Read Matthew 21

The gospels are a story riddled with people’s doubts about Jesus’ identity. They had certain expectations about what the Messiah would be like and how he would establish his kingdom. Many thought, based on prophecy, that the Messiah would be a warrior, sent by God to save the Jewish nation. Others thought that he would be a political leader, who would establish justice, and care for the people. Though he was not the Messiah they expected, there was plenty of evidence that he was indeed the Messiah. He intentionally rode into the city in such a way that people could not mistake his identity. “Your king comes to you gently and riding on a donkey.” It could not have been more obvious who Jesus is. Their shouts of “Hosanna” and their references to him as the “Son of David” clearly show us that the crowd had great expectations of what was going to happen. Hosanna literally means, “Save us, we pray.” Jesus was, in fact, the Messiah, come to save them, though not in a way they anticipated.

Jesus came to set them free from the bondage of sin and death, rather than from other nations. He came to restore the kingdom of God, to restore humanity’s connection with God. Jesus answered their cries of “Hosanna” in a much more meaningful and lasting way. He greatly exceeded their expectations, in ways they could not fully know at the time.

It is often the same with us. Many Christians have expectations of Jesus. At times we have expectations of what we think that Jesus should be doing for us. We might even tell him in prayer exactly what he needs to be doing. Our hosannas often have just as much expectation built into them as those of the people that day. However we often find that, like those people who welcomed Jesus into Jerusalem, our expectations are at odds with God’s. As disappointing as that may sound, the reality of God’s fulfillment is always far beyond what we had either hoped or imagined.

Today’s author: Katy O’Quinn