When Jesus came to town, we asked him, “What is he going to do for us? How is he going to change our circumstances?”
By the time Jesus reached Bethany, he had attracted a good crowd. After all, he was traveling with a dead man that he brought back to life! News traveled fast and Jews were starting to hope that this Jesus was their long awaited King.
It seems natural that people want a King, or that they want someone to change their circumstances. But was Jesus filling people with false hope? He rode through on a donkey fulfilling prophecy. He let people greet him with palms, like a triumphant king. He must have known that he could not meet their expectations, at least not in the way they hoped.
Jesus had a more complete definition of triumph and restoration. The religious leaders were frustrated at the confusion Jesus brought. Haven’t we also felt confused at times at the ambivalence of Jesus? Sometimes he is healing and victory, but sometimes he is trial and waiting.
I know for me personally, I haven’t always seen a clear path in my journey of faith. He has not always removed my suffering! The questions came hard and my patience ran out. At one point, I was even tempted to walk away in my doubt. But in the waiting his Spirit drew me back and I learned to trust him.
Jesus’ movement in us often means disturbing things. To renovate our hearts he sometimes comes in, turning over tables, and waking us up when we’re asleep. The real tragedy would be if he did meet our expectations!
We learn to ask, “What does Jesus want of me?” We learn to invite the questions and the paradox. He may change your circumstances, but he will first offer to change your heart.
“Lord, it is hard to not always understand how you will be victorious in my life. It is, at times, painful to follow you. Yet, you also give me peace concerning my past and hope concerning my future. I want to be faithful and trusting. May your Spirit comfort and guide me. Amen.”