Have you ever gotten a desired Christmas present that wasn’t exactly the kind of gift you were expecting? At first, you felt a measure of disappointment. Then you found out that the giver knew what you needed even better than you did.
If so, then you’ve felt a small measure of what the people of Jesus’ day experienced. They anticipated a Messiah who would rescue them, but this didn’t happen in the way they expected.
The Bible mentions two men traveling to Emmaus, distraught over the recent crucifixion. Jesus, without their knowing who He was, appeared to them and inquired about their sadness. They expressed the expectation and disappointment of many as they explained that the chief priests and rulers had crucified Christ and added, “But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel” (Luke 24:21).
Christ’s disciples expected a political leader who would save their nation. They failed to see that God was giving them a Messiah far superior to the one they expected—it was the unexpected one.
This unexpected one—whom we know as Jesus— is fully God but also became fully man. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit through the virgin Mary, an ordinary person of low income. He came as a helpless baby, placed in a trough used for feeding cattle and wrapped in swaddling clothes. But most important of all was that He was born to die.
The angels declared to the shepherds, “For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11).
To save the world Christ took the punishment sinners deserved, died on a cross in our place, and rose again. When we personally place our trust in Christ as our Messiah and Savior, we are pardoned from sin and given the gift of eternal life completely free.
What an unexpected Messiah—someone who would not simply help their nation, but someone who would pay for the sins of everybody, everywhere. A Messiah whose mission was far greater than they ever anticipated! It is no small wonder that an angel said to the shepherds, “I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people” (Luke 2:10).
So, what does that have to do with us? Everything! We can now proclaim to all those we meet over the Christmas holidays, “The first Christmas He came to us. This Christmas you can come to Him.” What better message could we have for everyone this Christmas? What greater calling could we have than to be His ambassadors and invite people to come to the unexpected Messiah.
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