"Because they did not know Him, nor even the voices of the Prophets...And though they found no cause for death in Him, they asked Pilate that He should be put to death.” — Acts 13:27-28
They didn't know Him.
Centuries of prophecies were specifically fulfilled, right down to the town where Jesus was born*—and yet, when He came to the people who expected Him, looked for Him, prophesied about Him, and prayed for a Messiah, they didn't recognize Him.
Why? Because they looked at Jesus and judged Him by human standards.
His own people did not recognize Jesus because they saw Him only as a carpenter's son, which meant poor. He had no money, no prestige, no special influence, nor standing in society. He had never been to their schools, was not educated by prestigious scholars, nor was He especially striking in appearance. So they wrote Him off and paid Him no respect. He did not fit the expected profile of the Messiah.
We do the same thing. We look for people who reflect our perception of a spiritual man or woman, and to them we listen, pay attention, and give our respect and service. And yet, we miss the people God sends into our lives because we're too caught up in our human standards and fail to see what God sees. Even worse, we just might miss the Lord Himself.
Jesus said to His disciples, “He who receives you receives me, and he who receives Me receives the One who sent Me” (Matthew 10:40). He also took the hand of a child and said, “Whoever welcomes this little child in My name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes Me welcomes the One who sent me. For he who is least among you all—he is the greatest” (Luke 9:48).
I wonder —if one of those scruffy disciples showed up in church today, would we accept him and respect him?
Do we look at the least among us and see greatness? Jesus told us over and over what to look for, and how to love.
But we still too often miss Him.
“Do not consider his appearance or his height...The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7