In the time of the Prophet Jesus (as), the whole of the Mediterranean was under Roman rule. Like all the societies around the Mediterranean, the Romans believed in a polytheistic, false religion. Jewish society also contained several sects that interpreted Judaism in various ways. There had been a move away from the true faith imparted by Allah to the Prophet Moses (as), and superstitious customs and corrupt beliefs had grown up. At this time when the Prophet Jesus (as) first came to Earth he engaged in a great struggle with both the pagan Hellenic culture and various polytheistic groups among the Jews. He described the religion of Allah to them using wise parables.
However, a number of supposed men of religion headed the opposition to the true path to which the Prophet Jesus (as) called people. These had become uneasy at the revelation sent down to human beings by Allah through the Prophet Jesus (as). That was because the Prophet Jesus’ (as) message showed both those who possessed a materialist mindset and also those who had turned towards show and superstition by losing their true faith that they were on the wrong path.
These so-called men of religion who benefited from the established order refused to comply with the Prophet Jesus’ (as) message, even though they knew it was a call to the truth. The people in question possessed considerable authority over Judaic society. By being regarded as men of religion they enjoyed respect from everyone. The false system they had established had become an institution that provided them with status and even with money. They were also collaborating with the Roman governor who ran the country. This allowed them to benefit from the privileges accorded to them by Rome. In the light of these circumstances it is easy to see why the Prophet Jesus’ (as) message made these supposed clergymen so uneasy. That is because, like all the prophets, the Prophet Jesus (as), too, told the society he was sent to about the evils of this corrupt, false system that regarded all forms of immorality as legitimate, and called on people to abandon it. He told people to abandon all injustices, unfairness, immorality and their pagan religion and to live for Allah alone. He counseled people to fear and love Allah and to submit to Him.
It is described in the Gospel how the Prophet Jesus (as) revealed the fraudulent nature of these so-called men of religion before the public:
Beware of the teachers of the law. They like to walk around in flowing robes and love to be greeted in the marketplaces and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets. They devour widows' houses and for a show make lengthy prayers. Such men will be punished most severely. (Luke, 20: 46-47)
We are told in the Qur’an that the Prophet Jesus (as) was sent in order to confirm the Torah and to rid the Jews of their false beliefs and practices. The Prophet Jesus’ (as) message is described as follows in Surah Al ‘Imran:
[Jesus will say,] “I come confirming the Torah I find already there, and to make lawful for you some of what was previously forbidden to you. I have brought you a sign from your Lord. So have fear of Allah and obey me. Allah is my Lord and your Lord so worship Him. That is a straight path.” (Surah Al ‘Imran, 50-51)
Some Jewish men of religion of the time refused to recognize the Prophet Jesus (as) and waged a great struggle against him, even though they were waiting for the Messiah mentioned in their scriptures and witnessed the superior moral virtues and faith of the Prophet Jesus (as) as well as the miracles imparted to him by our Lord. In the same way that some supposed men of religion in the past, whose own interests were threatened, opposed the Prophet Jesus (as), when he returns to Earth people with those same immorality may well also oppose him. The way that these people, who have the appearance of men of religion, speak out against the Prophet Jesus (as) and make propaganda against him may well mislead one section of the public. However, someone who sincerely believes in the faith revealed by Allah and who lives solely for His approval will, by Allah’s leave, immediately recognize the Prophet Jesus (as) through his conscience the moment he sees this holy prophet and will fully submit himself to him. True believers will have no concerns about securing rank and position or protecting the positions they have already obtained. The only thing true believers desire is to please Allah and to be able to live the life of which He approves. When the Prophet Jesus (as) returns, since they observe only the approval of Allah, they will, by Allah’s leave, follow this holy prophet and support him in the best possible way.