Over the past month I’ve been making a more concerted study of Jesus Christ. As I’ve read various helpful sources, most notably Jesus the Christ, I’ve been struck by something new.
So often in His ministry, He wasn’t what the people wanted Him to be; didn’t do what they wanted Him to do; and didn’t say what they wanted Him to say.
Under brutal Roman rule, the people expected Him to literally ride in and save the day, releasing them from their political oppression. But He didn’t. Instead, Jesus preached loving their enemies and praying for those who despitefully used them. Little wonder they were angered at His injunction that when someone compels them to go a mile, to go with them twain. That was likely a reference to the edict that a Roman legionnaire could legally compel anyone—aged or young—to walk up to a mile carrying a heavy Roman military pack. And this the legionnaires would do for sport or mockery.
When the five and four thousand people were fed bread and fish, miraculously, it wasn’t enough. They expected more from the actual Messiah, in proof, assuming that if in Moses’ day the people were fed manna daily, well, surely there would be more for them than just a few times of loaves and fishes.
On and on, the people raised their individual or false expectations, only to likely feel them dashed by the Savior’s actual actions and sermons. In doing so, they missed the very Messiah before them, ultimately walking no more with Him, and so many calling for His crucifixion.
As I ponder the reality of the Savior’s messages and His daily experiences, I realize how easy it is to be disappointed by expectations I have created, or someone else has created for me. Or how quickly I can forget the miracles in my own life, or compare them to someone else’s and find them somehow wanting. Or to figuratively “walk away” from the Savior simply because it may feel too hard to forgive or too painful to continue.
Reading about His life, studying His messages, and better knowing His subtle but powerful actions has truly blessed my life as I prepare for Easter.
I encourage you this month to search the scriptures specifically about Jesus Christ, and add a meaningful resource that daily helps you keep Him forefront in your life. In this oftentimes noisy and disconnected world, the new fullness you’ll feel will bring you more peace, joy, and contentment.