The Triumphal Entry
1As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples, 2saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and just as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. 3If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ tell him, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here shortly.’ “
4They went and found a colt outside in the street, tied at a doorway. As they untied it, 5some people standing there asked, “What are you doing, untying that colt?” 6They answered as Jesus had told them to, and the people let them go. 7When they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks over it, he sat on it. 8Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields. 9Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted,
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
10“Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!”
“Hosanna in the highest!”
11Jesus entered Jerusalem and went to the temple. He looked around at everything, but since it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the Twelve.
Such A Good Start
Now we entering the Passion Week in the gospel of Mark, and it begins so well! A spot-on prophecy by Jesus, and a welcoming parade fit for a conquering hero, with crowds of people shouting, “Hosanna! Save us!” What a great start for Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem…and yet, only a few days later, the same people will be shouting for Jesus to be crucified, for a murderer to be set free in his stead. They would rather have a murderer amongst them, than Jesus…
What happened here? The people turned on him so quickly because he didn’t fulfill their expectations, namely, to free them from occupation. When it became clear that Jesus was not their political liberator, they found it very easy to turn on him, and ask for his crucifixion. They didn’t understand who Jesus truly was, and what he truly came to do, and became disillusioned when he broke promises he never made to them!
I believe that we often find ourselves in a very similar situation. We have expectations from our Christian life, a lot of false ones: that our life will be comfortable, will be safe, will be free from suffering. And when these expectations become unfulfilled, when we sin again, when we are oppressed, we get disappointed with God – “Why is this happening to me? Why would God let this happen? Does this mean he doesn’t love me…or doesn’t exist??”
But Jesus never promised these things to us, never promised that a life with Him would be easy or comfortable. It is not fair for us to get disappointed that God doesn’t fulfill promises he never made! But instead, we can always count on him to fulfill the promises he DID make to us – not for an easy and comfortable life, but for a redeemed and restored one. And that he will work all things for the good of those who love him. These are the promises that God really does give, and that we really can count on.
1. Who was the last person that disappointed you in some way? How did you feel about them after this disappointment?
2. Do you think you have expectations of God that are not fair to what he has promised to do? How do we figure this out?
3. If we do have these false expectations of God, what are the differences between those expectations and what God truly promises in our lives?