From the beginning of His ministry the Jewish people expected something different from Jesus than what He came to offer.
- The religious community, particularly the Pharisees, believed the Jewish people were to be God’s representatives on earth. They were looking for a Messiah who would lead Israel to be a great and free nation once again.
- The secular Jewish community wanted peace. They had taken the approach of working with the Romans from a political perspective of cooperation. They were expecting a Messiah who would be a political leader who would negotiate with Rome.
- The poor people were expecting a Messiah who would change their situation. The rich people were hoping for a Messiah would validate their status.
- The Jews had been under Roman rulership since the year 64 BC, and they were anxious for Messiah – a leader – someone who would overthrow the government and rescue them from the tyranny of Roman rule. So, the zealots were ready for change by any means necessary. Their expectation was for the Messiah to be a King who would come with vengeance against Rome.
Everybody had expectations. Jesus had to reset everyone’s expectations of who He was. He had not come as a politician, or to start a civil war, or to be a community organizer, or even just as a good religious teacher. In John 10:10b, He said, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly”.
Jesus required specific behaviors of those who would be His followers.
- In John 3:14-21, He explained the fundamental requirement of becoming a follower of Jesus Christ – a change of heart, a change of mind, a change of conduct. He said, “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. (NKJV).
- In Matthew 16:24-27, Jesus explained that the path abundant life was one of commitment. He said, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” (NKJV).
- In Mark 10:42-45, Jesus explained that abundant life in Him meant sacrifice. He said, “And whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (NKJV)
In Jesus Christ, these behaviors lead to abundant life. But many of the Jews in His day would not accept His terms. They turned away because He did not meet their expectations. And yet, He died on the cross for their sins, too. The Bible says that He kept His promise of eternal life and abundant life with the Father when God raised Him up again from the grave. He lives and reigns forevermore!
He still offers that eternal abundant life. Will you meet His expectations?
The King is coming…..get ready.