Various passages of the gospels reflect the fact that at Jesus’ time many people were looking or the coming of the Messiah.  Luke 3: 15-17) tells us many people came to John, who was baptizing in the Jordan.  We can reasonably assume they were pious Israelites looking for the Messiah.  John assured them he was not the Messiah.

The Scriptures make it clear that of those many people few, if any,  had an accurate understanding about the Messiah.  Very few expected the Messianic kingdom to be a spiritual kingdom.  Very few expected that kingdom to be universal, to include non-Jews.  No one understood the Messiah would be God himself in the person of Jesus Christ.   No one expected the Messiah to lead the kind of life he would, in fact, lead.   No one expected the Messiah would suffer, die, and rise again.  Even the closest followers of Jesus had trouble grasping that fact.

In our own looking for the coming of the Messiah we have great advantage over those people of ancient Israel.  We have the gospels.  We have the teaching of the Church, and the witness of countless Christians.

But just as it was for those Israelites, it remains true for us that unless we look with the eyes of faith, we will be unable to recognize the coming of the Messiah in the person of Jesus.  We must be careful to focus our expectations correctly.  We can expect too much or too little.  We can expect the wrong thing.

We can expect too much.  We may be looking for a Messiah who will save us in spite of ourselves, who will save is without any effort or cooperation on our part.  We may expect too little.  We may become discouraged and lose sight of the forgiveness and love that Jesus offers.  We can expect the wrong thing.  We may be looking for Jesus   to come into our lives only in the way and in the form we would like him to come.

It is not easy to see clearly how God comes to us, how God is with us.  He does not come, he is not with us in the sense of eliminating all our problems.  Rather, he is with us to help us bear them.  We experience God’s presence in the triumph of faith, with the assurance of hope, and with confidence in his enduring love.