[PC-USA] 1998-12-23 - Not Exactly What They Had Expected

The Christmas Characters Series, Part 8

This Christmas, most of us will be giving and receiving many presents. Some may be just what we were hoping for, but some children and adults will undoubtedly be disappointed. Some will be surprised. Some surprises will be happy ones; people will receive that "perfect gift," even more meaningful than they had hoped. God Himself used unexpected people, places and events in the Nativity. God turned things upside down when He sent His Son into the world as our Savior.

The Jewish people were expecting a powerful political conqueror. God sent them a helpless Baby.

Luke 24:19-21b (NKJV) And He said to them, "What things? So they said to Him, The things concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a Prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered Him to be condemned to death, and crucified Him. But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel.

Luke 2:11-12 (NKJV) For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.

They likely expected the announcements of His entry in the world, to go first to "important" people, "VIP's." But God's angels announced Christ's birth to shepherds, who were on the lower rungs of society.

Luke 2:8-11 (NKJV) Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. 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.

They expected a Messiah who would give THEM gifts -- prosperity, victories over their military enemies. Instead, God sent a Messiah who expects us to give Him our hearts, our very lives.

Mark 12:29 (NKJV) Jesus answered him, "The first of all the commandments is: 'Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one.

Mark 12:30 (NKJV) And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these.

A Messiah who would not favor many of the ones the world looks to as heroes; in fact, He would bless the humble and the poor.

Luke 1:52-53(NKJV) He has put down the mighty from their thrones, And exalted the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things, And the rich He has sent away empty.

They expected worldly peace; God sent them a Prince of Peace, but the guaranteed peace was spiritual.

Mat 10:34-36 (NKJV) Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.and a man's enemies will be those of his own household.

John 14:27 (NKJV) Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

Jesus was not the Messiah / King / Savior they had hoped for. But He was more than they could have hoped for. His gifts last for eternity. No returns. No disappointments from Him. He will never let us down. Do you know Him as your personal Savior? Have you accepted salvation from Him, that best gift we will ever receive? If not, please write me or any of the CF Devotional writers to ask for more information about that.

I hope you all have a blessed Christmas.

: ) Jan