Have you ever expected something to turn out a certain way and to your surprise it came out completely different? This often happens when I try to cook. Maybe you expected a job to be a particular way, but once you started it is totally different. Perhaps you anticipated a relationship to move in a certain direction, but it ends up somewhere else. The Jews expect that when God sends the Messiah He would be a certain way, but Jesus defies their Messianic expectation.

Jesus Christ came with a mission. In typical Judaism, the expectation is of a Messiah who rules in a kingly fashion; however, the kind of Messiah described by Isaiah is a suffering servant (See Isaiah 52:13–53:12). This Anointed One will bring good news to the poor, bind up the brokenhearted, proclaim freedom, and release the enslaved. This is a surprising assignment, one the Jews don’t exactly expect. After all, there’s no mention of Him ruling from a grand throne in Jerusalem.

Just as the Jews want their Messiah to look a certain way, we too demand God answer our requests in just the way we want. Indeed God answers prayer, but always in a way of His choosing and not ours. So while the Jews looked primarily for an earthly king on a literal throne, God’s Anointed will chiefly be a servant to the needy and marginalized.

It’s interesting that when Jesus offers a significant clue to His divine identity during a particular synagogue visit, He reads from this passage in Isaiah 61:1-2. After He reads and has sat down, He says, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing” (Luke 4:21). Jesus takes up the assigned task of being God’s Anointed, the Christ, to minister to a burdened and enslaved humanity. He is the Messiah who came to heal not dominate. He comes on a mission of mercy not might. Jesus is qualified to do the job, and He stays focused on His God-given mission even when it defies human expectations.

Today, I will…reflect on the fact that I cannot save myself and I am grateful to God for sending Christ to heal me of my sin. I want to submit my expectations to God’s sovereign will. I confess that although I may want things to work out in my life a particular way, I nevertheless receive God’s blessings in the way He sees fit to give them.