This statement seems bitter, contradictory, packed with hypocrisy… yet so full of truth.
They spread their cloaks on the road, waved palm branches and shouted “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!” Mark 11:9-10
Jerusalem was bursting at the seams, in numbers and in excitement. The word of Jesus had spread like wildfire—word of His miracles, His teachings and His recent act of raising Lazarus from the dead. The people of Israel saw Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem as a triumphant entrance into the land He would take under His control. They believed Jesus would come and physically save their day, destroy Roman rule and put Israel back in their rightful place. They expected a victor, a warrior.
Who was this man? Would He meet their expectations?
Jesus turned out to be nothing they expected and yet everything they needed.
He died instead of living, and ascended to heaven instead of staying on earth to be their ruler. Can you imagine the confusion and frustration they felt?
The years of hope and anticipation had mounted up to this very weekend, and instead of their physical lives being instantly and dramatically changed, they were left in disarray. What had just happened? Why were the Romans still in control? Is THIS all we get?
The pastor at the church we attended this past Sunday began to paint this picture for the congregation. It started similar to many Palm Sunday messages I had heard in the past. I agreed, nodded, tried to put myself in the Jews shoes, and then he asked a very bold question:
“Do you ever feel like Jesus has disappointed you?”
It was one of those moments where everyone stops and stares…waiting to see how the pastor will answer his own question.
He went on to tell a very personal story of how he and his wife’s child was born at 8 months, stillborn. He walked us through the depths of those dark moments he felt desperately disappointed by God. If following Christ was supposed to be full of miracles and blessings, how did He let this happen? The pastor believed in miracles and prayed for them over and over again, and yet they still lost the baby. Where was God and why didn’t he pull through?
Doubt creeps into the dark corners of our hearts when tragedy and disappointment take us by surprise.
The pastor’s frank disappointment with God was birthed out of unmet expectations—expectations he didn’t even realize he had until disaster struck. If God was good, then how could something so bad happen?
These are age old, difficult questions—ones I won’t try to answer (Check out this awesome post that goes there http://youcantfail.com/why-bad-things-happen-to-good-people/) —but I will explain the understanding that followed the pastor’s vulnerability.
At times we are disappointed in Christ because we have our own human expectations of Him. We EXPECT Him to fulfill to our earthly desires when there is so much more at stake. Jesus’ death and resurrection accomplished much more than our physical beings can even comprehend. Amidst the exterior chaos, Jesus has overcome.
As hard as it is to believe sometimes, Christ always has our best interest in mind. And even when life hurts and disappoints us, Christ is working all things~together~ for our good.
Trusting Jesus is trusting He has a plan, believing He knows what is best, and that His ways are perfect—even when our earthly circumstances don’t paint that same picture. Our finite minds can’t comprehend what He is always doing, yet we are called to follow. The mystery around Jesus is part of His glory and power.
Has Jesus disappointed you? Have circumstances in your life questioned His goodness and authority?
This Good Friday, be real with those broken places in your heart. Get honest with yourself and open your eyes to the unmet expectations you have with following Jesus. Ask Him to help you trust His ways and see the good things He is doing.
Jesus may not be what we expect, but He is everything we need.