Blinded by Expectations

As this is the week leading up to Passover, the crucifixion of the Passover Lamb – Yeshua, and His resurrection, I ask the question, what are your expectations surrounding a Messiah, a Savior?  Are they based on tradition?  Are they perhaps mixed with cultural fables or even personal imaginary expectations? Let’s look at Yeshua (Jesus) and His disciples and what they expected.

Even Yeshua’s own disciples had flawed expectations of what Israel’s Messiah would look like.  In Luke 22:49, we read that one of His disciples took his sword and cut off the ear of the servant of the High Priest when Yeshua was being arrested.  The mistaken belief of the Jewish people then and apparently now was that Messiah would come as a deliverer and king who would rule with military force.  Yet, many prophets tried to correct that thinking and prepare the people to turn to Adonai with a pure heart.  Isaiah 53 clearly depicts Messiah as the Suffering Servant who would die a gruesome death to ransom the lives of those who put their trust in Him.

Acts 1:6-7 recalls a conversation between Yeshua and His disciples when they asked Him when He would restore self-rule of the Kingdom to Israel.  They didn’t understand that He must first come as Redeemer before He would come as King to establish His Kingdom rule where Torah would be written on their hearts.  Throughout the Tanakh (Old Testament) the term, ‘world to come’ is cited. Ezekiel 36:24-28 describes the new heart where the Holy Spirit would reside so Israel could live in the Land and walk out the Torah in the way they live (and those who embrace the Messiah of Israel.)

It is interesting to view the conversation found in Luke 23:43 between Yeshua and the repentant thief who was on the execution stake beside Him.  Yeshua said, (in many translations) “Today you will be with Me in Paradise.” David Stern’s notes in “The Complete Jewish Study Bible”  tells us that literally it can be read in Hebrew as Gan-Eden or Garden of Eden. Gan-Eden is the expression for ‘Paradise’ from the Greek paradeisos in the LXX (see Gen.2:8).

May I suggest that the world to come will be a restoration of the Garden of Eden before all creation was altered when Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Yeshua Messiah will come again as King of Israel in Jerusalem, where the Jewish people will all know Him and have His Torah written upon their heart along with all the nations that embrace Him as Messiah of Israel and Savior of the nations of the world who put their trust in Him.

Misplaced Expectations

Have you ever had someone say to you, “I need you to … (fill in the blank) for me to … (fill in the blank)? That is a classic example of misplaced expectations. Many people, like me, who have grown up in dysfunctional families develop an inflated sense of responsibility.  Instead of politely responding to the unreasonable projected expectation by saying, “While I respect your need to have… (fill in the blank) to meet your need for …. (fill in the blank), I am not able to fulfill that request.” That response respects the other person’s need and respects your choice as to whether it is something you can or are willing to do it or not.

However, most people come from some type of past dysfunction and respond to another’s misplaced expectation by either making an excuse, getting angry or by avoiding the other person.

Sound familiar? I must confess that I am still a work in progress and tend to internalize, the unrealistic expectation, make and excuse and follow it by avoidance.  However, I don’t need to stay there!  Sometimes, I do respond in a healthy and respectful way, but when I don’t, I can stop right there, thank the Lord for showing me my brokenness and surrender it to Him.  I can choose to short circuit the destructive dysfunctional cycle and allow God’s grace to meet my repentant heart with forgiveness, and then I can go to the other person and ask for forgiveness for my broken response.  That doesn’t mean I agree to do what was inappropriately expected.  It just means we can go back to the point of exchange and respond in a respectful, kind and appropriate way. In Matt. 18, Yeshua instructs us to go to the other person to make right our part of the wrong, with the hope of reconciliation.

But, if after doing that, the other person chooses not to reconcile, we can forgive and pray for the other person and rest in God’s shalom. Romans 12:18 says, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” Although we can’t choose for another, we can choose to live our lives in the way of the Lord that brings His shalom.