When John the Baptist sat in prison, hearing reports from his disciples about the work of Jesus, his unmet expectations led to an important question for Jesus.
The disciples of John reported all these things to him. And John, calling two of his disciples to him, sent them to the Lord, saying, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” And when the men had come to him, they said, “John the Baptist has sent us to you, saying, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?’” - Luke 7:18-20
John's doubts were the kind of doubts that come with unmet expectations. Prison made him question God's provision and power. The messiah he expected to show up didn't seem to match the messiah he always envisioned. And on top of that Jesus' miracles seemed to be for everyone else but him; Jesus' freed everyone else except for the guy in prison!
John had to ask, "Are you who I expected you to be or should I be expecting someone else?"
Jesus response was simple - a brief report of who he is and what he's done:
And he answered them, “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.” - Luke 7:22-23
Simplicity and clarity from Jesus gave John an expectation adjustment that created hope in a moment of despair. Despite prison, questions, and confusion, John is able to maintain hope in the work of Jesus. Hope that doesn't come from his circumstances or answers, but hope that comes from the unfailing work of Jesus.
Hope and Adjusted Expectations
I do not know what's caused you to question God's goodness. I don't know the prison you've been in or the frustration you've experienced. I don't know what prayers you've prayed and don't ever seem to get the answer you are looking for.
But here's what I do know.
@@Jesus doesn’t always meet our expectations but he always gives us what we need.@@ He doesn’t always respond the way we want, when we want, or how we want, but he always gives us that which we need the most.
The birth of Jesus is not about meeting the expectations of the people who are waiting for him, the birth of Jesus is about God giving to people what they need the most. Hope comes not in met expectations, but in knowing how God gives himself to me. Hope comes not by meeting our expectations but by giving us a picture of what we can expect instead:
But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir. - Galatians 4:4-7
When the time was right. It may have not been the time that the people were expecting or hoping for but when it was right, God sent his son. And that son came to do an important work. Some people were healed and others weren’t. Some people were touched by Jesus and others never even got to see him. But Jesus showed up to do an important work. He gave himself to make you a child of God.
The unmet expectations are met with expectations that God will never fail to met. Expect God to always be there for you; Jesus will never leave you. Expect God to always forgive you; Jesus remembers your sins no more. Expect God to listen to you; God always hears the cries of his children. Expect God to fight for you; Jesus is victorious in every fight against sin, death, and the devil. Expect Jesus to make all things new; Jesus will restore all of his creation.