Discovering the Messiah -Carrie Roark
For thousands of years, God’s people suffered and struggled. The Old Testament chronicles the long fall of mankind from the breast of God down to the pits of Hell. From the day the gate to the garden closed, humanity suffered the consequences of the choice to sin. And from that same day, God planned a grand strategy to redeem man to himself. He would send a Christ to save them.
The Old Testament told of the fall, the suffering, and the promise. The Old Testament prophesied of a Great Coming. And people waited, and they watched. They longed for the savior to come and save them from oppression, pain, and suffering. Then one day, He came. Angelic visits…and visions…and a virgin birth ushered in the world’s long-awaited hope. They were ready, but would they see? Would they believe?
There was a problem…a big one. The Messiah was not what they were expecting. They thought they would get a mighty, conquering king riding a white steed. They thought the Messiah would wipe out the Romans. They wanted freedom. They wanted God to make their oppressors pay for mistreating God’s people.
How could they accept this humble baby born to a carpenter, no less, to be the Great Hope they longed for? He never rose up against the Romans. He never rallied an Army. What did he do instead? He actually endorsed paying Caesar his taxes! He met alone with a woman at the well – a Samaritan woman! He called tax collectors to follow him. He taught and healed on the Sabbath! He wasn’t a good Jew. How could he be the Messiah? It was ridiculous really. He didn’t save them from anything. He stayed hidden for 30 years. Then when he finally came on the scene, he broke many of their customs. He taught them to turn the other cheek and to love their enemies. Love their enemies? No! Their enemies deserved to be defeated. They deserved death!
Sure, he did some pretty amazing things, like feeding more than 5 thousand people with a single sack lunch. He healed hundreds. There were rumors he even brought men back from the dead. But Jesus had the temerity to claim to be God. There was no way they could believe this. He criticized God’s most faithful spiritual leaders. He said they were empty and showy. But what finally proved he couldn’t be the Messiah was that the very Romans he was supposed to defeat had him beaten and put to death. It made no sense!
The New Testament was written to prove that, in spite of all of this, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Mary and Joseph, was indeed the blessed Son of God, the Messiah. He didn’t save them in the way they wanted, but he saved them in the way they needed. In their blindness and pride, they rejected him. And despite their blindness and pride, he forgave them. He forgave them because they didn’t know they had a much bigger problem than being oppressed. Christ came not to defeat the Romans but to defeat the greater enemy, sin and death. He came not just to save the Jews but to save all people of all time – even the Romans.
The New Testament was written by his most faithful followers, some who walked with him and some who came to believe later. For a period of about 60 years, the Holy Spirit inspired these men to write, to tell us he is the One Long-Awaited. The great longing has ended. And word for word and line by line, it tells us to believe.