Have you ever been in a situation where people did not live up to the hopes and expectations you had for them? If so, you can probably understand why John the Baptist was confused in this coming Sunday’s gospel.
Uncertain, scary times can shake us and cause us to have doubts about our faith. John the Baptist is a good example. When we like John, are moved by the Holy Sprit, we vow to follow God. When we receive blessings, we are sure that Jesus is our Savior. When we face tragedies and disasters, we perhaps may question our faith. We question why these things happen. There are times when we are so wrapped up in our suffering that sometimes we can’t see, or feel God’s presence.
John clearly shows us what happens to his and our narrow expectations. Christ came for him but he came in a way that John did not expect. We will find reconciliation and peace if we can see beyond our expectations and look for new places where Jesus is working.
One could say, Jesus did not live up to the expectations of the people. He blessed the poor in spirit, the meek and peacemakers. He called on his people not to judge others. These teachings were contrary to the actions the people expected because of John’s fire and brimstone preaching.
Jesus came to help those in need, those who don’t have anyone else to help them. He didn’t come to destroy but to restore and offer a second chance. In other words, he came for us. We are the ones who need help in our everyday lives.
Jesus did preach repentance, but he offered mercy and healing, to those who have accepted him as Savior by faith. In return, we are to continue his ministry of healing and teaching.
We all have doubts at times. We wonder why God allows suffering or why He doesn’t answer or prayers. We must remember things happen in God’s time not in ours. He cares about our doubts and problems, but he cares more about us.
Jesus asks us to stretch our understanding of who the Messiah is. He does not promise a life without pain, but he does promise that he will walk with us and that we will be alright in the end.
Advent is a time of expectation, a time of waiting for the coming of our Savior. He comes among us in His Word and through the Holy Spirit. He stirs us up and gets us involved in His ministry among those who are neglected by our society. That is his expectation for us, and it is also the world’s expectation for us as Christians, so it should be our expectation as well. It is up to us to meet those expectations.