The New Covenant Promised By Yahweh – Part 5

When Jesus came as Messiah, as messenger of the new covenant and as mediator of that covenant, the good news message he brought from Yahweh, as it had always been, was essentially: believe Me, trust Me, love Me, obey Me, and I will be your God – and this time I will give you a heart, a mind and a spirit to do it, and you will be my children. See previous studies in the Category ‘Gospel’ for related articles.

When asked which was the greatest commandment, Jesus answered:

Matthew 22:36-40 NRSV
“Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?”
37 He said to him, ” “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’
38 This is the greatest and first commandment.
39 And a second is like it: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’
40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

In Matthew chapters 5,6 and 7 we have the account of ‘the sermon on the mount’ in which Jesus told the people that under the new covenant ‘keeping the letter of the law outwardly’ wasn’t going to be good enough, not the way we will be doing things from now on – the inner motivations, desires and attitudes had to change:

Matthew 5:22 NRSV
But I say to you that if you are angry with a brother or sister, you will be liable to judgment; and if you insult a brother or sister, you will be liable to the council; and if you say, “You fool,’ you will be liable to the hell of fire.

Matthew 5:27-28 NRSV
”You have heard that it was said, “You shall not commit adultery.’
28 But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

What was expected now:

Matthew 5:48 NRSV
Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Matthew 6:33 NRSV
But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Matthew 7:12 NRSV
“In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets.

Matthew 7:21,24 NRSV
“Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.
24 “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock.

When asked what must be done to inherit eternal life Jesus answered:

Matthew 19:16-17 NRSV
Then someone came to him and said, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?”
17 And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.”

And if he wanted to be perfect:

Matthew 19:21 NRSV
Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be perfect, go, sell your possessions, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.”

His followers were astonished at this:

Matthew 19:25 NRSV
When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astounded and said, “Then who can be saved?”

Jesus answered:

Matthew 19:26 NRSV
But Jesus looked at them and said, “For mortals it is impossible, but for God all things are possible.”

So with Yahweh God, our Father, it is now possible – but how?

Matthew 3:11 NRSV
“I baptize you with water for repentance, but one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.

John 4:23-24 NRSV
But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such as these to worship him.
24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”

When Philip asked to be shown the Father how did Jesus reply:

John 14:8-11 NRSV
Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.”
9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, “Show us the Father’?
10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works.
11 Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves.

Did Jesus say the Father indwelt him, was in intimate union with him, was there inside him empowering him to speak and act – ‘if you have seen me you have seen the Father, believe me, this is how it is happening!’. And what’s more, this is how it will be for you as well!

John 14:12 NRSV
Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father.

John 14:15-17 NRSV
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.
16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever.
17 This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you.

John 14:20-21 NRSV
On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.
21 They who have my commandments and keep them are those who love me; and those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them.”

John 14:23 NRSV
Jesus answered him, “Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.

Does it say that both the Father and Jesus will indwell us, make their home with us, enabling us to love them, and to keep our Father’s words and commandments – the same way Jesus did, though not perfectly yet? Is this a promise from the Father?

John 14:24 NRSV
Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; and the word that you hear is not mine, but is from the Father who sent me.

How did Jesus go on to pray for this wonderful empowering union in the new covenant?

John 17:20-23 NRSV
“I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word,
21 that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.
22 The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one,
23 I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

When was the new covenant inaugurated? Did Jesus initiate it at the Passover, the ‘last supper’?

Matthew 26:26-29 NRSV
While they were eating, Jesus took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.”
27 Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you;
28 for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.
29 I tell you, I will never again drink of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”

Was this substantiated by his resurrection and the pouring out of the spirit?

Acts 2:32-33 NRSV
This Jesus God raised up, and of that all of us are witnesses.
33 Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you both see and hear.

How does Paul refer to this new covenant and compare it to the old one?

2 Corinthians 3:3, 6 NRSV
3 and you show that you are a letter of Christ, prepared by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.
6 who has made us competent to be ministers of a new covenant, not of letter but of spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

Was it active there and then?

Ephesians 1:13-14 NRSV
In him you also, when you had heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and had believed in him, were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit;
14 this is the pledge of our inheritance toward redemption as God’s own people, to the praise of his glory.

Galatians 3:13-14 NRSV
Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”—
14 in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

This is not forced on anyone, but is a believing willing choice to accept the gracious favour of our loving Father:

Ephesians 2:4-5 NRSV
But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us
5 even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ —by grace you have been saved—

Ephesians 2:8-10 NRSV
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God—
9 not the result of works, so that no one may boast.
10 For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life.

This new covenant relationship is a process we are progressing through with Our Father and Lord Messiah Jesus:

Colossians 3:1-11 NRSV
So if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.
2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth,
3 for you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
4 When Christ who is your life is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory.
5 Put to death, therefore, whatever in you is earthly: fornication, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed (which is idolatry).
6 On account of these the wrath of God is coming on those who are disobedient.
7 These are the ways you also once followed, when you were living that life.
8 But now you must get rid of all such things—anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive language from your mouth.
9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have stripped off the old self with its practices
10 and have clothed yourselves with the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of its creator.
11 In that renewal there is no longer Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free; but Christ is all and in all!

We are to be ‘living sacrifices’ in this new covenant:

Romans 12:1-2 NRSV
I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.
2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.

And we are temples of the holy spirit:

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NRSV
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God, and that you are not your own?
20 For you were bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body.

Bought with a price, an awesome price – because Messiah Jesus was not only the messenger and mediator of the new covenant, but by his sacrifice he provided the blood of the new covenant by which we are redeemed:

1 Corinthians 11:23-26 NRSV
For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took a loaf of bread,
24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”
25 In the same way he took the cup also, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”
26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

Hebrews 9:11-12 NRSV
But when Christ came as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation),
12 he entered once for all into the Holy Place, not with the blood of goats and calves, but with his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption.

Hebrews 9:28 NRSV
so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin, but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.

Are sins dealt with effectively and completely under this new covenant?

Hebrews 2:17 NRSV
Therefore he had to become like his brothers and sisters in every respect, so that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make a sacrifice of atonement for the sins of the people.

Hebrews 10:12 NRSV
But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, “he sat down at the right hand of God,”

Hebrews 10:17 NRSV
he also adds, “I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.”

So what does being in the new covenant now mean for those who believe?

Galatians 3:27 NRSV
As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.

Summary
Yahweh’s New Covenant was brought and presented to Israel as a foundation of the messianic kingdom program. However the nation as a whole rejected the Messiah, his message and the covenant at that time, so the New Covenant will not be fulfilled with the nation of Israel until the Day of the Lord (Messiah’s return to earth) when the nation in repentance accepts the Messiah whom it previously considered to be ”stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted” (Isa 53:4; Zech 12:10-14).

Before that happens, believing Jews and gentiles are blessed to be able to participate in the New Covenant. This they can do through spirit baptism into Christ at the time of conversion. Though the Servant/Messiah came to His own people, “His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become the children of God, even to those who believe in His name . . .” (John 1:11-12).

The New Covenant Promised By Yahweh – Part 4

When Jesus came preaching the ‘kingdom of God’ and offering everlasting life in that kingdom for all those who would believe, accept it and obey, he was actually delivering the new covenant proposal message to the people and nation from Yahweh God, our Father. We know that Jesus always said that the words (the message) he spoke were not his words but the Father’s – and that message, as it had always been, was essentially: believe Me, trust Me, love Me, obey Me, and I will be your God – and this time I will give you a heart, a mind and a spirit to do it.

We saw in previous studies (see under Category ‘Jesus’) the kind of Messiah the nation expected at that time, an all-conquering national leader giving them victory over their enemies, and that in actual fact Jesus came as a ‘suffering servant’ the first time bringing the message (gospel) of the kingdom of God and salvation – the new covenant message, as the mediator of that covenant.

Was Jesus and the covenant message he brought received eagerly and accepted by the people and the leaders in Israel, and the covenant entered into at that time? Many of the people welcomed Jesus and his message from Yahweh initially:

Matthew 7:28-8:1 NRSV
Now when Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were astounded at his teaching,
29 for he taught them as one having authority, and not as their scribes.
8:1 When Jesus had come down from the mountain, great crowds followed him;

John 4:1 NRSV
Now when Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard, “Jesus is making and baptizing more disciples than John”

Mark 4:1-2 NRSV
Again he began to teach beside the sea. Such a very large crowd gathered around him that he got into a boat on the sea and sat there, while the whole crowd was beside the sea on the land.
2 He began to teach them many things in parables, and in his teaching he said to them:

Luke 4:14-15 NRSV
Then Jesus, filled with the power of the Spirit, returned to Galilee, and a report about him spread through all the surrounding country.
15 He began to teach in their synagogues and was praised by everyone.

John 4:39-45 NRSV
Many Samaritans from that city believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I have ever done.”
40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them; and he stayed there two days.
41 And many more believed because of his word.
42 They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is truly the Savior of the world.”
43 When the two days were over, he went from that place to Galilee
44 (for Jesus himself had testified that a prophet has no honor in the prophet’s own country).
45 When he came to Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him, since they had seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the festival; for they too had gone to the festival.

Luke 6:17-19 NRSV
He came down with them and stood on a level place, with a great crowd of his disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea, Jerusalem, and the coast of Tyre and Sidon.
18 They had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases; and those who were troubled with unclean spirits were cured.
19 And all in the crowd were trying to touch him, for power came out from him and healed all of them.

Luke 8:40 NRSV
Now when Jesus returned, the crowd welcomed him, for they were all waiting for him.

John 7:40-41 NRSV
When they heard these words, some in the crowd said, “This is really the prophet.”
41 Others said, “This is the Messiah.” But some asked, “Surely the Messiah does not come from Galilee, does he?

Matthew 21:9-11 NRSV
The crowds that went ahead of him and that followed were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
10 When he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in turmoil, asking, “Who is this?”
11 The crowds were saying, “This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.”

Luke 19:36-38 NRSV
As he rode along, people kept spreading their cloaks on the road.
37 As he was now approaching the path down from the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the deeds of power that they had seen,
38 saying, “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest heaven!”

How was Jesus and his message received by the authorities and religious leaders?

John 3:1-2 NRSV
Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews.
2 He came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God.”

Notice that Nicodemus came by night, not openly. Also that ‘we’, the rulers of the Jews, ‘know that you are a teacher from Yahweh God’. Jesus informed them through Nicodemus, that they must be ‘born again’ – be internally and spiritually transformed to enter into the kingdom of God and the new covenant with Yahweh (verses 3-9).

Did they understand, believe, accept and receive this?

John 3:10-15 NRSV
Jesus answered him, “Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand these things?
11 “Very truly, I tell you, we speak of what we know and testify to what we have seen; yet you do not receive our testimony.
12 If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you about heavenly things?
13 No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man.
14 And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up,
15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.

Not according to Jesus in these verses.

Do other scriptures indicate that the chief priests and leaders of Israel rejected Jesus and the message he brought?

Matthew 12:24 NRSV
But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, “It is only by Beelzebul, the ruler of the demons, that this fellow casts out the demons.”

And Jesus answered:

Matthew 12:28 NRSV
But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come to you.

They continued to reject him:

Matthew 21:42-46 NRSV
Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the scriptures: “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is amazing in our eyes’?
43 Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that produces the fruits of the kingdom.
44 The one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; and it will crush anyone on whom it falls.”
45 When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they realized that he was speaking about them.
46 They wanted to arrest him, but they feared the crowds, because they regarded him as a prophet.

Matthew 22:15 NRSV
Then the Pharisees went and plotted to entrap him in what he said.

Jesus said that the Scribes and Pharisees sat in Moses seat, but that they were hypocrites:

Matthew 23:1-2 NRSV
Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples,
2 “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat;

Matthew 23:13 NRSV
”But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you lock people out of the kingdom of heaven. For you do not go in yourselves, and when others are going in, you stop them.
Along with verses 15, 23, 25, 27 and 29! Seven ‘woes to them’ in chapter 23 of Matthew!

Did Jesus say that by rejecting him they would be rejecting Yahweh God?

Luke 10:16 NRSV
“Whoever listens to you listens to me, and whoever rejects you rejects me, and whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me.”

They not only rejected him and his message but sought to destroy him:

Luke 19:47 NRSV
Every day he was teaching in the temple. The chief priests, the scribes, and the leaders of the people kept looking for a way to kill him;

Mark 11:18 NRSV
And when the chief priests and the scribes heard it, they kept looking for a way to kill him; for they were afraid of him, because the whole crowd was spellbound by his teaching.

Matthew 26:3-5 NRSV
Then the chief priests and the elders of the people gathered in the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas,
4 and they conspired to arrest Jesus by stealth and kill him.
5 But they said, “Not during the festival, or there may be a riot among the people.”

Matthew 27:1 NRSV
When morning came, all the chief priests and the elders of the people conferred together against Jesus in order to bring about his death.

Mark 15:1, 10-11 NRSV
As soon as it was morning, the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council. They bound Jesus, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate.
10 For he realized that it was out of jealousy that the chief priests had handed him over.
11 But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have him release Barabbas for them instead.

Even at this time they were still asking ‘are you the Christ(Messiah)?’ – not to believe him and accept him, but to accuse him and condemn him:

Mark 14:61-64 NRSV
But he was silent and did not answer. Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?”
62 Jesus said, “I am; and “you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Power,’ and “coming with the clouds of heaven.’ ”
63 Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “Why do we still need witnesses?
64 You have heard his blasphemy! What is your decision?” All of them condemned him as deserving death.

Luke 22:66-71 NRSV
When day came, the assembly of the elders of the people, both chief priests and scribes, gathered together, and they brought him to their council.
67 They said, “If you are the Messiah, tell us.” He replied, “If I tell you, you will not believe;
68 and if I question you, you will not answer.
69 But from now on the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the power of God.”
70 All of them asked, “Are you, then, the Son of God?” He said to them, “You say that I am.”
71 Then they said, “What further testimony do we need? We have heard it ourselves from his own lips!”

And the chief priest turned the people against Jesus:

Matthew 27:20-23 NRSV
Now the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowds to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus killed.
21 The governor again said to them, “Which of the two do you want me to release for you?” And they said, “Barabbas.”
22 Pilate said to them, “Then what should I do with Jesus who is called the Messiah?” All of them said, “Let him be crucified!”
23 Then he asked, “Why, what evil has he done?” But they shouted all the more, “Let him be crucified!”

The chief priests and leaders rejected Jesus, the awaited Messiah, and his new covenant message, urging and persuading the people to do likewise – resulting in his crucifixion and death. But some remained faithful:

Acts 1:15-16 NRSV
In those days Peter stood up among the believers (together the crowd numbered about one hundred twenty persons) and said,
16 “Friends, the scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit through David foretold concerning Judas, who became a guide for those who arrested Jesus—

Acts 2:1-5 NRSV
When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.
2 And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting.
3 Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them.
4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.
5 Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem.

As a result of their witness more were added:

Acts 2:41-42 NRSV
So those who welcomed his message were baptized, and that day about three thousand persons were added.
42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.

But still the Jewish leaders and religious authorities rejected the gospel message and the new covenant, even when the spirit was poured out as prophesied:

Acts 2:16-18 NRSV
No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel:
17 “In the last days it will be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.
18 Even upon my slaves, both men and women, in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy.

And even when Peter, Paul and the others took it to them – as we shall see in the next study.

The New Covenant Promised By Yahweh – Part 3

When Jesus came preaching the ‘kingdom of God’ and offering everlasting life in that kingdom for all those who would believe, accept it and obey, he was actually delivering the new covenant proposal message to the people and nation from Yahweh God, our Father. We know that Jesus always said that the words (the message) he spoke were not his words but the Father’s – and that message, as it had always been, was essentially: believe Me, trust Me, love Me, obey Me, and I will be your God – and this time I will give you a heart, a mind and a spirit to do it.

We saw in previous studies (see under Category ‘Jesus’) the kind of Messiah the nation expected at that time, an all-conquering national leader giving them victory over their enemies, and that in actual fact Jesus came as a ‘suffering servant’ the first time bringing the message (gospel) of the kingdom of God and salvation – the new covenant message, as the mediator of that covenant.

Was Jesus and the covenant message he brought received eagerly and accepted by the people and the leaders in Israel, and the covenant entered into at that time? Many of the people welcomed Jesus and his message from Yahweh initially:

Matthew 7:28-8:1 NRSV
Now when Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were astounded at his teaching,
29 for he taught them as one having authority, and not as their scribes.
8:1 When Jesus had come down from the mountain, great crowds followed him;

John 4:1 NRSV
Now when Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard, “Jesus is making and baptizing more disciples than John”

Mark 4:1-2 NRSV
Again he began to teach beside the sea. Such a very large crowd gathered around him that he got into a boat on the sea and sat there, while the whole crowd was beside the sea on the land.
2 He began to teach them many things in parables, and in his teaching he said to them:

Luke 4:14-15 NRSV
Then Jesus, filled with the power of the Spirit, returned to Galilee, and a report about him spread through all the surrounding country.
15 He began to teach in their synagogues and was praised by everyone.

John 4:39-45 NRSV
Many Samaritans from that city believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I have ever done.”
40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them; and he stayed there two days.
41 And many more believed because of his word.
42 They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is truly the Savior of the world.”
43 When the two days were over, he went from that place to Galilee
44 (for Jesus himself had testified that a prophet has no honor in the prophet’s own country).
45 When he came to Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him, since they had seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the festival; for they too had gone to the festival.

Luke 6:17-19 NRSV
He came down with them and stood on a level place, with a great crowd of his disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea, Jerusalem, and the coast of Tyre and Sidon.
18 They had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases; and those who were troubled with unclean spirits were cured.
19 And all in the crowd were trying to touch him, for power came out from him and healed all of them.

Luke 8:40 NRSV
Now when Jesus returned, the crowd welcomed him, for they were all waiting for him.

John 7:40-41 NRSV
When they heard these words, some in the crowd said, “This is really the prophet.”
41 Others said, “This is the Messiah.” But some asked, “Surely the Messiah does not come from Galilee, does he?

Matthew 21:9-11 NRSV
The crowds that went ahead of him and that followed were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
10 When he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in turmoil, asking, “Who is this?”
11 The crowds were saying, “This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.”

Luke 19:36-38 NRSV
As he rode along, people kept spreading their cloaks on the road.
37 As he was now approaching the path down from the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the deeds of power that they had seen,
38 saying, “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest heaven!”

How was Jesus and his message received by the authorities and religious leaders?

John 3:1-2 NRSV
Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews.
2 He came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God.”

Notice that Nicodemus came by night, not openly. Also that ‘we’, the rulers of the Jews, ‘know that you are a teacher from Yahweh God’. Jesus informed them through Nicodemus, that they must be ‘born again’ – be internally and spiritually transformed to enter into the kingdom of God and the new covenant with Yahweh (verses 3-9).

Did they understand, believe, accept and receive this?

John 3:10-15 NRSV
Jesus answered him, “Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand these things?
11 “Very truly, I tell you, we speak of what we know and testify to what we have seen; yet you do not receive our testimony.
12 If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you about heavenly things?
13 No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man.
14 And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up,
15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.

Not according to Jesus in these verses.

Do other scriptures indicate that the chief priests and leaders of Israel rejected Jesus and the message he brought?

Matthew 12:24 NRSV
But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, “It is only by Beelzebul, the ruler of the demons, that this fellow casts out the demons.”

And Jesus answered:

Matthew 12:28 NRSV
But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come to you.

They continued to reject him:

Matthew 21:42-46 NRSV
Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the scriptures: “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is amazing in our eyes’?
43 Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that produces the fruits of the kingdom.
44 The one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; and it will crush anyone on whom it falls.”
45 When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they realized that he was speaking about them.
46 They wanted to arrest him, but they feared the crowds, because they regarded him as a prophet.

Matthew 22:15 NRSV
Then the Pharisees went and plotted to entrap him in what he said.

Jesus said that the Scribes and Pharisees sat in Moses seat, but that they were hypocrites:

Matthew 23:1-2 NRSV
Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples,
2 “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat;

Matthew 23:13 NRSV
”But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you lock people out of the kingdom of heaven. For you do not go in yourselves, and when others are going in, you stop them.

Along with verses 15, 23, 25, 27 and 29! Seven ‘woes to them’ in chapter 23 of Matthew!

Did Jesus say that by rejecting him they would be rejecting Yahweh God?

Luke 10:16 NRSV
“Whoever listens to you listens to me, and whoever rejects you rejects me, and whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me.”

They not only rejected him and his message but sought to destroy him:

Luke 19:47 NRSV
Every day he was teaching in the temple. The chief priests, the scribes, and the leaders of the people kept looking for a way to kill him;

Mark 11:18 NRSV
And when the chief priests and the scribes heard it, they kept looking for a way to kill him; for they were afraid of him, because the whole crowd was spellbound by his teaching.

Matthew 26:3-5 NRSV
Then the chief priests and the elders of the people gathered in the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas,
4 and they conspired to arrest Jesus by stealth and kill him.
5 But they said, “Not during the festival, or there may be a riot among the people.”

Matthew 27:1 NRSV
When morning came, all the chief priests and the elders of the people conferred together against Jesus in order to bring about his death.

Mark 15:1, 10-11 NRSV
As soon as it was morning, the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council. They bound Jesus, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate.
10 For he realized that it was out of jealousy that the chief priests had handed him over.
11 But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have him release Barabbas for them instead.

Even at this time they were still asking ‘are you the Christ(Messiah)?’ – not to believe him and accept him, but to accuse him and condemn him:

Mark 14:61-64 NRSV
But he was silent and did not answer. Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?”
62 Jesus said, “I am; and “you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Power,’ and “coming with the clouds of heaven.’ ”
63 Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “Why do we still need witnesses?
64 You have heard his blasphemy! What is your decision?” All of them condemned him as deserving death.

Luke 22:66-71 NRSV
When day came, the assembly of the elders of the people, both chief priests and scribes, gathered together, and they brought him to their council.
67 They said, “If you are the Messiah, tell us.” He replied, “If I tell you, you will not believe;
68 and if I question you, you will not answer.
69 But from now on the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the power of God.”
70 All of them asked, “Are you, then, the Son of God?” He said to them, “You say that I am.”
71 Then they said, “What further testimony do we need? We have heard it ourselves from his own lips!”

And the chief priest turned the people against Jesus:

Matthew 27:20-23 NRSV
Now the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowds to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus killed.
21 The governor again said to them, “Which of the two do you want me to release for you?” And they said, “Barabbas.”
22 Pilate said to them, “Then what should I do with Jesus who is called the Messiah?” All of them said, “Let him be crucified!”
23 Then he asked, “Why, what evil has he done?” But they shouted all the more, “Let him be crucified!”

The chief priests and leaders rejected Jesus, the awaited Messiah, and his new covenant message, urging and persuading the people to do likewise – resulting in his crucifixion and death. But some remained faithful:

Acts 1:15-16 NRSV
In those days Peter stood up among the believers (together the crowd numbered about one hundred twenty persons) and said,
16 “Friends, the scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit through David foretold concerning Judas, who became a guide for those who arrested Jesus—

Acts 2:1-5 NRSV
When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.
2 And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting.
3 Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them.
4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.
5 Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem.

As a result of their witness more were added:

Acts 2:41-42 NRSV
So those who welcomed his message were baptized, and that day about three thousand persons were added.
42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.

But still the Jewish leaders and religious authorities rejected the gospel message and the new covenant, even when the spirit was poured out as prophesied:

Acts 2:16-18 NRSV
No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel:
17 “In the last days it will be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.
18 Even upon my slaves, both men and women, in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy.

And even when Peter, Paul and the others took it to them – as we shall see in the next study.