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What Do You Expect?

What Do You Expect?

Luke 19:29-44 As he approached Bethphage and Bethany at the hill called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, "Go to the village ahead of you, and as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, 'Why are you untying it?' tell him, 'The Lord needs it.' "Those who were sent ahead went and found it just as he had told them. As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, "Why are you untying the colt?"  They replied, "The Lord needs it."  They brought it to Jesus, threw their cloaks on the colt and put Jesus on it.  As he went along, people spread their cloaks on the road.  When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen:  "Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!" "Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!" Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, "Teacher, rebuke your disciples!" "I tell you," he replied, "if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out." As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, "If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace--but now it is hidden from your eyes. The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God's coming to you."

The disciples went and did as Jesus instructed them. They brought the young donkey that had never been ridden, placed their cloaks on it, and Jesus sat on it. The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Hosanna in the highest!”

As He approaches Jerusalem, the city erupts with excitement and the crowd gets caught up in the moment. They start casting down their cloaks on the road, as well as freshly cut palm branches, symbolizing the peace and victory they expected Jesus would bring to them. Yet on this happy, joyous occasion, when everything seemed to be going so right, Luke tells us that Jesus wept.

Why? Because Jesus knew the clamoring and cheering of the crowd would not last. He knew He had to come to Jerusalem for one purpose and one purpose only, and that was to be crucified. He understood then, as now, what really resides in the heart of humanity. He knew the devotion of the crowd was a fickle thing and would only last as long as He would meet their expectations. He knew the crowd expected Him to grant its every wish and whim. He knew as soon as He failed to meet their expectations, the crowd would turn on Him as quickly as it turned to Him.

There were several other things that Jesus knew. He knew the conditions surrounding the people. The Jews found themselves under heavy Roman oppression. There were heavy taxes, restrictions, numerous executions by means of crucifixion, and Jesus knew all about those things. But He also knew their heart.

The crowd had seen the mighty works of this man, Jesus. They were witness to Him restoring sight to the blind. They saw the evidence of Him healing the lame. They saw Him feed the multitude with a little boy’s lunch, and have leftovers to spare. They heard about Him raising Lazarus from the dead. They listened to Him teach with authority.

Surely, with power and authority like that, they expected Jesus would set them free. So, Jesus came to Jerusalem, and the crowds began to cheer.

However, Jesus knew their heart. He knew their expectations. It wouldn’t be long and the cheering would cease, because Jesus would not meet their expectations.

The Jews were expecting a king, a conqueror, someone to set them free, but Jesus didn’t gather any troops. He didn’t lead a revolt. He didn’t do what they expected.  Unlike their Roman conquerors, Jesus rode into the city on a humble donkey instead of a chariot pulled by gallant, war horses. Instead of going to the Sanhedrin to meet with the religious leaders, He drove the moneychangers out of the temple. Then, He paid tribute to Caesar. He taught that giving out of poverty is worth more than giving out of abundance. He taught that in order to be great, you must be a servant. Jesus did everything the people didn’t expect, and so the cheering stopped.

It’s amazing that when things go our way, when God does what we want, when Jesus rises to our cause; how easy it is to cheer and praise Him. But what do we do when He doesn’t meet our expectations? What happens when we face oppression? What happens when we experience troubles? Too often, the cheering and praising stops. Words of adoration and praise quickly fade when our expectations are not met.

The crowd on Palm Sunday quit cheering because they did not recognize His purpose. Notice what Jesus said at the end of verse 44, “you did not recognize the time of God's coming to you.” Jesus did not keep His purpose a secret. These people were expecting the kingdom of God and Jesus had previously told them that the kingdom is already in their presence.

Luke 17:20-21 Once, having been asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, "The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say, 'Here it is,' or 'There it is,' because the kingdom of God is within you."

They were aware of His claims to be the Son of God. They were witness to His miracle working power. Nevertheless, Jesus foretold them that they could look at the sky to discern the weather, but they could not discern the time in which they were living. Why? They could not see Jesus’ purpose because they had their eyes on their immediate circumstances instead of their current condition. They needed to be saved from Hell and be born-again of the Holy Spirit. They did not realize this, nor recognize this was His purpose.

We are the same way today. When we experience trials or certain hardships and we suffer through various difficulties, we get our eyes on our circumstances. When our focus is on everything around us that is wrong, something happens. Our prayers start to change. They become, “Lord, deliver me, help me, fight for me, uplift me,” instead of, “Lord, mold me, use me, grow me through these things, change me, and get glory for yourself in my suffering.” Too often, we expect God to change our circumstances, instead of God changing us in those circumstances. And sadly, it has an effect. In time, the cheering stops. We lose sight of Jesus and His purpose, and we diminish our worship of Him. We go through the motions of service, and praise Him for what we want Him to do, instead of praising Him for who He is.

The people expected deliverance from oppression. Jesus came to deliver them from the bigger problem of sin. In their desire to escape their immediate circumstances, to have their brand of peace, they missed the fact that they walked in the very presence of the Prince of Peace. Don’t let that be what causes your cheering for Jesus to stop. Don’t lose sight of the fact that through any circumstance, we are in the presence of the Prince of Peace.

John 16:33 "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."

It’s hard to get peace from the world when the world is full of trouble. With Jesus, however, we can have peace, even in the middle of our tribulation.

Secondly, not only did they not recognize His purpose, but also they refused to accept His terms.

Matthew 7:21-23 "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'”

Don’t misunderstand, Jesus knows everything there is to know about us. Jesus is saying, “Even though I know who you are, and am aware of every little detail about you, you must depart from me because you have not done the will of my Father. As a result, you do not have an intimate relationship with me because you are an evildoer.

Jesus’ terms were clearly spelled out. Luke 14:33 In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.

The will of the Father involved a cross. Therefore, Jesus asks us to take up our cross and follow Him. This means we are to die to ourselves and live for Him. We are to give up our rights and our will, and submit to the will of the Father through obedience. These are His terms. Did you expect those terms for following Jesus? Are you willing to accept them?

The people in Jerusalem expected peace, not conflict. Jesus was offering them peace in conflict. And Jesus said of Jerusalem in Luke 13:34, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, just as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not have it!” The city of Jerusalem refused Jesus’ terms. Why? It was because they wanted to set the terms of peace. And so, the cheering stopped.

You see, the problem with the crowd, then as now, is that the crowd failed to realize that Jesus did not come to serve them but to save them. He did not come to tell them what a nice group of people they were, but to call them to repentance.

We celebrate the love and mercy of God. We want to experience His salvation and deliverance. We ask God to bless us and grant us success. But I ask you, are we all that different from the crowd that greeted Him on that first Palm Sunday when we hear His call to repent?

Jesus knew the cheers He heard that Sunday would soon turn to jeers. He knew those who called for His coronation would also call for His crucifixion. He knew that the crowd’s acceptance of Him would turn into rejection, because He would not meet their expectations.

The crowd expects a crown without a cross. The crowd expects a God who will be at their beckon call, and finds the idea of living to serve Him and His causes as repugnant. The crowd expects a genie-god who will grant as many wishes as it has breaths, but rejects the one true God who calls us to a life of self-denial and service.

Are you guilty of expecting God to make your way easy and to bless you simply because you ask Him to? If so, you need a change of view. We are His creation and are here to serve Him. Everything created revolves around Him and His purpose, not ours!

Jesus wept over the city because He was aware of the crowd’s ulterior motives, that their faith had the wrong expectations. When He looks at your faith and mine, does He see false expectations? If so, then we will quit praising Him, too.

There are many who expect to go to Heaven by setting the terms themselves. They set their own rules of right and wrong. Then they compare themselves to other people and judge that their behavior entitles them to Heaven’s rewards.

Listen, Jesus was clear when He said in John 14:6I am the way, and no man comes to the Father but by me.”

There is a way that seems right to man, but the end of it is destruction because we refuse to accept His terms. Jesus is the only way; the only provision for salvation has already been made. The blood that was shed on the cross of Calvary is the only means whereby we can be forgiven of sin, and it is the righteousness of Christ, that must be applied to us, if we expect to be in Heaven for eternity.

The crowd did not recognize His purpose. They refused to accept His terms, and thirdly, they did not expect that it would bring judgment. Notice what Jesus said, “The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God's coming to you."

Jesus describes the future judgment of Jerusalem in this passage. They had been warned, they knew the terms, they knew who Jesus was, but they refused to accept these things, and furthermore, they expected to escape judgment. That is why Jesus wept.

In 70A.D, a Roman general named Titus, set siege against Jerusalem because they did finally revolt. The people did it their way. They went according to their purpose, they acted upon their terms, and it brought about judgment. The city and temple were destroyed. Things happened just as Jesus said they would.

How does that apply to us? We cannot approach God on our own terms; we must come through Jesus and give everything to Him. We cannot come to Him in our own time; we must come when He calls. When we come to Him, we must accept His claims. Jesus is the Son of God, the sacrifice for sin, the Lord and Savior. If we refuse these things, all that will be left for us is eternal judgment in a place called Hell. Just as in the days of Noah, when the door of the ark was shut by God, there is a day when it is “too late” to repent. Today is the day of salvation. Don’t let it pass you by and expect your decision not to bring judgment.

Luke 13:24-27  “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Sir, open the door for us.’ “But he will answer, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.’ “Then you will say, ‘We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’ “But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!’

Jesus is the door through which we must enter into Heaven. There is no other way. It is a narrow door. Yes, we are narrow-minded and we must unapologetically stay that way. We must walk a narrow road and few are on it. Wide is the road that leads to destruction and many are found on it. What road are you on?

You are on the wide road if you have not entered through the narrow door, Jesus Christ. He is calling you today. Come to Him, confessing Jesus as your Lord and Savior. Give your life to Him by repenting of your sin and dying to yourself in baptism. Jesus will give you a new life, born-again of the Holy Spirit. By walking after the Spirit, you will remain on the narrow road that fulfills the Father’s will and leads to eternal life.