FAITH VERSUS FALSE EXPECTATION
Luke 23:42 “Then he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.’ ”
His disciples looked up to Jesus, for He was more than amazing. He healed the blind, the sick, and the lame; and He exorcised demons, raised the dead, and forgave sin. So great were Jesus’ teachings and miracles that while walking with Jesus for three years, these men attested that He indeed was the Son of God.
Head knowledge told Jesus’ disciples that He was indeed the Messiah—the Son of God. He daily demonstrated this, and as He was in the Davidic line, they, as generations of Jews before them, expected Him to physically conquer the Romans and set up Israel as the ruling nation. Why? Perhaps it was because they were strong in believing the first two parts of God’s promise to Abraham—that Abraham and his descendants would become a great nation and that they would be given land. But it appears that the third part of the promise was not fully understood—that through Abraham and his descendants, all nations would be blessed. How so? It goes back to Adam and Eve and the promise that Satan and sin would be crushed. God’s kingdom would be one of purity and of love for all.
It does appear that the disciples truly didn’t understand Jesus’ role or His kingdom, though time and again, Jesus spoke about who He was, His kingdom, and His purpose—not to be an earthly king at that time, but to save mankind from sin: “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” John 1:29 This was Jesus, foretold by the angel of the Lord to Joseph, “ And she will have a son, and you are to name Him Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”
God’s purpose was very clear: Jesus would save mankind from sin. Therefore, Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” Matthew 4:17 “Meanwhile, Zacchaeus stood before the Lord and said, ‘I will give half my wealth to the poor, Lord, and if I have cheated people on their taxes, I will give them back four times as much!’ Jesus responded, ‘Salvation has come to this home today, for this man has shown himself to be a true son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.’ ” Luke 19:8-10
Don’t you sometimes wonder if the disciples were really listening? Don’t you wonder about them putting two and two together to understand the prophecies of Scripture? If they fully understood Jesus, why did they abandon Him in the garden? Deny Him? Leave Him at the cross? Lock themselves behind locked doors after His crucifixion?
False expectations—this is what it appears the disciples suffered from. Where was their conquering hero when He was mocked, tortured, and crucified on the cross? How could He allow these things to happen to Himself if He were truly to be their Messiah Ruler? These men who walked with Jesus, ate with Him, and traveled with Him, now doubted who He was.
When we examine Scripture, however, there was one man--a most unlikely man--who did understand who Jesus was. He was a criminal—some believe a murderer—and he was being crucified at the side of Jesus. While a criminal on the other side mocked Jesus, this man protested, “ ’Don’t you fear God when you’ve been sentenced to die? We deserve to die for our crimes, but this man hasn’t done anything wrong’ Then he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into Your Kingdom.’ And Jesus replied, ‘I assure you, today you will be with Me in paradise.’ ” Luke 23 40-43
Now I must ask myself, as you might ask yourself, “What about me? Do I have false expectations of You, LORD? Do I, knowing you are God, expect You to answer my every prayer with “Yes, so it shall be done,” or do I expect You to act like a genie, giving me my three wishes? Do I expect You to crush everything bad in the world because, like some say, if You were good, You wouldn’t allow it? Is there anything I expect of you that I should not? OR am I in Your Word enough to understand who You really are, the all-compassionate, merciful Master planner who walks with me every step throughout my life? Do I understand that there will be multiple times of joy as I walk in my Christian faith, but also know I am guaranteed in Your Word to face difficult trials, and maybe, someday, even persecution by those who hate You?
All these questions are answered by faith—even a simple faith such as that of the criminal who repented and was saved just before his death. Faith helps us understand that God is good and trustworthy—that we live in a fallen and decaying world because of sin, but that sin has been conquered through Jesus’ work on the cross. Faith gives us the knowledge that one day there will a new heaven and a new earth where all will be well and where there will be great rejoicing and praise for our Almighty God.
Our enemy, Satan, would have us rely and fall back onto false expectations, for he wants us to think God fails us. Let us never succumb to his wily tricks by immersing ourselves in God’s Word. God never fails! He is our rock and salvation. May He be praised forever and ever.
John 1:12 “But to all who believed Him and accepted Him, He gave the right to become children of God.”
John 3:3 “Jesus replied, ‘I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.’ ”
John 15:18-19 “If the world hates you, remember that it hated Me first. The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it, but you are no longer part of the world. I chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you.”
Colossians 2:8 “Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ.”
PRAYER: Dear Father, as I read Your Word, help me by the light of Your Spirit completely understand what You are teaching so that I never suffer from false expectations concerning You or about what is happening in this current world. You are the answer to every question and to every search for meaning. You, Almighty God, are majestic and awesome. Thank You for Your perfect plan for mankind and thank You for Your perfect plan for me.
DISCLAIMER: I am just an ordinary woman who loves Jesus, accepting Him as Savior at the age of thirty-two and digging into the Bible ever since. How could I possibly hope to develop a heart relationship with God and trust Him with my life if I didn't know who He is?!
These devotionals are written to help you journey with Christ and grow in your heart relationship with Him. However, it is essential that you examine my words, and those of all other "teachers," with God's Holy Word. Therein lies the source of all truth!
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Candice Mary Thomas writes about loving God and loving people! Coming to Christ at age 32 and now in her 70's, Candice knows what a difference it makes living with or without Christ as one's personal Savior.