As we approach this Christmas holiday we may have certain expectations of how everything will turn out—baking cookies, playing Christmas music, sending out cards, wrapping gifts, hanging lights, decorating a tree, etc. These things set the stage and prepare us for the celebration of Christmas.
Imagine if we didn’t decorate for Christmas, send out cards or bake cookies, would anyone recognize it’s time for Christmas?
Two thousand years ago many were anticipating something great to happen, the arrival of the “Messiah the Prince” of the “Anointed One, the ruler” (Daniel 9:24-27). People were expectantly waiting for a new Messiah around 30 AD when Jesus was born, based on the prophecy of Daniel. Jerusalem had a lot of preparation to do before the arrival of their new king. The arrival of their new king, meant a new hope for their nation.
Little was known of how their new king was going to arrive or what he looked like. Was he to arrive in a chariot of gold, or on a cloud from heaven? Was he to be surrounded by royalty and clothed with robes and riches? A worldly expectation would be for a king to be surrounded by all these things.
The Israelite’s only had the prophecy of Daniel to prepare their hearts for God’s timing and that their Messiah would be a descendant of David (Matt. 1:6, Luke 3:31). They were not given a description of what their new king looked like only His titles of what He was to fulfill when He came.
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6 NIV
The Israelite’s weren’t looking for some lowly figure to be their new king, but someone of great importance such as a great military leader or a mighty politician (MacAruthur p. 130). They were not expecting a baby to fulfill God’s promises.
The Israelite’s didn’t know, their new king would not meet any of their expectations. Because they put their own worldly expectations on who their new Messiah would be, they didn’t even recognize their Messiah when he arrived.
Luke 2:11-12 NKJV
“For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manager.”
Their new king didn’t make a grand entrance announcing his arrival by riding on a horse, being surrounded by royalty, wearing a crown or holding a septer in his hand. Instead He was born of two peasants Mary and Joseph. His birth was announced by an angel to shepherds and born in a stable amongst barn animals.
God fulfilled his promises of a king, but the only Israelite’s who recognized and “understood that Jesus was the Messiah at His birth were Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, Simeon and Anna,” people of no significance (MacArthur p. 130).
Can you imagine waiting for your king to arrive and not even recognizing him?
God’s plan wasn’t to have Jesus raised up on a pedestal and be brought into this world among royalty (even though he was a king), but be born among the humble and to dwell among us (John 1:14).
God has the most amazing plans ever. He used a baby to change the world.
God was fulfilling a greater plan for His greater purpose. Imagine all of the Israelite’s who missed out on the birth of their Messiah because they were expecting something different. They inserted their own expectations and definitions of a king, not allowing for God’s greater plan to unfold.
Have you been in the presence of Jesus and didn’t even recognize Him?
We don’t have to wait, our king is here. We can rejoice because, our “Savior has been born!” (Luke 2:11). He is our Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace! Praying your Christmas will be filled with all of God’s greatness and glory of our king, Amen!
Join me next week as we take a step closer to the actual birth of Jesus, who was invited to be there and witness the birth of our king!
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Twelve Extraordinary Women by John MacArthur by Thomas Nelson Publishers