The first coming of the Lord Jesus Christ nearly 2,000 years ago was met with different expectations than actually happened.
The people were expecting Jesus of Nazareth to release Israel from Roman occupation and establish his glorious kingdom.
He was accepted by many to be the Messiah, foretold throughout the Old Testament.
The closest followers of the Lord were confident he came to deliver them from Roman rule. The many miracles of Jesus only confirmed the faith of the followers that this one held the future in their expectation of his kingdom soon to be established.
The Lord spoke at different times concerning his death, burial and resurrection, but the disciples did not really understand what he was saying. They had different expectations about their coming Messiah.
In the Bible, the Gospel writers make it clear they did not expect their Messiah to die and certainly not on a cross.
Jesus said to the disciples in Luke 9:44-45: “Let these sayings sink down into your ears: for the Son of man shall be delivered into the hands of men. But they understood not this saying, and it was hidden from them, that they perceived it not: and they feared to ask him of that saying.”
Matthew 16:21-23 tells us Jesus made it clear he was going to be killed and raised again the third day.
Even so, Peter sought to rebuke the Lord for this and was not willing for it to happen.
The Lord spoke very directly to Peter and said Peter was not valuing the things of God, but rather the things of men.
There are many scriptures written about the suffering, death and resurrection of the Messiah.
The disciples were feeling the weight of the rule of Rome and were expecting the prophecies concerning the Lord’s earthly kingdom to be fulfilled at that time.
Isaiah 53:5-6 is very clear about the suffering one called “a man of sorrows.”
Isaiah wrote in verses 5 and 6: “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”
At this point, we need to turn to John, chapter three, where Nicodemus came to the Lord by night to talk to him.
Nicodemus was one of the top teachers of the scriptures in Israel. He did not want to be seen talking with Jesus.
Nicodemus said they knew he was a teacher who came from God on account of the miracles he had done. The Lord spoke to Nicodemus about his need to be born again.
In the conversation, the Lord spoke about the necessity for him to be lifted up or crucified.
The Lord said in verses 14-15: “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.”
Nicodemus must have trusted in the message from the Lord to him as he helped in the burial of the Lord’s body after he died.
But that is not the end of the story.
To the disciples who were looking for deliverance from Rome, the work done by the Lord on the cross was far more important when they realized he was raised from the dead.
They became faithful messengers of the Gospel and many of them laid down their lives for their Lord.
On the day of Pentecost, Peter included the words of the title of this article in his message.
At this time of year, we think of the resurrection of the Lord from the dead and can rejoice with Peter, who said:
“This Jesus has God raised up!” Acts 2:32.
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