Fill in the blank.
If God was good, He would ____________.
If God was all powerful, He would ____________.
If God was for me, He would ____________.
What came to mind?
If God was good, He would save my marriage.
If God was all powerful, He would bring about world peace and end injustice.
If God was for me, He would give me a positive pregnancy test, a consistent income, good health, and favor with my boss.
These are the types of things we expect, right? We all have ideas of how Jesus would act and what Jesus can do for us, but repeatedly, we see in the Bible how Jesus did the exact opposite of what people—especially the crowd—anticipated.
For instance, Jesus’ own brothers tried to persuade Him to make an appearance in Jerusalem, make a public spectacle of Himself, gain approval from the masses, and in turn, become famous. “You can’t become famous if you hide like this! If you can do such wonderful things, show yourself to the world!” But Jesus wasn’t after human praise.
Then later at the festival, Jesus brought up their belief that, if He was really God, He wouldn’t have healed a man on the Sabbath. But He debunked this wrong assumption by exposing their own hypocritical hearts; they’d allow circumcision to deal with one part of the body, but somehow, healing the whole body is out of the question?
As the crowd began to murmur to one another, we pick up on yet another presumption. If Jesus really was the Messiah, they determined we wouldn’t know where He was born; He would simply appear, and we would have no idea where He came from. The irony? They didn’t know where He came from—they were talking about Galilee; He was talking about heaven.
Whatever expectations or presuppositions we have for Jesus, may we realize the reality that He cannot be put into a box. Jesus’ methods cannot be broken down into a formula. And how we anticipate Him working on our behalf is probably not how He’ll actually work on our behalf—for He can do far more than all we ask or imagine.
- What expectations are you waiting for Jesus to fulfill in your life?
- Meditate further on Ephesians 3:20—“Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us.” How has God surpassed your expectations in the past?
Jesus and His Brothers
1 After this, Jesus traveled around Galilee. He wanted to stay out of Judea, where the Jewish leaders were plotting his death. 2 But soon it was time for the Jewish Festival of Shelters, 3 and Jesus’ brothers said to him, “Leave here and go to Judea, where your followers can see your miracles! 4 You can’t become famous if you hide like this! If you can do such wonderful things, show yourself to the world!” 5 For even his brothers didn’t believe in him.
6 Jesus replied, “Now is not the right time for me to go, but you can go anytime. 7 The world can’t hate you, but it does hate me because I accuse it of doing evil. 8 You go on. I’m not going to this festival, because my time has not yet come.” 9 After saying these things, Jesus remained in Galilee.
Jesus Teaches Openly at the Temple
10 But after his brothers left for the festival, Jesus also went, though secretly, staying out of public view. 11 The Jewish leaders tried to find him at the festival and kept asking if anyone had seen him. 12 There was a lot of grumbling about him among the crowds. Some argued, “He’s a good man,” but others said, “He’s nothing but a fraud who deceives the people.” 13 But no one had the courage to speak favorably about him in public, for they were afraid of getting in trouble with the Jewish leaders.
14 Then, midway through the festival, Jesus went up to the Temple and began to teach. 15 The people were surprised when they heard him. “How does he know so much when he hasn’t been trained?” they asked.
16 So Jesus told them, “My message is not my own; it comes from God who sent me. 17 Anyone who wants to do the will of God will know whether my teaching is from God or is merely my own. 18 Those who speak for themselves want glory only for themselves, but a person who seeks to honor the one who sent him speaks truth, not lies. 19 Moses gave you the law, but none of you obeys it! In fact, you are trying to kill me.”
20 The crowd replied, “You’re demon possessed! Who’s trying to kill you?”
21 Jesus replied, “I did one miracle on the Sabbath, and you were amazed. 22 But you work on the Sabbath, too, when you obey Moses’ law of circumcision. (Actually, this tradition of circumcision began with the patriarchs, long before the law of Moses.) 23 For if the correct time for circumcising your son falls on the Sabbath, you go ahead and do it so as not to break the law of Moses. So why should you be angry with me for healing a man on the Sabbath? 24 Look beneath the surface so you can judge correctly.”
Is Jesus the Messiah?
25 Some of the people who lived in Jerusalem started to ask each other, “Isn’t this the man they are trying to kill? 26 But here he is, speaking in public, and they say nothing to him. Could our leaders possibly believe that he is the Messiah? 27 But how could he be? For we know where this man comes from. When the Messiah comes, he will simply appear; no one will know where he comes from.”
28 While Jesus was teaching in the Temple, he called out, “Yes, you know me, and you know where I come from. But I’m not here on my own. The one who sent me is true, and you don’t know him. 29 But I know him because I come from him, and he sent me to you.” 30 Then the leaders tried to arrest him; but no one laid a hand on him, because his time had not yet come.
31 Many among the crowds at the Temple believed in him. “After all,” they said, “would you expect the Messiah to do more miraculous signs than this man has done?”