Expectation (noun): what we have all learned to temper this year; something liable to change at the last second. From menial to major, we have learned that expectations exist to be challenged by reality.
Jesus was all about challenging expectations about what kind of leader—and Messiah—people hoped he would be. We’ve all been there. When we hear the beginning of a Bible story about Jesus, what kind of Jesus do we expect to see? Jesus the liberator? Jesus the disciplinarian? Jesus the political radical?
Just like us, the Jewish people living under Roman rule had expectations about what kind of leader their Messiah would be. When Jesus showed up to be baptized by John in the Jordan, what kind of Messiah did the Jewish people expect to get? Two thousand years later, who do we expect Jesus to be? If we’re really honest with ourselves, what kind of Messiah do we want?
This Lenten season, I’ll be leading a MidWeek study on Luke 4:1-15 titled, “Temptations of Jesus.” Beginning with the temptations (yes, plural!) of Jesus by the devil in Luke 4, we’ll think about what kind of Messiah Jesus was expected to be (and who is this “devil” character, anyway?). After working through the three temptations by the devil, we’ll read ahead in Luke’s gospel to consider some other ‘temptations’ Jesus faced in his lifetime.
We’ll wonder what kind of Messiah the Jewish people expected Jesus to be, who WE expect Jesus to be, and how he both challenges and expands those expectations. How Jesus responds—in his temptations with the devil, and later, in his ministry—shows us the kind of Messiah Jesus actually is. My hope for this series is that by the end, our definition of expectation might go something like this: Expectation (noun): anticipation converted to wonder.
I’m looking forward to beginning this study together!