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Did Others Know What Was to Come?

Biblical Authority Devotional: Christmas, Part 3

by Jeremy Ham on December 16, 2010
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How much did the disciples and others really understand about the reason Jesus came to earth? Jeremy Ham, AiG–U.S., explains.

But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. (1 Corinthians 2:7–8)

Today’s big question: did others know what was to come?

Yesterday, we discussed whether Mary knew what was to come for baby Jesus. There are many prophecies in the Old Testament foretelling the coming Messiah and the sacrifice He would make (Isaiah 53:8; Daniel 9:26). Today, we will study whether people recognized these prophecies and associated them with Jesus.

Scripture is clear that “none of the rulers of this age knew.” In fact, if they did realize, “they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” Jesus actually talked about His death and Resurrection during His earthly ministry: “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up” (John 2:19; cf. Matthew 20:17–18). Yet, people still did not understand His words, as they thought He referred to the physical temple (John 2:20–22).

When Jesus arrived in Jerusalem, there was a big crowd of people shouting , “Hosanna! ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!’ The King of Israel!” (John 12:13). They expected Him to be their earthly king, but that was not the purpose of His coming. Many of these same people likely shouted for His crucifixion when Jesus was on trial a few days later.

Not even the disciples completely understood everything that was said and done until Jesus was glorified (John 12:16), although, Jesus was preparing them for their future ministries. He said that the Holy Spirit would be sent to them so that they would recall all that was said after everything was accomplished (John 14:26).

The shepherds recognized that there was something special about Jesus when they saw Him that day, as they were “glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them” (Luke 2:20). They likely did not fully understand what was to come, but they took the angels at their word and spread the good news about Christ Jesus the Messiah.

Moreover, Simeon understood that Jesus was destined to affect many hearts and also indicated to Mary that her Son would suffer (Luke 2:34–35). Although, no details were given, so it is hard to know whether Simeon or Mary fully understood what that meant.

God knew what He was doing all along; before Jesus was born, He knew people would not understand.  There was a reason God’s wisdom remained hidden: God’s plan for Jesus Christ needed to come to pass before this mystery was to be revealed to everyone.

Today’s big idea: God’s mystery is now revealed to us through His Word and by the Holy Spirit.

What to pray: ask God to help us understand this mystery that has been revealed.

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