Pastor’s Corner – Great Expectations
In the Charles Dickens classic, Pip has tremendous dreams for his life. Like us, and the Israelites of Jesus’ day, these expectations are focused on eliminating adversity and creating a life that is better than it is today. The journey of Pip is one we can all relate to as our expectations are shattered, or at least appear to be. But, as we persevere, we realize our expectations aren’t shattered, they are unwrapped.
This weekend is Palm Sunday and few other days in history are more filled with expectations. Jesus enters Jerusalem, the capital of Israel, riding a donkey. This is the historic way that a new king would enter the city on the common working-class mount and ultimately conclude his journey on the royal throne of the King.
The Israelites’ expectations had been growing as they heard the whispers of Jesus’s miracles and teachings around Israel. Now the miracle messiah was entering the city walls to claim the throne of David, Solomon and all their descendants. Except, instead of a throne, Jesus’ journey ended on the Cross.
Life is filled with hopes and dreams. As people we have desires and expectations for our life. Then, reality sets in and we often lay aside those dreams in the midst of difficult times. Jesus’ death caused the disciples to scatter, hide and give up on their plans for a king to lead Israel out of Roman oppression. Their expectations were shattered, but the story wasn’t over.
Jesus’ resurrection did two unexpected things. First, His resurrection restored hope for all who would trust in Him. Second, it fulfilled all expectations by transforming our perspective, not in the way we expected.
As humans our expectations are inherently self-centered or “I-focused.” We want a life with few or no trials for ourselves and our loved ones. We want privileges and blessings; we want to be free from hardships and trials so we can have a blessed life. Our expectations are shattered when we get what we have been promised, a world filled with trouble. But, our Savior still does what He did that first Easter. He transforms our shattered expectations into a fulfillment that is greater than we could have ever imagined.
If Jesus was just a great earthly king, eventually his reign would have ended and someone else would have conquered His kingdom. But, when He ascended the Cross and wore His crown of thorns He established a throne that can never be conquered. God’s kingdom and the blessing for His people were extended beyond any life or era. To this day, all Jesus’ followers remain undefeated against our enemies and certain that all our expectations have been met.
The issue that stands between us and a life of joy with fulfilled expectations is really a matter or selfishness. When we lay down our pride and rise again as a child of God, we see that we are not controlled by our fears, or the world or politics or the fact that our life didn’t go exactly as we had planned. Instead, when we embrace our heavenly Father and His abundant blessing, we are free in Christ Jesus and literally nothing can take that away.
This Palm Sunday and Holy Week we endure a journey of shattered dreams. As we travel that journey, we already know how it resolves. The same is true right now and for each and every day of our life. No matter what trial or disappointment you are enduring, Jesus has already died and rose again in order to transform that brokenness into abundant blessing. May your expectations be rooted in God’s promises for your life and your expectations will always be perfectly fulfilled.
Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. Zechariah 9:9