But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.” Luke 1:30-33 NIV
The Jews expected their Messiah to overthrow of the Roman occupiers. To establish his kingdom in Jerusalem. Even in the verses above, the angel Gabriel tells Mary her son will be a king like David and will reign over the descendants of Jacob. Her son was the Messiah, the Savior who would make everything better.
But those who held these great expectations were disappointed by Jesus’ short life and humiliating death on a cross. He did not dispose the Roman leaders or relieve the physical oppression of the Jews.
John the Baptist foretold a different kind of Messiah, one whose love for us drives him to the ultimate gift, sacrifice.
John (the Baptist) saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! (John 1:29 NIV) John calls Jesus the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world. The lamb was a sacrificial animal. John knew Jesus would not be a future king, but an offering for sin. He understood the prophesy of Isaiah 53…
Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.
Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.
By oppression and judgment he was taken away. Yet who of his generation protested?
For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was punished. He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death,
though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.
Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand. After he has suffered, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities. Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. (Isaiah 53 NIV)
But the prophesy surrounding Jesus, does not end at the sacrifice. No! His kingdom begins there and continues in glory. He rose from the dead, proclaiming peace with God and eternal life to those who receive him. And when he departed in the clouds, the angels said he would return.
Do you anticipate Jesus with great expectation?
He’s coming back as the King Gabriel described to Mary, and his kingdom will never end.
Let’s prepare our hearts and our lives to receive him.