Who do we say that he is?
Satan offered to make Jesus a king (Matthew 4:8-10) and give Jesus the worship of all the kingdoms of the world. But Jesus worked quietly among the people, not demanding human power.
The crowds wanted to crown Jesus king (John 6:15) but Jesus slipped away in the crowds. His kingdom would not be well served by their expectations.
And Pilate asked Jesus if he really was the King of the Jews (Mark 15:2).
Jesus is a King, but his Kingdom is more than we expect.
They thought Jesus was a false prophet when they remembered his saying that the temple would be destroyed (Matthew 24:2), but events proved him right.
Sometimes they thought he was Elijah returned as promised (in Malachi 4:5) to precede the Messiah (Mark 8:28), or else the prophet John the Baptist returned from the dead.
The guards taunted Jesus, asking him to prophesy and say who had struck him (Luke 22:64).
Sometimes our neighbors “prophesy” who will and who won’t get into heaven (see Mark 9:36), and sometimes our leaders try to tell when the world will end (see Matthew 24:4,36), but true prophesy tells forth the will and the love of God.
They brought their sick to be healed and Jesus healed them (Mark 1:32-34). But when Jesus told them that a doctor comes to the sick, not to those who are well, he had a different kind of sickness in mind (Matthew 9:12-13).
They asked Jesus for a sign (Mark 8:11), though his miracles surely should have been signs enough.
Herod asked Jesus to work miracles for him (Luke 23:8), but Jesus was already working his greatest miracle for us.
Jesus promised that his followers would do even greater works than he (John 14:12), though it’s not clear what works he’s referring to. What is greatest in God’s eyes may not be the flashy miracles that thrill our human imaginations.
The promised Messiah?
The trouble with promises is the receiver might hear something different from what the giver intends. It works that way with small children, and with adults. Jesus asked those he healed not to publicize what he had done, thus avoiding the spread of preconceived ideas about the Messiah’s role.
John asked from prison if Jesus really was the Messiah (Matthew 11:2-6).
Peter recognized Jesus as the Messiah, the Son of God (Matthew 16:16) but promptly followed his recognition up with a human claim that the Messiah surely couldn’t die.
Jesus foretold that others would come in later years and claim to be the Messiah (Matthew 24:5), as we have seen in recent history.
The priests asked Jesus if he would really claim to be the Messiah (Matthew 26:63), and he accepted the title, reminding them of a different prophesy (Matthew 26:64, Daniel 7:13).