities. Spiritually speaking, they were as blind as a bat backing in backwards.

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Sparrow's Original Question:

"Pastor Rick, do you believe that it's implicit in the Gospels (I'm unaware of a verse that states it explicitly) that the scribes and Pharisees who sought to kill Jesus actually KNEW in their hearts that He was exactly who He said He was -- the one true Messiah and Son of God?

I heard a local pastor here offer this opinion, yet if that was truly so, the Pharisees' utter blind arrogance -- to have KNOWN, yet actually seek to KILL GOD in order to preserve their own comfortable standing -- boggles the mind. Also, if it was so, to me it reveals they had absolutely no fear of God's ultimate judgment."

Comments for Did the scribes and Pharisees know that Jesus was their Messiah?

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May 13, 2011
Just Tell Them "I AM" Sent Me
by: DL Powers

It is fair to say that after these people heard Jesus had resurrected Lazarus they were very afraid for their positions. They did not care that Jesus could possibly be their Messiah. At this point, He had already been baptized in front of many people, including some of the sect. Word had spread that God had spoken saying that Jesus was His Son in whom He was well pleased.
In saying this, here is what they had to say after Lazarus' resurrection.

"Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, and said, What do we? for this man doeth many miracles. If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation. And one of them, named Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said unto them, Ye know nothing at all. Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not." Jon 11:47-50

Caiaphas did NOT realize that he prophesied that Jesus would die. As far as them believing as a whole that Jesus was Messiah, I do not think they cared or that it made much difference as long as they kept their glory.

However, in their defence, I will say that we need to remember why their hearts were hardened - that we, Gentiles, may receive salvation. Jesus will keep those that are rightous among them and will open the eyes of those who will receive Him after the Gentiles have been fulfilled.

God is a merciful and loving God who wants to fellowship with us. He loves His chosen people. So they being the original vine and we being graphted in, how much more will He save them?

Feb 21, 2012
I believe the answer is in Mark 12
by: Sparrow....

I wish I could say I had "discovered" this nugget, but I recently was reminded of this parable in Mark 12 that the Lord told the Pharisees. Please note the phrase in bold in verse 7:

2 And at the season he sent to the husbandmen a servant, that he might receive from the husbandmen of the fruit of the vineyard.
3 And they caught him, and beat him, and sent him away empty.
4 And again he sent unto them another servant; and at him they cast stones, and wounded him in the head, and sent him away shamefully handled.
5 And again he sent another; and him they killed, and many others; beating some, and killing some.
6 Having yet therefore one son, his well-beloved, he sent him also last unto them, saying, They will reverence my son.
7 But those husbandmen said among themselves, this is the heir; come, let us kill him, and the inheritance shall be ours.'

Is this not conclusive proof through the Lord's own words that the Pharisees did INDEED know who He was, but wanted to kill Hm anyway?

Feb 10, 2015
Did they know the King?
by: steve amberson

Yes and no. Yes because Luke 20:13 Jesus sez they clearly knew He was the heir to the kingdom they wanted for themselves.

No because there was no saving faith based relationship. They knew of Him, saw His miracles, yet did not believe. See Matthew 7:21-23.

Jun 09, 2015
Who is the layperson to believe?
by: gary

What is a layperson/non-Bible scholar to do? Here is our dilemma: Every Christian Old Testament Bible scholar, apologist, pastor, and priest on the planet says that the Old Testament prophesies the birth and death of Jesus of Nazareth as the Jewish Messiah (ben David). However, every (non-messianic) Jewish "Old Testament" scholar and rabbi adamantly states that there is not one single prophecy in the Hebrew Bible about Jesus.

So who are we poor ignorant saps to believe? In lieu of spending the next 10 years becoming a fluent Hebrew-speaking Old Testament scholar yourself, I would suggest using some good ol' common sense. Who is more likely to be correct:

1.) Jewish sages and rabbis who have spent their entire lives immersed in Jewish culture, the Jewish Faith, the Hebrew language, and the Hebrew Bible - for the last 2,000 years or 2.) Seminary graduates from Christian Bible colleges in Dallas, Texas and Lynchburg, Virginia?

Sorry, Christian scholars, but using good ol' common sense, I have to go with the Jewish scholars. And Jewish scholars say that Christian translators deliberately mistranslated and distorted the Hebrew Bible to say things in the Christian Bible that is never said in the original Hebrew - for the purpose of inventing prophesies into which they could "shoehorn" Jesus!

I recommend that every Christian read the bombshell book, "Twenty-Six Reasons Why Jews Don't Believe in Jesus" by orthodox Jewish author, Asher Norman. You will be blown away by the evidence that this Jewish author presents that confirms why Jews have said the following for the last two thousand years: "Jesus of Nazareth was NOT the Messiah."

Rick's comment: Hi Gary - What an insubstantial book you've chosen to support your anti-Jesus views. Have you ever personally read the Bible from cover to cover so you know for yourself what it says?

You ask: Whom do I believe? Then you assert that you'd rather believe Jewish rabbis who have studied for years instead of born again Christian seminary graduates who have also studied for years.

Then, ignoring your own criteria, you put forward a commercial real estate broker and attorney Asher Norman, who is NOT a Jewish Rabbi, who is NOT an expert on the Old Testament, who is NOT an expert on the New Testament, who is NOT an expert on Jesus or Christianity, who is NOT a Bible scholar.

Norman draws much of his false information from New Age mystics like Timothy Freke and Peter Gandy, who are also NOT Jewish Rabbis, who are also NOT Bible scholars and who are also NOT scholars on the topics about which they opine.

I encourage you to believe God's truth, that Jesus is God.

These links are also helpful.

Debunking Asher Norman's claims



Nov 11, 2015
I believe some of the Chief Priests and Pharisees knew Jesus was the Son of God
by: Gary Rodgers

Matthew 27:43 He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God."
They got the message who Jesus was, it was nailed to the cross in three languages above His head. In Hebrew to tell the religious world, in Greek to tell the cultural and intellectual world, and in Latin to tell the rulers and political leaders of the world that this was indeed the King of the Jews; The Messiah, the Deliverer, the one whom the Jews sought.

The world stands naked before God, and the fig leaves of religion will not cover their sin. The Fig tree is often used in scripture to symbolize the Jewish nation of Israel. Being a part of the Fig Tree, a Jew, circumcised under the law will not save anyone. Because the world has been given the message that Jesus is the King of the Jews, no one will have an excuse for rejecting the Savior. No one!

In the parable about the wicked husbandmen in Matthew 21:38
!) 38 But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; (Did you get that? They said this is the heir, meaning that this is the son, (they recognized who this son was) come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance. (Ah ha! how interesting that they said this. First of all take notice that this is the husbandmen not the people of house of Israel that’s doing the talking, and they are plotting to kill the heir. And the core reason why they wanted to kill him was to seize on His inheritance.

In John 12:42 & 43
John 12:42 Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him;
[** I actually like the way that the NIV puts it. "Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him."]
42 continued but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: 43 For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.

In John 11:47 & 48
"Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, and said, What do we? for this man doeth many miracles. 48 If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place (our prestigious office our station) and nation.
Apparently the Chief Priests and Pharisees craved the love for the praise of men more than they feared God and they had no desire to lose their position and wealth. No wonder Christ called them hypocrites and blind guides! The fear of losing power and wealth has caused many a person to do some of the most vile and unthinkable things that one could imagine.

Recently a friend of mine had done an interesting study called "Equidistant Letter Sequences" which is done by taking into account that certain letters that are spaced equally apart in scripture give a specific message. It is said among Jewish scholars that God has hidden the name Yeshua - which is the Hebrew form of the name Jesus in numerous passages throughout the Old Testament. Especially within the great Messianic prophetic passages the Lord has hidden at equally spaced intervals in the Hebrew text the incredible message that "Yeshua is My Name." (Yeshua) – the Hebrew name for Jesus which means "to deliver, to rescue." It carries the meaning that God (Yahovah – is our redeemer, our salvation)

So the question again is, why all this objection to the inscription that Pilate had put over Jesus’ head? Well, the first reason is obvious. They didn’t like Him being called the King of the Jews, because they did not want to believe that He was their King. The second reason needs to be broken down in such a way that we can better understand it.

*First of all, I want to talk about the Hebrew name for God. One needs to know that Hebrew reads from right to left. So, here is how His name is spelled: H V H Y in Hebrew (Y being the first letter and H the last letter.) It’s pronounced: HEI VAV HEI YUD, which is the way that the Hebrew letters are pronounced in their alphabet.
The inscription over Jesus head went like this in Hebrew: Yeshua HaNazarie Vemelekh HaYhudim. Here is what each word means:
Y eshua—Jesus H aNazarie—of Nazareth V emelekh—the King H aYudim—of the Jews

Look carefully at the first letter of each word. What does it spell? It spells the Hebrew name for God. (YHVH) (YEHOVAH) That was what the Pharisees were so upset about. They did not want to believe that Jesus was God as He proclaimed. In Matthew 22:32, "Jesus said; I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living." They wanted Pilate to write that, "He said, I am King of the Jews." That would have changed the acrostic. Whether Pilot knew that he had made an acrostic or not, one can only surmise.

As we know the Jews consider it a sin to mention the name of God so they would leave out the vowels when writing his name. That is how they came up with (YHVH) What they were seeing in the inscription was "Jesus of Nazareth (YHVH) Yehovah! Why the letter "Y" and not the "J"? The letter "j" has only been in existence for a little over 300 years. " Simply said, the inscription was proclaiming that "Jesus of Nazareth is God."

Oct 02, 2017
The pharisees knew that Jesus was the messiah
by: David

I believe that the clearest reference to this question is in John 3. When Nicodemus comes to Jesus at night. He says to Jesus "we know that you are from God for No one could do the things you do unless He came from God". The "we" there, I believe, is a reference to the pharisees and the Sanhedrin.

Sep 19, 2021
False preachers
by: Russ worthington

The prosperity preachers of today must know who Jesus is yet they continue to dupe people for thier personal gain.Im afraid for them but they seem to have no fear of thier creator.What could be more offensive to God than a Bible scholar who twists the word for thier own benefit.The problem is they seduce thousands into following thier false gods. The Pharisees of Christ's day seemed to have the same selfinterest at heart. I would hate to be in either position on judgement day after I've read what Jesus said what will be the fate of those misled his children.If you are one of these people please think about your eternity .God will forgive you.

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