Sunday, April 5, 2009

He's still the Expected One (church bulletin cover)

The people of Israel had waited hundreds of years for a promised Messiah -- for a Saviour -- and when Jesus entered Jerusalem in Matthew 21:7-11, the people were stirred with excitement and hope that this wonderful teacher and miracle worker might actually be the One they had been expecting for so long. Yet I suspect that for some, it may have been difficult to believe that God's promises were finally coming to pass. After all, even the most certain can sometimes find their expectations are shaken.

John the Baptist was a man who clearly knew who Jesus was. When he saw Jesus coming to be baptized by him, he said, "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world!" (John 1:29). But in Matthew 11:3, we find John in prison, sending word to Jesus in order to ask, "Are You the Expected One [or literally, the Coming One], or shall we look for someone else?" John had sufficient understanding to be sure of who Jesus was, and yet discouragement had caused him to doubt. And in his inquiry to Jesus, he used a unique name for Jesus: the Expected One or the Coming One. What a descriptive name!

As Jesus entered Jerusalem on that historic day so long ago, so many must have been hoping that "the Expected One" had finally come! And I believe that this is a hope Jesus would still want us to have today no matter what might cause us to doubt.

I don't simply mean in the sense of His promised second coming. I mean that I think Jesus wants to be known as the Expected One or the Coming One in reference to our everyday lives. He wants us to see Him as the Expected One in the everyday challenges we all face. I don't think He ever wants us to stop expecting visitations, interventions or revelations. After all, He's still the Expected One, isn't He?

But the key to maintaining this conviction is contained in what Jesus says in reply to John the Baptist. He says, "People are getting healed, the dead are being raised and the poor are hearing the Gospel, but blessed is he who doesn't take offense at Me." In other words, trust Me to be the Expected One, but be sure to hold your expectations loosely. Jesus may come, but then not do as I expected. That seems to be what John was struggling with: Why hadn't Jesus delivered the people from their Roman oppressors?

I can somewhat relate to John's struggle when I consider prayers that haven't been answered and words from the Lord that have not yet been fulfilled. But such challenges must never become challengers to who we know Jesus to be. And none of those struggles should prevent us from rejoicing in Jesus as the Expected One and the Coming One in every situation we face!

© 2009 by Ken Peters

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