What Kind of Messiah?
Whether it be the child’s eagerly awaited birthday party, the pregnant mother’s birthing expectations, or a carefully planned major holiday, there comes a time when the period of waiting is ended and anticipation turns into lived experience. When the time arrives, it may live up to expectations or be a great disappointment. It may exceed expectations.
All four gospel writers tell us that the life, death and resurrection of Jesus was the fulfilment of Israelite expectations about a coming Messiah. “The kingdom of God has come near,” they said. However, for many of his fellow citizens, he was so different from what they expected that they could not identify him as such. They still await the coming of the Messiah. That’s not surprising. Instead of ruling with political, military and economic power, his rule was an expression of love – self-giving, compassionate, holy love. Instead of being for Israel alone, it was for all people.
For those who could see it, it exceeded all expectations. It called for a complete change of approach. Hence the call to repent and believe. It involves the dethronement of our ego and our cooperation with the Spirit of Christ dwelling within us.
Could this be the message for Australia on Australia Day? National greatness does not come from finding a political, military and economic messiah, but from allowing Christ to have his way in national, community, family and personal life.
- Recall times when your periods of expectation came to fruition. Were your expectations realized or exceeded, or were you disappointed?
- If Jesus was so different from the Messiah generally expected in his day, why claim for him the title of Messiah?
- Why is it necessary to repent and believe to become part of the kingdom of God?
- What makes a nation truly great?