Summary: The uniqueness of the Messiah is that He did not come in the fashion that man had conceived Him to be . . .
THE UNIQUENESS OF THE MESSIAH
IN THE MIND OF A JEW, THE PROMISED MESSIAH was going to rule the nation Israel as a mighty king who will come from the lineage of king David. He will be the Jewish hero who will restore the kingdom to Israel and destroy evil and will make everything right for the Jews. So they pictured the Messiah as a mighty warrior or soldier; a mighty king who will rule them and bring peace and prosperity. That is why before Jesus ascended to heaven the apostles asked:
“Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6)
The Jews thought that King David’s descendants would enjoy a never-ending political reign on earth. (2Sam 7:16; 22:48-51; Jer 33). This is the idea that every Jew had been holding on to regarding the Messiah. But when Babylon invaded Israel in 586 B.C. the Davidic kingdom was interrupted. When they return to Jerusalem, they rebuilt the walls and the temple and the monarchy stopped. There was no more king to rule over them.
The Jews agree that the Messiah:
- will come from the line of King David
- he will be a teacher
- he will be a miracle-worker
- as a priest and king (Ps 110:1-4)
but the question is will the Jews recognize the Messiah when He comes? No! He came and they rejected Him.
The Jews cannot accept the fact that the Messiah was one who was from eternity past, who was God in the flesh. That is why they could not accept Jesus being the Messiah. Sad to say, they still await for the Messiah although He came already 2000 years ago.
When John the Baptist was proclaiming the good news (Luke 3:18), the people became curious that they came to ask him about his identity.
“The people were waiting expectantly and were all wondering in their hearts if John might possibly be the Christ.” (Luke 3:15)
With John’s usual fact-of-the-matter response, “of course not. I’m not even worthy to untie the thongs of his sandal.” (Luke 3:16)
The identity and the way how Jesus came at the scene was nowhere near the picture the Jews had in mind regarding the awaited Messiah. This uniqueness draws a picture of humility and purity totally distinct from the world’s standard. This uniqueness is what made Jesus stands out among those who proclaim themselves as savior of the world. This uniqueness identifies Him as One who is incomparable, as Napoleon Bonaparte says, “a mystery which is there before my eyes, a mystery which I can neither deny nor explain.”
Let us look into a number of uniqueness of the Messiah:
1. THE MESSIAH BORN IN A MANGER
Because the inn posted a sign, “No vacancy” that Joseph and Mary found themselves an available place, a stable where she gave birth to Jesus. She laid Him in a manger, a feeding trough (trof) for domesticated animals. The most common Old Testament equivalent is the Hebrew term translated “crib” or “stall” (Job 39:9, Prov 14:4, and Isa 1:3).
Long, long time ago, God promised David that it will be under his house that a kingdom or throne would be established forever, and that one of his descendants will sit upon his throne.
“Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your
throne will be established forever.” (2 Samuel 7:16)
Jesus, being born in line of King David therefore makes Him a prince. When a prince is born, there is usually a big national celebration but God did not do it the “world’s way” of how royalty is celebrated. His way of royalty was in a manger in a cave stable, wrapped in strips of cloth (Lk 2:7, NLT). Though Jesus was a royalty, He did not prefer to be served but to serve (Mat 20:28; Mark 10:45). He was a servant Messiah which the Jews cannot swallow. Remember, Jesus’ first guests were servants, the shepherds.
This baby had a message on the day He was born. The angel of the Lord said to the shepherds, “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ (Messiah) the Lord.” (2:11) The message announced by an angel of God to few chosen lowly people.
The Gospel of John records Jesus as the Son of God and the Jews cannot accept the fact that Jesus is God in the flesh. To the Jews, this was farfetched. They believe God is in heaven and but no way that He could have come down, more so, God incarnate. The apostle John said, “He came to that which was His own, but His own did not receive Him.” (John 1:11) The Jews missed the Messiah.
Had Jesus came in our generation, would the Jews recognize Him as the Messiah? No way. They would still missed Him. Because they keep picturing the Messiah as a soldier not a servant; a mighty king not a crucified king; a lion and not as a lamb to be slaughtered.