Tag Archives: Expectations

First Sunday of Advent

John 15:10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in [accept and act in accordance with] my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. [NRSV]

This year my Advent posts are going to be like one of those mystery TV shows that begin with the solution and then proceeds to lay out the evidence.  My advent begins with the assumption verse 10 is the solution.  I plan to continue searching verse-by-verse for evidence that reveals why Jesus Christ deserves the repeated annual observation we call Advent.  It shouldn’t be too difficult to find.  We have this book of His-tory and John is the recognized expert on Christology [Christian theology relating to the person, nature, and role of Christ].  Expert witness testimony is an important part of the solution to every mystery.  

What are the commandments Jesus is referring to?  There’s a long list you can find with an internet search but John 13:34 has recorded this from my first witness, Christ himself; “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another.  Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.”  

My second expert today is the Apostle Paul with evidence that supports Jesus’s new commandment. “For Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.” Romans 10:4

There’s more than beauty to the Advent story that makes it important.  God provided a solution to the mystery of life in that cradle that could remind us every year He offers so much more than what we know to expect.  Jesus is the reality of our salvation, growth and “abiding” in His and God’s love.  My third witness today is John Piper from Come Thou Unexpected Jesus: “Jesus was long expected. But when and how and where and why he came were all unexpected…He did not come to meet [our] expectations but to love [us] in the ways [we] most desperately needed…[that’s] the place [we] are most likely to really adore him.” [edited]

Repentance of Expectations

Mark 11:9 Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted, “Hosanna!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” 10 “Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!” 11 Jesus entered Jerusalem and went into the temple courts. He looked around at everything, but since it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the Twelve.

This is probably one of the most familiar Biblical stories associated with the week leading up to Easter Sunday. I’m sure you know it. There was the donkey, a prophetic symbol, the ride of choice for a king coming in peace. The cheering crowd confirming that Jesus’s ministry was spreading and the palm branches were the modern-day equivalent of their rolling out the red carpet for him.

The details of this story in the four Gospels vary a bit but the main idea is the same; Jesus’s determination to begin his final confrontation with sin in the city of peace, Jerusalem. “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.’ ” Luke 19

Jesus knew exactly what that triumphal entry was really about. The crowd’s Hosannas weren’t at all shouts of praise as I’ve come to think of them. They were cries of it’s literal meaning; “help” or “save, I pray” from people longing for Jesus to prove himself as the conquering Messiah they expected. That conflict between Jesus’s determination and their expectations explains why a short five days later their cries had changed from Hosanna to “crucify him.”

Thank God for this Palm Sunday reminder…sometimes repentance includes surrendering my expectations of how Jesus should prove himself to me and celebrate that he already has. Hosanna!