• Jennifer Perez

Jesus: The Messiah God’s People Had Hoped for but Few Expected

A few years ago, my husband and I were so excited to give our basketball-loving son his Christmas present--a set of tickets for our family to see our Alma Mater play a basketball game. We knew our son would be thrilled to see them live and in person!

As we drove down to the campus, we didn’t tell him where we were going or give him any clues about his gift. Just as we turned onto the main street leading towards the arena, I turned around and excitedly announced what his gift was.

However, instead of the happy and surprised face I had hoped to see, he looked at me, confused and disappointed. This game, no matter how cool we thought it would be, wasn’t the gift he had expected. (To this day, I don’t know what he was hoping for, but clearly, this game wasn’t it!)

Deflated, we parked the van and started walking towards the arena. But as we got closer to the entrance, suddenly my son’s eyes lit up as he heard the voice of the announcer and the loud music reverberating from inside. His disappointment turned to excitement once he realized that this gift was the best Christmas present he had ever gotten!

We’ve spent the first nine months of this year journeying through the Old Testament. We’ve read countless stories of God’s people, the Israelites, turning from the LORD and sinning against Him. But we’ve also read how our faithful, merciful God repeatedly sent prophets to tell His people that one day He would send a Messiah to deliver them once and for all.

However, when the New Testament begins, it’s been 400 years since God had spoken to His people through prophets. And after all of those years, they were still waiting for their Messiah to come.

Right away, in Luke 1, though, we read about a young girl, Mary, who was visited by an angel and told that she would become pregnant with the Son of the Most High! This baby, Jesus, would be holy, the Son of God Himself. Could this be the Messiah that God’s people had been waiting for?

Once this boy Jesus grew up, He healed people, performed miraculous signs, cast out demons, and even raised people from the dead. He did truly incredible things that no man had ever done!

Even the way that Jesus taught and spoke was like no other man. The depth of His understanding and knowledge of the Old Testament Scriptures captivated even the teachers of the Law.

But when He came, much like the basketball game wasn’t the gift my son was expecting, Jesus wasn’t the Messiah that some of God’s people had expected.

Throughout the Gospels, we see an ongoing conflict between Him and the teachers of the Law. They didn’t believe who He was or how He did the things He did. They thought He was a liar and a blasphemer.

Even Jesus’ disciples despaired when He warned them that the Son of Man would have to die, and they were confused when He told them that He would be raised to life on the third day. In their minds, the Messiah was supposed to be a mighty king who would conquer their (earthly) enemies, not someone who would willingly lay down His life.

Because He didn’t meet all of their expectations, many people who had been waiting for the Promised One totally missed who Jesus was--not merely some man but Emmanuel, God with us.

As we journey through the gospels, whether this is your first time reading through them or your tenth time, let’s ask Jesus to reveal more of who He is to us as we soak in His Word so that we don’t miss the fullness of who our Messiah is.

Just as my son, once he understood better what his gift was, eventually loved his gift. As we spend time understanding more of who Jesus is and what He has done for us, we will fall more in love with Him as our Lord and Savior.


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