Why Did They Miss Jesus as the Messiah? What Can We Learn from that?

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Hindsight is 20/20. Looking back we read the prophesies and see how he fulfilled them so specifically. We read about the miracles, his teaching with authority and not as the scribes. The Gospels make it clear that Jesus was the Messiah. That is the point they set out to prove. Some go about it differently than others. Mark highlights the times Jesus tried to keep it secret for fear of being misunderstood (Mark 1:43-44, 8:27-30). Matthew points out his fulfillment of many Old Testament scriptures that they should have readily known about. John states that his gospel was written for the sole purpose of producing faith in the life of the hearer or reader of the Gospel (John 20:31). There were so many road markers for people to “get it,” especially for the in crowd.

What is interesting is that some people did get it. Some people understood who Jesus was even if they didn’t quite understand all the implications. Simon Peter figured it out by chapter 8 of Mark. The evil spirit in Mark 3 knew who Jesus was and confessed him to be the Son of God. The centurion at the foot of the cross got it in Mark 15 even though he had no Jewish background or knowledge of the Law and Prophets he understood Jesus to be divine based only upon the sign over his head “King of the Jews”, seeing his death and hearing him cry out (Mark 15:38) he made confession of Jesus’ divinity.

How is it that those with little to no background “get it” but those who had all the head knowledge they needed fail to grasp Jesus as the Messiah. It wasn’t so much that they couldn’t get it. They didn’t want to get it. They didn’t want the carpenter from Nazareth to be the Messiah because they felt upstaged by him. They couldn’t see past losing their own authority. They couldn’t see past their own self-righteousness. In the end they crucified the son of God and denied his very divinity that even a pagan centurion was able to figure out.

I think it is important for us to realize that it is just as possible for us to blind ourselves to the divinity of Christ. It is just as easy for us to shrink him down to the size of a dashboard mounted Jesus or a silver cross necklace Jesus. It is just as possible today to feel upstaged by him or fear what his authority in our lives might mean. When all the while he is the divine Son of God who demands lordship over our lives. As we read the Gospels lets allow our faith in who Jesus is and the resulting demands He places on our lives overwhelm any selfish desires we might have that could possibly supplant his lordship in our lives. Let no one accuse us of failing to “get it” when many of us have grown up with all the evidence right before our very eyes. Sometimes we fail to recognize or appreciate the people and things we are most familiar with.

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