Not the King We Expected
|| "So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, 'Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!'" -John 12:13 ||
When I prayed, I just wanted the problem to go away. I wanted God to fix the situation. I wanted things to go back to how they were.
I prayed for months, but things just got gradually worse until things couldn't get any worse. Never had I wanted something so bad. Never had a loss wrecked me so bad. Sometimes I couldn't sleep over it. Any time I thought I would finally be okay, it would come around and hit me again. Why didn't God just take it away?
When Israel prayed for a messiah, they wanted a king. They wanted a leader who would take away their sicknesses and oppression.
For hundreds of years, Israel begged God for a savior. When He came, they welcomed Him to Jerusalem with praise. The called Him king. Rightfully so. They believed He would take away their struggle. They believed He would break the chains of an oppressive, bad government.
Before the week was over, they believed He deserved to be crucified.
They wanted a King. They got a Servant.
I think it's so interesting what Jesus does in John 13. He gets down on His knees and washes the feet of his disciples. The twelve men who had followed Jesus, who served Jesus, were being served by Him. Peter couldn't stand it.
|| "No," Peter said. "You shall never wash my feet."
Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.” (v8) ||
Peter didn't want the king to wash His feet. Peter wanted to be the one serving. In his eyes, Jesus was supposed to be king, not a slave. He was supposed to save, not serve. He was supposed to be the triumphant ruler, not the humble redeemer
Later that night, Jesus told Peter he would deny Him three times. Peter demanded that he would never.. He would never betray his leader like that. But when Jesus was arrested, Peter began losing faith. He cut the ear off one of the guards who came to take Jesus away, but Jesus told him no. He let Himself get arrested. If He was the King of the Jews, how could He let Himself be taken like that?
That early morning, Peter denied His King three times. I imagine he felt hurt and betrayed and fooled. Why had he followed someone who was weak? Had he been tricked?
Peter, like all of Israel, was expecting a powerful King. Not a man who would humble himself to death, even death on a cross (Philippians 2:8). Not someone who would submit Himself to the most humiliating, shameful death possible. They wanted a ruler.
They got a savior.
God doesn't work the way we expect. Jesus didn't save the world by overthrowing a government or giving the people the freedom they demanded.
"Hosanna!" They cried out in the street. "Save us! Save, now!"
Jesus didn't change the government. He didn't change the country. He didn't change the world.
He changed people.
I ask God to take away my problem. I ask for redemption of my situation. We ask Him to fix our country, our families, our churches, our lives. But Jesus doesn't offer a quick fix. He offers a new heart.
|| "I will give them a heart to know Me, for I am the LORD; and they will be My people, and I will be their God, for they will return to Me with their whole heart." -Jeremiah 24:7 ||
Yes, God heals. God redeems. God hears our prayers. But sometimes He doesn't fix the situation. He uses the situation to bring us back to Him.
For they will return to Me with their whole heart.
Jesus wasn't the powerful, reigning king the Jews expected. He was the salvation they needed. Salvation from their sins. Reunion with God.
Not the King we expected.
But the Savior we need.