Have you ever been in a situation where you really needed some help? A situation just got out of hand. It was too difficult, too painful, you were trapped and there was nothing you could do about it. You really needed someone who could come into your situation and make things right. That had often been the situation with the Jews of the Old Testament. Whether in bondage to the Egyptians, the Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, or even their own corrupt leaders, they found themselves many times in a situation of oppression that they could do nothing about. They needed a Deliverer.
Centuries before God had promised a Deliverer, but He seemed to never come. In the Old Testament there are various prophecies concerning a Savior, a Messiah, a Promised One, who would come to deliver the Jews. These prophecies were imbedded in the hearts of the Jewish people. Throughout the centuries the hope of a Messiah was their strength in times of suffering, defeat and exile.
In the days of Jesus, the people were under the brutal rule of the Roman Empire. This caused them to desire even more for their Messiah, their Deliverer, their King. Different men during this time in history would rise up and gain a group of followers. People would begin to hope that each of these men were the Promised One, but then he would either be killed or discredited, and the people would return to what seemed to be endless waiting. Life was unbearable under the Romans, but what other option did they have? In the days following Jesus’ birth, they had no idea that in the city of Nazareth the promised Messiah had already arrived.