Why do Jews not Accept Jesus as the Messiah?
There is an even greater problem with acknowledging Jesus as the Messiah than with the question of his prophethood (as discussed HERE). Let’s first take a look at the word Messiah. In Hebrew, the word Mashîyaḥ means “anointed”. Among other things, it was a title of the kings of Israel (Saul, David, Solomon, etc.) who were anointed with oil during their coronation ceremony. The full title is Mèlèkh Mashīyaḥ, which means “anointed king” (King Messiah). When David rose to the throne (and became an anointed king; a king messiah), God promised him that, if he and his descendants would observe God’s commandments faithfully, there would always be someone from his family on the throne of Israel (1 Kings 2:1-4, 1 Kings 9:5). After David, his son Solomon became king messiah, and his descendants after him, for multiple generations.
Unfortunately, not all kings from that dynasty were faithful to God; some of them abandoned the Torah, worshiped idols, and unfortunately, many Jews followed them on this idolatrous path. God punished the people of Israel. They were defeated by their enemies, the Davidic kingdom was ended, and the Jewish people were scattered all over the world. However, God is Merciful, His anger does not last forever, and His punishment has an end.
God let the people know that one day the exile would end, that God would bring the Jewish people back to the land that he gave them under Moses and Joshua, and that he would even restore the royal house of David. In other words: There would be another king messiah, a descendant of David. This is the Messiah that the Jews are waiting for: a human, mortal descendant of king David, publicly anointed during his coronation ceremony.
The expectations are that he will defeat the enemies of the Jewish people once and for all, so that there will be a world-wide peace in which the entire world will acknowledge God as the Only One. After the temple was destroyed by the Romans, this expectation also included the rebuilding of the temple. This expectation, this hope for redemption has comforted the Jewish people through years of suppression and centuries of persecution. Of course, this redemption cannot happen at the expense of other nations. The end of the oppression of the Jews should also mean the end of the oppression of all other nations as well.
In times of despair, from time to time, there rose individuals from among the Jewish people who claimed to be the promised Messiah, some of them with many followers. In Jesus’ days too, persecution was severe and the hope and expectation that the Messiah would come soon, was strong among the people. No doubt, Jesus inspired many people, and brought them closer to God. No doubt he gave them hope and new meaning. But the requirements for someone to be the promised Messiah, were not fulfilled. Christians believe that Jesus brought a spiritual redemption. Spiritual redemption no doubt is a great thing. If someone is paralyzed by fear and grief, if someone has no hope left for the future, then that is not a worthy life. For all those who, thanks to Jesus’ message, found new hope, his message means a great deal. But the expectation for the Messiah is that also, first and foremost, he will undo a physical and societal oppression, undo the exile, and rule as a real king over Israel.
In his lifetime, Jesus never defeated the cruel Romans, nor did he end their tyranny. On the contrary, in the following years, these same Romans destroyed the temple, razed and burned down Jewish towns and villages, bloodily slaughtered their citizens, enslaved men, women and children, and exiled the remaining survivors from their land. Until today, there is no peace in the world as a whole.
For Judaism, there is no doubt about it: With Jesus, the messianic age did not commence. Therefore, for Jews, Jesus was not the promised Messiah. Up until now, they believe that the Messiah has not come. Some Jews believe that the fact that Jews have returned to the Holy Land after almost 2,000 years, could perhaps be an indication that his coming is near. At the same time, other Jews believe the opposite, namely that because Jews are returning to Palestine before the coming of the Messiah, this postpones his coming. God knows. In the meantime, we should not wait passively but endeavor to make this world a better place and to establish peace, love, and justice on earth to the best of our ability.
 Christians also believe that Jesus’ mission was not completed. They (and Muslims) believe that he will one day descend from heaven and rule as the king Messiah over the entire world in peace and righteousness. Even though Jews do not believe this, should that ever happen, they too would be very happy.