A writer for The Washington Post conducted an experiment to test people’s perception. He asked a famous violinist to perform incognito at a train station in the nation’s capital one January morning. Thousands of people walked by as he played, but only a few stopped to listen. After 45 minutes, just $32 had been dropped into the virtuoso’s open violin case. Two days earlier, this man—Joshua Bell—had used the same $3.5 million Stradivarius for a sold-out concert where people paid $100 a seat to hear him perform.

The idea of a person not being recognized for his greatness isn’t new. It happened to Jesus. “He was in the world,” John said, “. . . and the world did not know Him” (John 1:10). Why did people who had been expecting the Messiah give Jesus such a cold reception? One reason is that they were surprised. Just as people today don’t expect famous musicians to play in railway stations, the people in Jesus’ day didn’t expect Messiah to be born in a stable. They also expected Him to be a political king—not the head of a spiritual kingdom.

The people in the first century were blinded to God’s purpose in sending Jesus to this world. He came to save people from their sins (John 1:29). Receive God’s surprising gift of salvation that He offers freely to you today.

Amazing thought! that God in flesh
Would take my place and bear my sin;
That I, a guilty, death-doomed soul,
Eternal life might win! —Anon.

God broke into human history to offer us the gift of eternal life.