What kind of Messiah did the people expect?

In Palestine at the time of Jesus there was a great expectation amongst the people regarding ‘the coming Messiah’, as prophesied in many Hebrew scriptures. At that time various leaders had arisen and had proven to be false, with their followers falling away , see for example:

Acts 5:35-40 NASB
“For some time ago Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody, and a group of about four hundred men joined up with him. But he was killed, and all who followed him were dispersed and came to nothing. After this man, Judas of Galilee rose up in the days of the census and drew away some people after him; he too perished, and all those who followed him were scattered. So in the present case, I say to you, stay away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or action is of men, it will be overthrown; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them; or else you may even be found fighting against God.” They took his advice; and after calling the apostles in, they flogged them and ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and then released them.”
Looking at Psalm 2, a Messianic Psalm, did the people expect ‘the Lord’s anointed’ to be a victorious king breaking to pieces their enemies like pottery with an iron rod?

Psalms 2:2 NJB
Kings of the earth take up position, princes plot together against Yahweh and his anointed

Psalms 2:6 NJB

‘I myself have anointed my king on Zion my holy mountain.

Psalms 2:8-9 NJB
2:8 Ask of me, and I shall give you the nations as your birthright, the whole wide world as your possession.
2:9 With an iron sceptre you will break them, shatter them like so many pots

And also

Psalms 45:2-7 NJB
45:2 Of all men you are the most handsome, gracefulness is a dew upon your lips, for God has blessed you for ever.
45:3 Warrior, strap your sword at your side, in your majesty and splendour advance,
45:4 ride on in the cause of truth, gentleness and uprightness. Stretch the bowstring tight, lending terror to your right hand.
45:5 Your arrows are sharp, nations lie at your mercy, the king’s enemies lose heart.
45:6 Your throne is from God, for ever and ever, the sceptre of your kingship a sceptre of justice,
45:7 you love uprightness and detest evil. This is why God, your God, has anointed you with oil of gladness, as none of your rivals,

Was the Messiah to be a mighty king, ruling on the throne of David?

Isaiah 9:5-6 NJB
9:5 For a son has been born for us, a son has been given to us, and dominion has been laid on his shoulders; and this is the name he has been given, ‘Wonder-Counsellor, Mighty-God, Eternal-Father, Prince-of-Peace’
9:6 to extend his dominion in boundless peace, over the throne of David and over his kingdom to make it secure and sustain it in fair judgement and integrity. From this time onwards and for ever, the jealous love of Yahweh Sabaoth will do this

No wonder the people were excited about this Messiah King and his coming kingdom to Israel when they read Isaiah 11

Isaiah 11:1-16 NJB
11:1 A shoot will spring from the stock of Jesse, a new shoot will grow from his roots.
11:2 On him will rest the spirit of Yahweh, the spirit of wisdom and insight, the spirit of counsel and power, the spirit of knowledge and fear of Yahweh:
11:3 his inspiration will lie in fearing Yahweh. His judgement will not be by appearances. his verdict not given on hearsay.
11:4 He will judge the weak with integrity and give fair sentence for the humblest in the land. He will strike the country with the rod of his mouth and with the breath of his lips bring death to the wicked.
11:5 Uprightness will be the belt around his waist, and constancy the belt about his hips.
11:6 The wolf will live with the lamb, the panther lie down with the kid, calf, lion and fat-stock beast together, with a little boy to lead them.
11:7 The cow and the bear will graze, their young will lie down together. The lion will eat hay like the ox.
11:8 The infant will play over the den of the adder; the baby will put his hand into the viper’s lair.
11:9 No hurt, no harm will be done on all my holy mountain, for the country will be full of knowledge of Yahweh as the waters cover the sea.
11:10 That day, the root of Jesse, standing as a signal for the peoples, will be sought out by the nations and its home will be glorious.
11:11 When that day comes, the Lord will raise his hand a second time to ransom the remnant of his people, those still left, from Assyria, from Egypt, from Pathros, Cush and Elam, from Shinar, Hamath and the islands of the Sea.
11:12 He will hoist a signal for the nations and assemble the outcasts of Israel; he will gather the scattered people of Judah from the four corners of the earth.
11:13 Then Ephraim’s jealousy will cease and Judah’s enemies be suppressed; Ephraim will no longer be jealous of Judah nor Judah any longer hostile to Ephraim,
11:14 but together they will swoop on the Philistines’ back, to the west, and together pillage the people of the east. Edom and Moab will be subject to their sway and the Ammonites will obey them.
11:15 Then Yahweh will dry up the gulf of the Sea of Egypt, he will raise his hand against the River with the heat of his breath. He will divide it into seven streams for them to cross dry-shod.
11:16 And there will be a highway for the remnant of his people for those still left, from Assyria, as there was for Israel when he came out of Egypt.

And when they read Psalms 72, especially verses 9-14, did they want to see this victorious king come in their time?

Psalms 72:9-14 NJB
72:9 The Beast will cower before him, his enemies lick the dust;
72:10 the kings of Tarshish and the islands will pay him tribute. The kings of Sheba and Saba will offer gifts;
72:11 all kings will do him homage, all nations become his servants.
72:12 For he rescues the needy who calls to him, and the poor who has no one to help.
72:13 He has pity on the weak and the needy, and saves the needy from death.
72:14 From oppression and violence he redeems their lives, their blood is precious in his sight.

When they heard Jesus and saw his miracles did they welcome him joyously as the son of David, the Messiah

Matthew 21:8-9 NASB
“Most of the crowd spread their coats in the road, and others were cutting branches from the trees and spreading them in the road. The crowds going ahead of Him, and those who followed, were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David; BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD; Hosanna in the highest!””
Luke 19:38 NASB
“shouting: “BLESSED IS THE KING WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD; Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”
Did they want to make Jesus king by force?

John 6:15 NASB
“So Jesus, perceiving that they were intending to come and take Him by force to make Him king, withdrew again to the mountain by Himself alone.
What was Jesus reaction to this? Same verse. Why? He had not come to be king at this time, he had come for another reason, which he tried to spell out to his disciples.
What was the reaction of Jesus’ disciples when he told them he must suffer and die? Did they expect this

Luke 9:44-45 NASB
“”Let these words sink into your ears; for the Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men.” But they did not understand this statement, and it was concealed from them so that they would not perceive it; and they were afraid to ask Him about this statement.

Matt 16:21-22 NASB
“From that time Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised up on the third day. Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to You.””
Matt 16:21-22 NASB
“From that time Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised up on the third day. Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to You.””
Luke 18:31-34 NASB
They were not expecting the Messiah to come first as ‘the suffering servant’ and then subsequently as ‘the conquering king’ at his ‘second coming’.

After his crucifixion did Jesus explain it to two of his followers on the road to Emmaus? See Luke 24:13-35, particularly v27.

Luke‬ ‭24:13-33, 35-37‬ ‭NASB‬‬‬‬
‭‭ “And behold, two of them were going that very day to a village named Emmaus, which was about seven miles from Jerusalem. And they were talking with each other about all these things which had taken place. While they were talking and discussing, Jesus Himself approached and began traveling with them. But their eyes were prevented from recognizing Him. And He said to them, “What are these words that you are exchanging with one another as you are walking?” And they stood still, looking sad. One of them, named Cleopas, answered and said to Him, “Are You the only one visiting Jerusalem and unaware of the things which have happened here in these days?” And He said to them, “What things?” And they said to Him, “The things about Jesus the Nazarene, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word in the sight of God and all the people, and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered Him to the sentence of death, and crucified Him. But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel. Indeed, besides all this, it is the third day since these things happened. But also some women among us amazed us. When they were at the tomb early in the morning, and did not find His body, they came, saying that they had also seen a vision of angels who said that He was alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just exactly as the women also had said; but Him they did not see.” And He said to them, “O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?” Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures. And they approached the village where they were going, and He acted as though He were going farther. But they urged Him, saying, “Stay with us, for it is getting toward evening, and the day is now nearly over.” So He went in to stay with them. When He had reclined at the table with them, He took the bread and blessed it, and breaking it, He began giving it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized Him; and He vanished from their sight. They said to one another, “Were not our hearts burning within us while He was speaking to us on the road, while He was explaining the Scriptures to us?” And they got up that very hour and returned to Jerusalem, and found gathered together the eleven and those who were with them,‬‬
They began to relate their experiences on the road and how He was recognized by them in the breaking of the bread. While they were telling these things, He Himself stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be to you.” But they were startled and frightened and thought that they were seeing a spirit.

Luke 24:27 NASB
“Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.
After Jesus resurrection did they start to understand what the scriptures said about him?

Lk 24:44-45 NASB
“Now He said to them, “These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.”
and He said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day,

Just before Jesus’ ascension were his followers still expecting the restoration of the kingdom to Israel?

Acts 1:6 NASB
“So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?””


We have seen that at the time of Jesus the people expected a victorious conquering king Messiah who would vanquish their enemies and restore the kingdom to Israel there and then, with all the blessings and benefits that would entail. They had not understood that he had to come first as ‘the suffering servant’ Messiah.
Next time we will look at the Messiah’s first coming, as the ‘suffering servant’.