Who Was This Newborn Messiah?

Christmas Devotional

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David Wright, AiG–U.S., shows how many of the people failed to recognize Jesus as the Messiah because of their expectations.

Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:10–11)

What were the people of that time expecting from the Messiah? Was the Messiah the one who would redeem Israel and rule over them and the rest of the world from the promised land?

It appears that the religious leaders and some of the people were expecting a political leader. We see in John 6:15 that Jesus knew some of the people wanted to forcefully make him king; a king that would lead them to be free from the Romans. Undoubtedly, He had power—a power they wanted Him to wield for their worldly desires. But they misunderstood the purpose of His coming.

The shepherds were the first to hear the news. Based on the words of the angel, they probably anticipated a spiritual Savior and King, and not necessarily a political leader. The wise men sought to worship Jesus, indicating their expectation of someone entirely unique.

Notice the announcement was not made to the Jewish religious leaders. They didn’t find out until the magi came to see Him and when they heard the news they, like King Herod, were troubled (Matthew 2:3). Because the religious leaders were blinded by their pride and position, and didn’t believe God’s Word, they did not recognize their Messiah (John 5:46–47). Instead of seeing the Savior, they saw a man who would mess up their comfy lives.

Jesus came as the Messiah who would save them from their spiritual enemies, not their political enemies. Zacharias stated, “That we should be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us . . . To grant us that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve Him without fear,” (Luke 1:71,74).

The enemies of God were those who opposed the work of Jesus. “And when He said these things, all His adversaries were put to shame; and all the multitude rejoiced for all the glorious things that were done by Him” (Luke 13:17). These adversaries were the religious leaders (and anyone else) who opposed Christ. They were the enemies of God, for we know that if anyone is not with Christ then he is against Him (Matthew 12:30; Luke 11:23).

This Messiah freed His people from the bondage of sin (Romans 6:17–18). The religious leaders were the spiritual enemies of God because their laws and traditions kept people in bondage (Mark 7:1–13), but now, thanks to the work of Christ, the people of God are able to worship Him without fear.

Jesus came to save us from spiritual bondage.

Thank God for the freedom from sin that is found in Christ.


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