Today many are disappointed. Today many are overjoyed. Today the election is over. We have either placed all of our hope in our re-elected president or our hopes have been dashed by the Electoral College.
We in the United States are not unique in our desire for an anointed leader to rise up and lead us into political freedom and financial prosperity. A Messianic Hope is something we share with the Jews of the first century. These, who would actually cross paths with the Messiah, had several titles reserved for the one who would finally bring peace.
#1. Messiah (Desire for a Political Hero)
Though the term Messiah (Christ in Greek) simply means the anointed one, and could be designated to any number of anointed leaders in Israel’s history, Israel was primarily looking for a political leader who would reestablish the Davidic Kingship (II Samuel 7:4-16). This is why so many in Israel were disappointed in Jesus of Nazareth, who spoke of the necessity of the Messiah’s suffering and death, and why so many were willing to follow and die for political and military leaders who promised freedom from Rome in the holy wars of A.D. 66-70 and 132-135. They were looking to mere men and missed the true Messiah.
#2. Levitic Messiah (Desire for a Religious Guru)
Still others looked not to political leadership but religious leadership for their hope. They believed the Scriptures spoke of an eternal priesthood (Numbers 25:10-13) that would be established by a special priest obviously from the tribe of Levi. And though the Word of God does prophesy that the True Messiah would be a priest (Psalm 110:4), it does not indicate that He must be of the tribe of Levi. Therefore, the many who were looking to religious leadership with all of their hopes and dreams missed the great High Priest Jesus Christ. (Hebrews 9:11-12)
#3. Son of Man (Desire for a Superhero)
Some desired superman. For one of the most common terms for Messiah during the intertestamental period and first century Palestine was the Son of Man. Taken from the prophesy of Daniel chapter seven and several popular apocryphal writings (2 Esdras and 1 Enoch) the term Son of Man had become synonymous with Messiah. Therefore, many were drawn to Jesus as He continually used this term to refer to himself and watched him perform miraculous stunts they believed they had found their Superman.
This is the context of John 6 when many stopped following Jesus. Their superman had told them what was truly expected of his followers, total commitment. It is sad that today there are still adult men and women looking for a Superman to fly in and save the day when the Son of Man has already come to earth with powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal man.
#4. The Servant of the LORD (Desire for a Militant Revolutionary)
There seems to be evidence of a small minority who looked for a Messiah who would be presented as a suffering servant. This belief is primarily taken from the Servant Songs of Isaiah 42, 49, 50, 52, & 53. The most well known being Isaiah 53:7-10 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him.
Much more rejected the idea of a Servant of Jehovah who would suffer for the sins of mankind and interpreted these passages as evidence of the communal sufferings of the Jewish people. They would rather trust in the more popular belief of Messiah, political revolutionary. Why would we settle for a bloody carpenter hanging upon a tree when we can have the newest product the political machine has just produced?
#5. Moses or Elijah (Desire for Heroes of the Past)
While wasting away under the oppression of Rome many Jews pointed to passages like Deuteronomy 18:9-22 that speak of Messiah coming like the Prophet Moses, interpreting this to mean they would be delivered from bondage as the Jews were from Egypt. Others, pointing to Malachi 4:5-6, taught that Elijah would come back from the dead and present the new leader to Israel as their long awaited King. Yet, because these dear people could not stop longing for the good old days, they completely missed the One Crying in the Wilderness and the Lamb of God that he introduced. (John 1:36)
Did I vote? Yes! Will I always vote, get passionate about my candidate and encourage others to vote? Yes, Yes, Yes!
Am I thrilled with the outcome?
I am saddened that we Christians in America are repeating the same mistakes of the first century Jew. We are putting all of our hopes into the wrong Messiah. Neither Mitt nor Barack have what we need. Americans needs to stop looking for a political hero, religious guru, superman, militant revolutionary or Reagan/JFK to come back from the dead. WE ALREADY HAVE A MESSIAH! His name is Jesus Christ.
We have a kingdom we are fighting for and it belongs not to this realm. We must do our civic duties. Yes! But we must not become distracted from our purpose. We are citizens of another land and servants to the one and only Messiah. Let us be busy advancing His Kingdom.
 J. Julius Scott Jr., Jewish Backgrounds of the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 1995), 311-313.
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