Jesus came to bring hope to the hopeless, but not in the way the people expected. Let me try to put Jesus’ birth (which we just celebrated at Christmas), life, death, and resurrection into perspective.
Jesus did not free the Jews from Roman rule, as they had hoped the Messiah would do. He did not get the land back to its rightful owners after many of them lost their land due to high taxes. He did not restore the nation to its former glory. Despite displaying all kinds of supernatural powers, he even ended up being executed as a common criminal, disgracefully on a Roman cross.
If Jesus didn’t accomplish what the people wanted, then what did he do? The fact is, Jesus accomplished what God wanted, not what the people wanted. While the people didn’t get what they wanted, God had something better for them. That something better is eternal hope by the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.
We have to understand that Jesus did not come to establish an earthly kingdom in the usual sense, as he clearly explained to Pontius Pilate in John 18:36:
“My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over ... But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.” NRSV
Although Jesus didn’t establish an earthly kingdom, he did give people hope. More on that hope in a future post.