When Jesus Fails to Meet Your Expectations




When Jesus made his triumphal entry into Jerusalem, many saw him coming as their deliverer and believed he was coming to deliver them from the crushing rule of Rome. They knew the prophecy of Zechariah, “Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” We are told that a great multitude spread their clothes out on the road as an act of homage for royalty. They recognized that Jesus was indeed saying he was their king. They shouted and rejoiced.

They had eyes to see and on one level, they did see. However just days later, when it was obvious that Jesus had failed in their expectations of leading them in a revolt against Rome, the crowds turned on Jesus. They cried, “Crucify him!” The crowds moved from cheers to jeers. Jesus dropped in their estimation from a hero to a zero. When Jesus failed to be who they wanted him to be, the people rejected and abandoned him.

It’s so easy for us judge clearly from our vantage point some 2000 years later. It’s obvious to us that Jesus was fulfilling prophecy. We understand, at least in part, that Jesus was coming to conquer our hearts and minds and to set up his rule from within us.

Perhaps we’d be wise to pause during this week and reflect on how we, too, can be prone to reject and abandon Jesus when he fails to meet our expectations? Can we see what God is saying and what he is doing when it fails to meet our expectations?

The problem, of course, is not with God but with our expectations. Are we willing to keep searching, asking God to open our eyes to see beyond what we expected?

I am so grateful that Jesus set his face like flint (Isaiah 50:7) and for the joy set before him, he endured the cross, despising the shame (Hebrews 12:2). I am so thankful that he was not moved off his course, regardless of the praise or rejection of the crowds.

Jesus knew that the ones who praised him saying “Hosanna to the king of kings!” would soon reject him and yet he remained steadfast. He endured the cross with all its agony, with all its physical pain. He endured the emotional pain as his friends abandoned him and crowds mocked him. He hung naked and dying, wretched in pain and agony, so that we could have life. He endured the darkness of separation from his father. He endured our spiritual darkness, taking it into his own body.

Jesus saw beyond the fleeting moments of praise during his earthly triumphal entry in Jerusalem and he asks us to see beyond our expectations. He asks us to see with spiritual eyes. He asks us to be willing to move and change, cooperating with the work of His Spirit even when we don’t understand what God is doing.

What do you do when Jesus fails to meet your expectations? Will you ask God to help you see what He is doing beyond your expectations? 


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Categories : expectations


  1. Susi Harbour says:

    Excellent, timely post, Mikki!! It compels me to look at the ways I reject Jesus, and how they are so much a part of me that they don’t seem like sin, but they are. I throw a little hissie fit when I don’t get my way, and think on whatsoever is gloomy far too often. It doesn’t take more than something making me uncomfortable for me to spurn Jesus as he is trying to wrap his loving grace around me. Why do I fight his love? Is it because I really don’t want a king I can bow to, but a king who has all the power and takes all the risk, but gives me the reward? Shamefully, I have to answer “yes.”

    Have a Blessed Holy Week!

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