What Were You Expecting?

  Just one week ago, the King made His triumphal entry into Jerusalem.  The people expected a mighty warrior, riding in on a valiant steed, sword at the ready, there to forcibly remove the occupying Romans.   What they got was a Humble Savior, strolling on on a donkey, heart at the ready, there to overcome sin and death.

Instead of attacking the Romans, He overturned the tables of the money changers at the temple.

Instead of being what the people expected, Jesus was the real Messiah.  He was God Incarnate.  And the Jews, who had a preconceived notion of their savior, missed the very Messiah they had been looking for.

When attacked, Jesus did not fight back.  Why should He?  Who is God that He needs to fight against His creation?  Instead, Jesus did what no one expected: rebuked His defender (Peter) and healed the wounded enemy (the Roman soldier’s slave who had just had his ear shaved off).

When put on trial – itself an illegal kangaroo court affair – Jesus did not defend Himself, as one would expect.  Why should He?  Who is God that He needs to defend Himself against man?  Instead, Jesus did what no one expected: He, the most innocent individual to ever wrongly face prosecution / persecution, willingly took the punishment: ridicule, beating and scourging to within an inch of His life, questioning, more torture and, finally, execution by the most excruciating, humiliating method known: crucifixion.

When hanging on the cross, Jesus offered forgiveness to the thief who recognized Him as Messiah.  The learned Pharisees – the ones who should have recognized Jesus for Who He is – were instead the instigators of this horrific end.  They expected He would die in quiet anguish.  But Jesus did not go quietly.  Why should He?  Who is God that man can harm Him or kill Him?  Jesus let out a yell, the skies drew dark as night, the earth shook violently and, at the temple, the curtain to the Holy of Holies was torn in two.  The place in the temple where God (allegedly) lived had been ruined, exposed to the world.

And so Jesus was buried in the tomb of a rich Pharisee.  He had promised to be back on the third day.  But, after seeing the unbelievable violence and apparent defeat Jesus faced, who on earth could believe this man would emerge from behind the one ton plus stone set to seal His tomb?  Yet, the women who went to His tomb found just that: the stone rolled back, the tomb empty, Jesus’ burial clothes folded neatly.  Why should He stay in the tomb?  Who is God if He doesn’t keep His word?  He has no need for lying, for He is truth.  He suffered and died and rose again out love for His children, as the only possible permanent and thorough sacrifice for our sins.

Jesus has never been a predictable Savior.  Why should He?  Who is God that He should conform to man’s ways and ideas and notions?  Do not expect God will do this or say that.  God is God, and He will do what He wants.  His will cannot be thwarted.  And He does not exist to prove or complete our religious notions and expectations.  Rather, we exist to bring glory to God.

We come expecting Christ.  That is more than enough.

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