In Matthew 2 it becomes obvious people knew Jesus was going to fulfill the over 300 descriptions of the promised messiah in the Old Testament.
1 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, 2 “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.” 3 When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, (Why?, there is a new king) and all Jerusalem with him. 4 Gathering together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. 5 They said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea; for this is what has been written by the prophet: 6 ‘AND YOU, BETHLEHEM, LAND OF JUDAH, ARE BY NO MEANS LEAST AMONG THE LEADERS OF JUDAH; FOR OUT OF YOU SHALL COME FORTH A RULER WHO WILL SHEPHERD MY PEOPLE ISRAEL.'”
The chief priests, the scribes, the magi, Herod the king, all knew Jesus was fulfilling the promise of a coming messiah. Later on in Matthew 2 King Herod even issues a decree to have all children 2 years and under in Bethlehem killed because he knew the promises had been fulfilled in Jesus. A new king was coming!
So how did they miss it?
In the beginning there were many people who were following Jesus, but there is one thing that confused them, and it was when Jesus started talking about His death. There is a great amount of hope in the birth of Jesus, but our greatest hope is in His death because there was a spiritual injustice that took place in Genesis 2 and it resulted in all of humanity being separated from God. The only way our relationship with God could be reconciled would be through the death of Jesus Christ and it was something that was confusing for people in Jesus’ day because this promised king, savior, messiah, hope wasn’t suppose to die He was suppose to reign.
Even when he was sitting with His disciples and began to talk to them about His death it was confusing for them because they had been waiting their whole lives for this promised hope. In one particular conversation when Jesus was talking with Peter about Jesus’ death and Peter is shocked. Peter pulled Jesus aside and rebuked Him telling Him that His death was not a good idea. There had to be another way! However, Jesus responded by telling Peter to, “Get behind Him Satan!”
Peter was confused. He had waited his whole life and never saw Him dying. Peter saw an earthly king and when Jesus talked about dying he saw his hope dying. But Jesus came to bring our greatest hope by willingly laying down His life on the cross to satisfy the death promised in Genesis 2 and 3 days later rise from the dead, conquer death, conquer sin, conquer fear and bring a hope that is outside of any prophet, priest, or king, but in Jesus Christ alone. It is an eternal hope. A hope that Peter, 50 years later, describes as his living hope.