Summary: We often miss God because we only look in the expected places
Who could believe it? Who would have ever thought it would have come to this? Such a powerful and glaring historical spectacle, nothing has gone as it seemed…. All of the professionals and most of the amatures got this one wrong. In fact as I read the record, no one suggested at any time that this would have happened. And maybe you thought you figured it out, only to see the situation change again. Of course, I’m talking about the Messiah.
I know many of you, like me have been glued to your televisions and radios this week, but I wanted to for just a moment draw your attention to the Messiah. You do remember him… Lord of Lords, King of Kings, the only one in whom we place our hope and trust. Yea, now you remember.
Well for what its worth, this is not the first time in history we’ve been confused. Its happened before. Its true in politics. In 1876 we didn’t have a president until 2 days before inaguration. 16 years earlier Abraham Lincoln was elected with no electors from the South.
And you know, I have no intention of making light of this current political crisis, but I suppose we have also been confused about weightier matters. At the turn of the 20th century, progressives fully expected the rapidly growing technologies, and the freedoms that had been found through the growth in literacy and humanitarian efforts would diminish the use of war and violence. In fact, Christian progressives were absolutely sure that the 20th century would be the end of such things and would that these efforts would usher in the kingdom of God. They were sure of it… and they were wrong. We just ended the most violent and destructive century in human history.
There were lots of folks who predicted that the second coming would occur around the turn of this century this time and the time before. One fella predicted it with such accuracy that he climbed up a tree and at 9:04am, on June 21, 1896, he lept out to meet the Lord in the air. Surely he met the Lord that day, but not in any way he expected. He was so sure of the outcome… and he was wrong. But at least he knows he was wrong. Our Jehovah’s witness friends will to this day debate you that Jesus did return in 1917 and did set up his kingdom on Earth. They are sure of it… and they are wrong.
And just so you don’t think I’m picking on current folks missing the Messiah, I need to note that we weren’t the first ones who missed him. The people of God, the chosen ones, the children of Israel, and the scribes and Pharisees who know the songs of the prophets best missed him too. In fact, they were warned to look out before hand. That the Messiah may not be exactly what they expected, that he may not come from the right family, that he may not have your axe to grind.
Listen to what Isaiah says of the Messiah. But listen again with fresh ears. Imagine for a moment that you are a first century Jew, and you are sure that the Messiah will be a political leader, who will not only liberate Rome, but will destroy Rome completely, including her soldiers, civilians, women and children. Now with that picture of Messiah in mind hear Isaiah.
Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. By oppression  and judgment he was taken away. And who can speak of his descendants? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was stricken.  He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes  his life a guilt offering, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand. After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light [of life]  and be satisfied  ; by his knowledge  my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities. Therefore I will give him a portion among the great,  and he will divide the spoils with the strong,  because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.