Reframing Expectations | John 12:12-36
Topic: New Testament Passage: John 12:12–12:36
Christopher Rich – May, 5 2019
Reframing Expectations | John 12:12-36
Introduction | Great Expectations
Good Morning! I am Chris Rich Lead Pastor at Damascus Road Church in Marysville, where we are Saved by Jesus Work, Changed by Jesus’ Grace, and Living on Jesus’s Mission. Today we are continuing the walk through John’s Gospel that you have been on for the past several months trying to see Jesus not as we think he should, be but as gloriously and accurately as possible from a the eye witness account of a disciple.
How do you deal with Expectations? When have you struggled with expectations? I stay struggle because most of life’s frustration and enjoyments are around managing and processing expectations. Expectations give us a picture of the near future that we then navigate and respond to based how the reality we experience plays out. When you have expectations and they’re met there is a sense of stability and even satisfaction, at least a sense of sanity that you’re seeing things properly. When expectations are exceeded there is a response of great joy and abundant delight (this is more/better than I expected). But when we have expectations set that are not met there is disappointment, frustration, that can be very unsettling.
Expectations of others- I want people to be a certain way and they’re not. I want people to respond to me in positive ways. I want others to behave or react to the world in ways that are in in line with how I see myself, or the world. We expect others to see and respond the same way we do Everyone else needs to function in ways that I’ve deemed appropriate. We are giving people too much power over our joy.
Expectations from others - How do we handle others expectations of us? This causes us pressure to deal with because no one wants to be the cause of others being upset, angry, disappointed. But then we begin to focus too much on how we are perceived in the eyes of others and again we’re giving them too much power over us to define our identity, worth and value based on our performance to their expectations.
We set people up for failure in our eyes when we are waiting for them to becoming something they are not.
Expectations of life - You expect your first year of marriage to be x and it’s not. Becoming a parent. You hit mile stones in life and you look around and say “I thought it would be more like this… “ and it’s not. Moments of disappointment can become seasons of regret of expectations unmet. Or maybe things are going just great all your expectation for life have been meet some exceeded but your still unsatisfied.
Expectations of the world- People, culture, society is inherently good so we expect things to work out. Look at the news daily and you’ll see conflict, injustice, pain, and war ever present. People, society are inherently bad so we are shocked to when anything goes well, we wall ourselves off from others and disengage. How do you respond with anger, confusion, bitterness. We can sometimes get cynical and discouraged and we start to just lower our expectations. We set ourselves up for failure in navigating the world when we have unrealistic expectations of what our lives and the world should be.
What we can’t do is lower expectations and think somehow that we’ll be satisfied. We’ll see our expectations met but we’ll be hopeless knowing this is as good as it gets. We cannot simply believe the best have unrealistic expectations and hope they’re met because when they’re not we’ll be consistently disappointed, both types of expectations will drive us to be cynical and jaded rather than joy filled. The answer is also not to have no expectations as if the world is all random and meaningless. When we have expectations of others, ourselves, our lives, and world what we’re really saying is we have expectations of God. Who He is, how He is engaging with the world, what do we expect from Him in regards to involvement/intervention in our lives and circumstances. When we don’t have those expectations calibrated properly we will misunderstand the nature of God and be frustrated, today with Jesus we are Reframing Expectations.
PART I | Expectations of a King | John 12:12-19
John 12:12-19 | 12 The next day the large crowd that had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. 13 So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, out, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!” 14 And Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, just as it is written, 15 “Fear not, daughter of Zion; behold, your king is coming, sitting on a donkey's colt!” 16 His disciples did not understand these things at first, but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things had been written about him and had been done to him.17 The crowd that had been with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to bear witness. 18 The reason why the crowd went to meet him was that they heard he had done this sign. 19 So the Pharisees said to one another, “You see that you are gaining nothing. Look, the world has gone after him.”
Sunday before Easter…. Beginning of Passover, hundreds of thousands of worshippers from across Israel and the known world have filling the city. Just the past week Jesus has risen Lazarus from the dead, so his power has been on display. The Romans are expecting political unrest, possibly rebellion, and has sent in extra garrison of troops to keep the “peace” (ie: Police state) Jesus coming to the city has as grand arrival. This whole seen is dripping with symbolism all around great expectation of a great king from the people:
Expectations of a Nation – v 13 Palm branches had become a nationalistic symbol over the past couple hundred years in Israel after a successful rebellion by the Maccabeans. Romans put them on the Judean coins to celebrate their victory over the region. Now under roman rule, they represent pride in their nation and a desire for their kingdom to ascend again to world prominence. They’re saying Jesus our king!
Expectations of Deliverance - Hosanna – Save us now! Give us salvation now! There is an expectation of deliverance from oppression of their need to be saved from their current state. Many who came out to meet Jesus are those who are from Galilee so they’re poor and marginalized, they don’t want to be poor no more. The have expectations of a world that doesn’t include their current form of oppression.
Expectations of a King- Blessed coming in the name of the lord, King of Israel – They’re cheering form Psalm 118 about God’s love for His people endures forever. The people know they’re calling Jesus king but they have slightly different expectations than Jesus of what that type of King is. They have been clear on what they want and what they expect Jesus to be, what they expect him to do, and what they expect that to mean for them. He will be a national king lead them to victory over the oppressive Romans, returning their nation the status they deserve and they will have health, wealth, and prosperity for ever. .
Expectations of Humility and Peace Donkey – Jesus does not come in war horse to stir up a violent revolution. Instead he rides a humble small donkey. This was actually, one promised in Zech 9:9, which talks about a king who is coming in Humility. He is righteous (sinless perfect) His purpose is bring salvation. The rest of the chapter says the battle bow will be cut off (no more conflict/war) there will be peace (Shalom) spoken to the nations (beyond Israel) and His reign will extend from sea to sea. This will happen with a covenant paid for by blood that will set captives free. Yes bloodshed pay for our peace with the blood of our enemies, but instead we see Jesus will tell us about His bloodshed/sacrifice on the cross. This humble gentle king will bring an end war. Yes! But it’s not the conflict between Israel and her enemies but the enmity between God and man. The peace purchased with His blood is for more than Israel only.
Jesus is resetting their expectations of who He is so they can understand accurately and respond appropriately.
We don’t understand all the time! We have wrong expectations of this king when we only hear what we want to hear and don’t listen to all God is trying to tell us. Victory, peace, captives free….. Not armed conflict…. Not exaltation but humility…. Not our special nation/race, but all of them? Not our land only, but sea to sea. You have a guy who can raise Lazarus from the dead, we can have an army of people who don’t stay dead of course we can win! They love God’s power but not his gentleness and graciousness. They were expecting a great military victory over throwing the Romans…. But instead this King will humbly take on defeat for us. Oh we like the promises of God for flourishing life but not the calls to holiness. I like the rewards of discipline in following God but I don’t like the Mercy and grace God shows to others. I like forever in Heaven with Jesus but I don’t like the endure in faithfulness now. We to listen to all God says.
Expectations of the Pharisees - They have been plotting against Him and they see this scene and think “we can’t do anything to stop this, “nothing we’re doing to try to “fix this” is working. All this opposition is getting us nowhere. They want control so they manipulate. When we try manipulate God and how he’s working good luck having any success you should only expect frustration. The world has gone after him… there are people from different nations following… They want a king for their nation, Jesus has come to bring His kingdom to the world. We expect Jesus to be for us, we don’t expect him to be for the other.
PART II | Expectations of our Lives | John 12:20-26
John 12:20-26 | 20 Now among those who went up to worship at the feast were some Greeks. 21 So these came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and asked him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” 22 Philip went and told Andrew; Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. 23 And Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. 25 Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.
Greeks want to meet Jesus (not Hebrews, not Greek Jews) but outside the family of God. This king is for all nations. This is the trigger point vs23, Jesus has been saying, it’s not time yet, and now it’s “game time!”
We expect flourishing to come from a fruitful life. Jesus reminds us for fruit to be produced something needs to die first. A seed is buried. I cannot bear fruit if it’s left alone, it’s just one lame seed. But if it’s buried it will produce fruit that will plant seeds, that will produce fruit, that will plant seeds, etc. Jesus death will bring a massive harvest. Jesus is the seed dying who is actually to be glorified because of the harvest.
What has (will) Jesus accomplish and what are the implications for us? How does Jesus giving His life apply to us and ours I the here and now. Jesus is talking about his mighty work of redeeming and saving His people giving good expectations of how it will be accomplished AND Jesus is setting our expectations for what life with (or without) Him will look like for us going forward.
We expect desiring and living for greater life now will lead to more life, but instead it will lead to a lesser life.
If you love this life above all things you’ll suffer loss. Loving our lives is talking about our life apart from, independent of God. It’s denying God’s rule and reign in exchange for your own. If you love life that is all about you… know simply it will end… you will lose it. This focus on self can move to idolatry which is sin. Sin can be as simple as choosing less than what God has for you.
Hate is a lesser love (it’s not distain.) It’s a contrast from loving your life most. He’s not saying “don’t enjoy life now.” He’s saying you need to have your expectations of this life and the life to come properly set. If your greatest love is what you can experience in the here and now than you have expectations of eternal life with God that are too small! You should expect better than what is now!!! This is important, otherwise you’ll believe wrongly that God is calling you to a terrible life…. It is reframing your expectations about who your life is ultimately for. By moving the focus from yourself to God and others you’re in a way dying.
Called to a life of self-denial, not self-deprecation. Those are different. One is sanctifying, the other is sanctimonious Faux humility. The result of us no longer dwelling on, or living for ourselves is not an extinguished life but eternal life. Life (abundant 10:10) that is inexhaustible. You’re not being called to a “less than” life but one of greater significance and fruitfulness. As the seed is buried and give a harvest us dying to ourselves means more of God in our lives AND a greater impact for others with Joy for us.
Go ahead and stay selfish but know it will run out and end. The more you try to control the more you’ll lose.
This will include times of disappointment and discouragement. How are you handling disappointment? This understanding of is necessary if we’re going to navigate daily life. When we begin stop focusing on ourselves sometimes that can be replaced with a hyper focus on others and how they are responding to us. We forget that life isn’t found in others, but in Jesus who loves and served us and calls us to serve others. We are called to follow Jesus not ride the waves of if we’re meeting everyone else’s expectations of us. Jesus says follow me, where is he going? There is this path Jesus is taking in the next week, of betrayal humiliation, crucifixion (selfless sacrifice) that leads to His death, for a purpose to be obedient to God in the service of others. We’re called to a life of taking up our cross daily (Putting to death, burying our desires, and selfishness for the greater good) But we can also expect more. Jesus path had resurrection/ascension where He’s glorified in the presence of the Father… That is where we go too! The death of ourselves isn’t the end of ourselves but the beginning of the life we were always intended to have With God in glory! So take heart, self-denial isn’t for an eternal sacrifice or a state of humiliation. We’ll I guess I am just made serve so I’ll just do this less than stuff and now I’m holy. No! We become followers of, servants of Jesus and we go and do where and what He’s called us too. To be obedient to God as Jesus has been in our place. The result of this is not humiliation but Honor!!! We are motivated not by great guilt but by a greater glory. That our best life isn’t now but is in the life to come. We all want and carve love, acceptance, and glory and honor. “if anyone serves me… you’ll be saved” no. You’ve been saved… you respond with service, and you’re promised honor.”
We can have great expectations of having our allegiance tied to Jesus leading us to the greatest Joy/Honor.
PART III | Expectations of a Judge |John 12:27-36
John 12:27-36 | 27 “Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour. 28 Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” 29 The crowd that stood there and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” 30 Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not mine. 31 Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out. 32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” 33 He said this to show by what kind of death he was going to die. 34 So the crowd answered him, “We have heard from the Law that the Christ remains forever. How can you say that the Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?” 35 So Jesus said to them, “The light is among you for a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you. The one who walks in the darkness does not know where he is going. 36 While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.”
Expectation of Sacrifice - Jesus purpose in his mission as a king is to be a savior of His people. He was sent sacrifice for us so we could live new eternal (others and God) Jesus obedience in perfect and whole hearted. It’s not “Ya sure?! It’s take me from what is going to happen? No, this is why I’m here! This sacrifice for your Glory! God the father speaks “I’ve been doing this and I will continue to be about by Glory”
Expectation of Clarity - Jesus didn’t need to hear this, he knows what’s up! We need this clarity to know and expect that God is going to be about His glory and that will lead to our Joy. But we can hear things clearly from God (I’m not talking supernaturally) just specifically and we’ll dismiss or minimize them. That was Just thunder… (nothing clearly said) That was Just an angel (yea, I heard it but it was less than God) God has spoken Cleary on our need for salvation for our sin (judgement) not for His sake but ours. He’s already clear, He knows we need clarity. Where has God been clear that you have minimized? God has clear expectations. Confession of sin (acknowledging we need salvation) faith in Jesus (who has dealt with our sin) and repentance (as we live new lives following Jesus from
Expectation of Judgement - We all know we need a king to save us, a leader to follow, but we don’t expect to receive judgement. We can expect God to have judged our sin accurately, we deserved death, and he takes our place. The judgement of God for or sin is sown in the cross. God sees our sin and selfishness significant enough to warrant death. (the wages of sin) We should all have an expectation of Judgement. What is greater than we can or should expect is that Jesus would take the consequences of our sin for us on the cross in our place. This is compelling, dare attractive as the Cross of Jesus (His work) will have the effect of drawing us to him!
Expectation of Eternity (Later - They crowd is confused and Jesus brings clarity. Is this the King we’ve waited for? Is this the final day where forever victory will be experienced? Yes it the king! But forever in victory is not now…. It’s coming but not yet… There is a king that will reign forever, We can and should have forever expectations like they do. Jesus saves us not by killing but by dying. Not by defeating everyone, but by taking defeat for everyone. We think defeat is a loss but it has actually secured our eternity. So we can have realistic expectations of God and life that everything is not going to be perfect yet but that we can expect challenges and difficulty.
Expectation of Urgency – Where are your expectation (or who) are your greatest expectations set on? If it’s yourself or this world you can only expect disappointment. What part of you need to be put to death so you can gain greater life? If you’re resisting/rejecting Jesus you can only expect judgement and wrath. If have faith in and follow Jesus you can have the expectation of mercy and grace as you’re moved from being lost in darkness to being found in the light. In Christ we gain light and become a family of light. When we Trust Jesus.