Rev. Geoff DeFranca
“He is not what we expected!” Someone in the crowd said something like that on the day recorded in today’s text. I wonder if I would have to?
Expectations. Everyone has them. They are formed by family, faith, tradition and culture. They are learned and they are loved. They are cherished and often protected at all cost. And they can also cause us to miss the greatest truth of all!
At some level, we cannot fault these people for the wrestling match they had regarding Jesus and who he was claiming to be. It clashed with every expectation that they had. It furstrated the great anticipation that was hardwired into their culture. But their “hardening of the categories” categorically caused them to fail to see that the true fulfillment of all their expectations was right in front of them.
This causes me to ask: “What do I expect Jesus to be?” If at the core of our behavior are unfitting expectations that we build our responses and reactions upon, then this question is not only valid but essential. Is Jesus the Messiah “we” expected? Like the Jews of His day, at times we are not sure what to make of this Shepherd God. Where do we go to inform our expectations of Jesus?
“The proof is the work I do in my Father’s name. But you don’t believe me because you are not my sheep. My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” (John 10:25-26 NLT)
As we continue to move through Lent, let us focus on what Jesus has done. In meditating on God’s great work of redemption, through and in Christ, we discover the true north our hearts must be fixed on. It is at that point we discover what we can expect of Jesus. We can expect Him to do everything in His power to deliver us from sin. We can know that he will give His all to draw us to His forgiveness. We can bank on His love to never let us go. Yes, the work of God through Jesus in us is rooted in the eternal love, power and provision of God. What else would you expect?
“May all your expectations be frustrated, may all your plans be thwarted, may all your desires be withered into nothingness, that you may experience the powerlessness and poverty of a child and sing and dance in the love of God who is the Father, Son and Spirit.”
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