Evaluating Expectations

After breaking the bread and drinking from the cup, Jesus took his disciples to the Mount of Olives, where he told them they would all be scandalized because of him. Although they denied it, later that night they all would be. Peter was most vehement in his denial, so Jesus told him exactly what he would do, but more than that all the disciples lost faith in Jesus. While he was alive they all believed he was the Messiah, but after his death, they all doubted whether he was. This was revealed by the statement of Cleopas in Luke when they, not knowing they were speaking to Jesus, told him that they had thought Jesus was the Messiah, implying that they no longer did because he had died.

The disciples’ example reveals to us how powerful our expectations of the future can be in our thinking. Jesus told his disciples on a number of occasions that he would be arrested, killed and rise again on the third day. While they questioned what rising from the dead meant, they understood and even opposed the idea that he would be killed. Their presuppositions of the Messiah and what the Kingdom of God would be like prevented them from accepting the truth. In some way they heard the words and explained them away or spiritualized them so that their conclusions were so different that when this all literally took place they began to doubt who Jesus was. The disciples held their theology so tightly, that it prohibited them from accepting the truth. While we all have expectations of the future and what God is doing and will do, we should hold those expectations and even theological positions lightly in order to be open to course corrections in our expectations and even parts of our theology, particularly end time theology. We do not want to be like the disciples whose faith was temporarily shaken because kingdom reality didn’t agree with their theology of the kingdom of God.

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