We mentioned yesterday that first century Israelites expected God to act soon to conquer Rome, redeem Israel, and establish his kingdom on earth. For most people, such hopes centered in God’s promises to send a Messiah, an anointed king who would lead the people of Israel into their glorious destiny.
Naturally, they expected this Messiah to be a warrior. After all, he would be called Son of David; just as David slew Goliath, the Messiah would defeat Israel’s giant enemies.
We can see this for ourselves in many Old Testament texts. Let’s take a look at a few: Genesis 49.8-12, 2 Samuel 7.12-13, Psalm 2; Isaiah 11
What I find interesting is that Jesus played to these expectations. Listen to how Mark summarizes his basic message, “The time has come. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe the good news” (1.15). In Jesus’ day the “kingdom of God” was a token phrase of revolutionaries—if God was becoming King, then Caesar’s days were obviously numbered (see also Luke 1.52-53, 68-71). Continue reading