As Pastor Steve shared with us this past Sunday, as Jesus was nearing the Cross, both Mary and Martha, through their words and their actions, declared Jesus to be “the Anointed One”, the long awaited Messiah that Israel had been waiting for.
What Was Expected.
There were all kinds of hopes and expectations connected to this Messiah-figure. Israel was still in exile, under the rule of the Roman Empire, and so many of those expectations had to do with Israel being restored to her former glory. The enemies of Israel would finally be defeated, the Kingdom of Israel would finally be restored, and above all, God's Presence would once again dwell among the People of Israel in a powerful way, be restored to the Temple.
Not What Was Expected.
However, what Jesus was doing did not seem to fulfill any of these expectations. Rather than defeating the Romans, Jesus would soon be crucified by them. Rather than restoring the Kingdom of Israel, Jesus proclaimed a Kingdom that was “not of this world”. And rather than the glory of God returning to the Temple, Jesus declared that the Temple was now desolate, and that it would soon be torn down and destroyed. How then could anyone think that Jesus was the Promised Messiah?
It turns out that Jesus was indeed fulfilling the promises… but not in the way that was expected. Jesus was not merely here to defeat the Romans, but to take on the problem of Sin itself, defeating it through His death on the Cross. Jesus was indeed restoring the Kingdom of God, but not in and through a single earthly nation, but as a new community that now included all nations. And God’s Presence was returning to once again dwell among the People of God, but no longer within the walls of a Temple-structure… God's Presence would now dwell within His People themselves, transforming their hearts.
The point being... Jesus fulfilled the promises, but not in a way that anyone would have ever saw coming. Only those with “eyes to see” and “ears to hear” could catch a glimpse of what was now happening through Jesus. It turns out that the Gospel was far bigger than anyone could have possibly imagined. In fact, it still is. So, may we have eyes to see and ears to hear to comprehend the Good News that we are a part of.
May we walk in the Image of God this week!