Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion knew exactly what they needed: a trip home, a brain, a heart, and courage, respectively. They were also very certain of how they would receive the necessary gifts; after following the Yellow Brick Road, they would find a Wizard who could give them what they lacked. If you are familiar with The Wizard of Oz, then you know that these four travelers all received what they needed, but they didn’t receive what they expected.
The same statement can be said of the nation of Israel.
Israel thought they knew exactly what to expect. Their religious leaders had studied the prophecies that I mentioned last week, and they knew that a Messiah, a Savior, was coming. However, their idea of a Messiah differed greatly from what actually arrived. In the human mind, the Savior would arrive on horseback, slaying the enemy and establishing a realm of peace. Instead, Jesus came as a baby. His mother and step-father were not noble, and upon His arrival on earth, Jesus did not slay any enemies or establish a kingdom. To most of the world, he was just another crying, helpless baby.
Christ Jesus…though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.Philippians 2:5-8
The humility of Christ always amazes me. He left the perfection of Heaven and the physical, glorious presence of God the Father so that He could deliver salvation to earth.
Christ was not what Israel expected. Yet, He was exactly what Israel needed, and He was exactly what God had promised. During His ministry on earth, Jesus offered Israel what they wanted–eternal salvation and peace–and He offers the same thing to us today.
On this second Sunday of Advent, let’s celebrate the humility of Christ, who “though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9).