One of the themes we see in the New Testament is how Jesus’ contemporaries failed to understand him. When Jesus came preaching that the kingdom of God was at hand, his Jewish hearers understood this to mean that Jesus was going to drive out the Roman rulers, win a great military victory for Israel and usher in the complete fulfillment of all of God’s promises. But Jesus’ inauguration of his kingdom was not as a warrior king, but as a servant king. He was anointed with the Spirit of God not to wage war in the streets, but to heal the weak and deliver the oppressed and encourage the downcast. Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem was on a donkey, fulfilling the prophecy of the arrival of a humble king. We see again and again that Jesus was a king contrary to the expectations of many and very different from the kings of his day. He did not establish his kingship by winning wars, rather he triumphed through suffering. When a disciple sliced off the ear of one his enemies, Jesus rebuked him and healed his captor. Even though at any moment, he could have called down twelve legions of angels to assist him, Jesus submitted to the cross in order to fulfill the Scriptures. It is astonishing how misunderstood Jesus was by so many of the Jews.
Sure enough, Scripture promises that Christ will come back one day, not to serve, but to reign. Yet, how ironic it is that as he was misunderstood in his first coming, from the looks of it, so also will he be misunderstood by so many on his second coming, except this time, they will have the opposite misconception about Christ. Liberals (in all denominations), health and wealth proponents, humanists, universalists, open theists, the Jesus seminar, emergents and many other camps in the church teach a Jesus who does not condemn, does not judge and does not impose his will on others. They are not anticipating a Jesus who is passionate for the glory of God and full of wrath over the sin of this world. How shocked will they be on the day when Christ is revealed, this time not as a servant on a donkey, but a king on a warhorse, ready to judge and wage war against his enemies. Instead of finding a Jesus that approves of their lifestyles and worldliness, they will meet a warrior-king who has come at last to establish his kingdom on earth and fulfill his covenant to Abraham.