Jesus was born, lived, and died as a first century Palestinian Jew. He observed the Jewish law (Torah), celebrated Jewish festivals (Passover, etc.), read from the Jewish scriptures, and participated in Jewish communal worship (synagogue). It is indisputable that the historical Jesus was a product of his own time. But Jesus did not merely regurgitate the Jewish ideas and practices he inherited from his predecessors, he also added his own unique interpretation of the religious concepts passed down to him. One area where this is particularly evident is Jesus’ messianic theology. Jesus was not the first Jew to expect the coming of a messianic figure. Messianism was not a central concern of many Second Temple Jews, but there are several documents pre-dating Jesus (Daniel, 1 Enoch, Psalms of Solomon, Dead Sea Scrolls) that do contain messianic speculation. The goal of this study is to examine those documents to determine the nature of pre-Jesus Jewish messianic speculation and compare Jesus’ messianic theology as recounted in the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke) to determine how the historical Jesus adopted, adapted, and expanded previous Jewish messianic notions into his own time. Examining the points of contact and divergence between Jesus and his religious predecessors reveals that, while he added his own contributions to Second Temple Jewish messianic theology, Jesus interpreted his own messianic theology in specifically Jewish ways. I will seek to argue that the Gospel writers narrating his life and teachings did not see Jesus’ theological innovations in the same manner he did, viewing his points of divergence from previous Jewish messianic speculation as a mark of his independence from Judaism rather than a mark of his Jewishness. I will argue that this phenomenon is the product of the much larger impulse to distinguish early Christianity from Judaism, a process that was beginning to unfold during the time of the Gospel writers (c. 65 – 85 CE).