expectations, follow Me, Is Christ enough?, jail, John the Baptist, life didn't turn out the way I expected, Luke 7:18-19, philosopher, take your doubts to Jesus, this is not what I expected, unmet expectations
As a kid, did you ever want something for Christmas so badly, you swore you’d never ask for anything again if you simply received that special gift? Then, when you got what you wanted, you said to yourself, “this is not what I expected.”
As a teenager, you’ve heard so much about the prom or graduating and what it was going to be like. You spent all those years waiting, only to conclude afterward… “This is not what I expected.”
As an adult, you couldn’t wait to get that new car or that home, or even to get married. Then when you finally achieved those goals you thought to yourself, “This is not what I expected.”
Here is the point…. Life is going to be full of situations which are not going to turn out the way we hoped they would. Many times in life we may end up saying… “this is not what I expected.” Not only does this happen to us in the normal flow of life, it occurs in our spiritual lives as well. Anyone who has made a serious commitment to follow God is going to run into situations in which they say, “God, this is not what I expected.”
John the Baptist was sitting in jail one day and began to think these same types of thoughts. “God, this is not what I was expecting to happen to my life. Serving You and introducing the world to Jesus is not what I thought it would be.” Listen to his request.
John’s disciples told him about all these things. Calling two of them, 19 he sent them to the Lord to ask, “Are You the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?” Luke 7:18-19
Maybe John thought he would live a long and prosperous life. Even before he was born, an angel had told his father, “He is going to be a great preacher and will lead many back to the Lord.” As the boy grew, he kept hearing the stories about how his father could not speak from the moment he first received news he would have a son.
I am sure people would look at John and say, “One day that boy is going to be somebody. Do you remember his birth?” But even though his father had been a priest, John did not follow his father’s footsteps. Time passed and people had pretty much forgotten John’s so-called miraculous birth and his alleged mission from God. He was in his twenties now, and now when people saw him they would say, “now there’s one life that did not turn out the way I expected.” John was living in the desert, dressed in clothing made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist. His food consisted of locusts and wild honey. All this didn’t sound like the prophecies of old.
BUT, THE DAY CAME –
But then one day, in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, the Bible tells us that the word of God came to John in the desert. God must have said, “John, I’ve heard your prayers time and time again, but the time was not ripe. But now it’s time to do what I promised your parents you would do.” It was about 25 years ago that God had made a promise to his parents.
Let me parenthetically say, part of the reason we do not get what we expect from God is because we think in terms of praying today and getting answers tomorrow. When God gives us a word it may take years for it to come to fruition. Our job is to get ready so God can make it happen… not make it happen ourselves.
People came from all around to hear John preach. They would fall on their knees in repentance before God. After repentance, they were baptized by John and his disciples. The size of the crowds kept getting bigger and bigger. John baptized so many people that they started calling him John the Baptist. Nothing like this had ever happened in Israel. Some were thinking John might be the Messiah. John said “No, I’m not the Messiah. Not me!”
One day John the Baptist saw Jesus, and he said, “There He is! This is the lamb of God. He’s the one I was telling you would come after me.” John’s disciples even began to leave him and follow Jesus.
BUT THE DAY WENT –
Even after Jesus began His ministry John continued to preach, but the crowds were getting smaller because the people were following after Jesus. One day, one of John’s disciples was a little upset by this and he told John, “You know teacher, that guy you pointed out as the ‘Lamb of God’, well everybody has started going to Him to be baptized. What are we going to do about this? This is not what we expected to happen.” John said, “I didn’t come to compete with Him. I came to prepare the way for Him. I’m glad. ‘He must increase, and I must decrease.‘”
John kept on preaching. He preached a message one day on marriage and divorce. Herod and Phillip came up in the sermon. John was arrested, thrown in jail, and almost forgotten. After being there for a month, I’m sure John was thinking, “This is not what I expected.” There he sat looking at the cold, damp walls of his prison cell. The first month turned into two, the two into four, and the four into eight. The large crowds he had preached to were only a memory now. He kept hearing reports about what Jesus was doing.
It was in this prison cell John began to have doubts. He just had to know…”Was Jesus the Christ, the Expected One?” John had given his entire life to prepare the way for the Messiah. Now, he was in jail for his efforts. The prophecies didn’t mention jail. The prophecies didn’t mention that John would be forgotten. How could John continue to prepare the way for the Lord if he spent the rest of his life in jail? It was here in this dark place that John had to ask and answer the question every follower of Jesus Christ has to ask and answer… Is Christ Enough?
Is Christ enough for you? Do you have expectations of the Lord which are not being met? I will address this more in the next few blogs, but suffice it to say, there is nothing wrong with asking these types of questions. If we neglect to address our doubts, they will eventually eat us up from the inside out. John took his doubts to the Lord, Himself. If John took this course of action…so should we. The Lord knows exactly what we need to hear.
There is a story of a philosopher who took a stroll one evening to ponder the meaning of life. With disheveled hair and dressed in ragged clothes, he wandered in the rain through dimly lit streets in a state of deep reflection. The police noticed him and thought he looked suspicious. They abruptly cornered him and asked, “Who are you?” and “Where are you going?” To which the philosopher replied, “Those are the very questions I’m trying to answer. Can you help me?”
We do not have live like this puzzled and bewildered philosopher. Christ is enough. We only need to go to Him and allow Him to speak to the issues of our life.