|Posted by Ryan on October 1, 2013 at 10:50 AM|
Last week as we finished our study of Psalm 22, I mentioned that the Jews had rejected Jesus because he was not the kind of Messiah that they wanted.
The First Century Jews, like the “Zionists” of the last Century, were looking for a national, military hero to be their messiah. They wanted a messiah who would ride in on a big horse at the head of a great army that would “kick the bums out.” The Jews of First Century Palestine wanted most of all a restoration of their former national glory and liberation from Roman rule.
The Jews of the First Century, like so many today, did not comprehend that their biggest problem is not political or economic, but God’s wrath. John 3:36 declares that God’s wrath “abides” or “remains” on all those who do not have faith in Jesus Christ. That is a serious problem; Jesus diagnoses the problem of everlasting wrath, and that is what He came to address.
In Psalm 22, we read exactly how Jesus Christ dealt with the great human problem. In profound literary detail, the psalm describes the Saviour enduring the wrath that is due for your sin. We read of Him mocked and in great anguish. Yet it does not end that way.
The psalm ends singing about an empire. Not an empire dominated and established by the conquests of one people or race, but one that includes “all the families of the nations.”
The Messiah may not have come to establish a world-wide-Jewish Empire as His contemporaries had hoped, but Jesus Christ was indeed about the work of building an Empire, the Kingdom of God.
Christ came to bring blessing to every tribe and nation; the blessing of peace with God through the forgiveness of sins.
The saints of God have been looking for Christ’s Kingdom since the Old Testament. Psalm 22 is not the only place we see the promise that all the earth will worship God.
One of the most beautiful pictures of this is in Zech. 6 in which God promises that those “who are far off” will come and build the Temple. We in the Church on this side of Calvary, inherit all the promises to Zion and Jerusalem because we - like Israel of old - are at the center of God’s redemptive purpose.
God’s redemptive purposes were never confined merely to this world, but include God making all things new, in a New Heavens and a New Earth when people from every tribe and nation shall worship God in their everlasting inheritance that Messiah has prepared.
Is that the kind of Messiah that you want? The temptation is always to long for a political "messiah" who will do great things for an earthly nation. But Christians must be diligent to pursue their inheritance which is in the New Heavens and the New Earth.