“…because you did not recognize the time of your visitation.” – Luke 19:44
They should not have missed it. But they did. How could the nation of Israel fail to see their Messiah? Why didn’t they recognize Jesus for who He really was? Considering the evidences and facts surrounding Christ’s coming, one would expect that Israel should not have missed Him who came “to His own” but tragically, “His own received Him not.”
First of all, a huge portion of the Old Testament Scriptures, over a hundred in one conservative estimate alone, are “messianic prophecies.” Messianic prophecies are predictions about the Messiah, from His humble birth to His imminent return from the heavens, which the likes of Prophet Isaiah and Prophet Jeremiah have prophesied over a period of 1000 years before the New Testament era.
Every decent Jewish person that lived during the days of Jesus and even prior to that, were all knowledgeable of this Messiah who was to come. Simeon and Anna, the prophetess were representatives of this generation that were waiting for the “consolation of Israel” (John 2:25,39). Another representative was the Samaritan woman at the well whom Jesus Christ confronted with the truth of her marital condition. This woman also displayed a good grasp of her knowledge of the messianic prophecies when she said, “I know that Messiah is coming who is called the Christ” (John 4:25).
The religious elites of that era such as the chief priests and the scribes, given their access to the Scriptures, were actually the most informed of these prophecies concerning the Messiah (Matthew 2:6). And for their Eastern counterparts such the magi, well, it was obvious that these seers were equally knowledgeable of the certainty of these messianic prophecies. Otherwise, they would not have left the comforts of their study chambers and traveled that long just to see the Messiah in person (Matthew 2:2).
And how about the signs, wonders, and miracles that Jesus did which the Jews of His time knew in their heart of hearts were actually meant to validate Christ’s claim as the long-prophesied Savior? For example, Nicodemus, one of the religious teachers belonging to the Pharisees, admitted that “…we know that you have come from God as a teacher for no one could perform these signs you do unless God were with him” (John 3:2).
God’s Son was right before them. And they missed Him. Distracted and blinded by their pride and sin, Israel failed to recognize the visitation of God, and as a result, they suffered dearly because of it. This Christmas, avoid repeating their mistake. Don’t miss Jesus.