By Jim Nieman
Jesus fulfilled Old Testament prophecy concerning the Messiah, so why did most leading Jewish religious leaders and scholars of his day reject Jesus, plot to kill him, and coerce and influence the Roman occupiers into crucifying him?
In part, it’s because Jesus—though he performed many impressive miracles, and taught lessons and made claims like no one else—was just too ordinary.
Jewish leaders had a preconceived notion of what the Messiah would be and what he would do: he would be a mighty warrior and earthly king; he would overthrow the oppressors and establish an earthly kingdom.
And Jesus—the poor man with the small, ragtag band of followers who taught lessons about servant leadership, and compassion for the poor, and turning the other cheek, and building up treasures in Heaven—just didn’t fit the profile.
Saying things like, “Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s” (Mark 12:17) might have shown profound intelligence, but it wasn’t a rallying cry on which armed rebellions were built.
Jewish leaders and scholars looked at Jesus and failed to see the Messiah, whom they had been awaiting for hundreds of years. They looked at Jesus and saw someone who was ordinary, not extraordinary.
What do we see when we look at the bread and the juice?
Certainly these are ordinary items, but they represent something extraordinary—Jesus’ body and blood.
Let’s not make the same mistake as many of Jesus’ earthly contemporaries. As we participate in the Lord’s Supper, which Jesus himself established on the night he was betrayed, be sure and see in these ordinary items, the extraordinary blessings, sacrifice, and promise of eternal life in Heaven that we have in Jesus and through Jesus.
Jim Nieman serves as managing editor of Christian Standard