Unfortunately, because repentance and facing our own dark, angry, sinful nature can be painful and requires humility, many people are more inclined to skip the introspection and just appoint an earthly savior to rescue them from their misery. The most notorious example of a false messiah in modern times was Adolf Hitler, although both Josef Stalin and Mao Zedong were responsible for far more deaths. All demanded obedience and worship in return for a glorious kingdom on Earth, but of course it didn’t work out. It never does – but we keep trying
Since human beings, as is demonstrated again and again, are prone to disastrously appointing false “messiahs” to absolve their sins and lead them to peace and freedom, one question, which has endured for millennia, looms large: Is the messiah a political (group) savior, or a spiritual (individual) one?
Twenty centuries ago at the time Jesus walked the Earth, the Jewish people, citing the biblical prophets, were awaiting a great leader descended from King David who would rescue and lead them into a time of lasting peace on earth. However, Jesus, when urged to lead a rebellion against the Roman oppressors and occupiers, said he had come to lead a different sort of revolution – an inner one, within each person. Why?
Perhaps the most quoted scripture in Christendom, John 3:16, points to the answer: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
In response to this ultimate expression of God’s love for us, our appreciation and worship of God in return may be the one thing the rest of the universe cannot deliver. Only through the troubled lives we lead and the lessons of humility and faith we ultimately learn can real love of God come into being.