Who?If I’m ever asked the question, “Who are you?” the answer is pretty straightforward. “I’m Tim.” There’s not much confusion about who I am or what I’m supposed to be about.

But that wasn’t the case for Jesus. The expectations for the long expected Messiah were great. The Roman government that ruled Israel at that time was harsh and only made the longing for the Messiah even deeper. It was in that desperation that many found their expectations out of sync with the reality of who Jesus was and how He would fulfill His various roles.

The Prophets taught that the Messiah would come from the line of David and establish a kingdom that would be independent and free. So the average Jew thought the Messiah would bring freedom from Rome.

They understood the Messiah to be a victorious military ruler that would vanquish all their enemies. So a Messiah riding a docile donkey instead of a military chariot was out of the question.

The righteousness promised by the Messiah was understood only in the context of dealing with the burden of the Roman taxes and the unjust nature of life at that time. They didn’t see a righteousness that was needed in human hearts.

They didn’t see the ministry of the Messiah as going further than the borders of their nation. He was to be a Jewish Messiah coming to the seed of Abraham. His intent was not toward the Gentiles.

Finally, I don’t think they viewed the Messiah as a personal Messiah that would bring peace to their hearts. It seems their context was more national than personal.

These wrong perceptions of the Messiah will show up in our study of John time and again. Understanding them adds insight to the conversations recorded in the book.