Connecting People to Jesus



“What’d Ya Expect?”


Prayer:  Almighty God, You are the God of wonders who has loved us with a love no human mind could have imagined or thought to have hoped for.  Bless us in Your Word that it may have its way in our hearts.  In Jesus name, amen.



Scripture: Luke 1:18-20

18 And Zechariah said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.” 19 And the angel answered him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I was sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. 20 And behold, you will be silent and unable to speak until the day that these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time.”


Devotional – “What’d Ya Expect?”

Expectations are powerful.  Our expectations of an anticipated experience often have a bigger impact on us than the experience itself.  If our expectations are exaggerated we will likely be disappointed even if there was nothing specifically disappointing about our experience.  If our expectations are lacking, we risk making exaggerated implications about an experience we have.

Looking back in Scripture on the story of Christmas, we read time and again of how God’s plan of salvation defied the expectations of everyone who was anticipating and waiting for the long-awaited Messiah.  In general, the Jewish people were expecting a royal conqueror and mighty king who would restore them to a powerful earthly kingdom.  Instead, God sent His only Son to be born as a helpless baby, and born in the most depraved conditions and who was forced to be on the run for His life as newborn in order to escape the murderous tyranny of a wicked King Herod.

Herod would have never expected a baby to threaten his powerful rule.  As we read in our text from Luke 1, Zechariah the priest never would have expected that he and his well-aged wife would have conceived and given birth to John the Baptist who would prepare the way for the Lord who would be born to a virgin.

Those who ultimately received the joy and peace of God’s free gift of salvation in the Christ child were the ones who allowed God to transform their minds and redefine their expectations.  Those who made up their own minds about who the Messiah should be and who tried to make God’s will and grace susceptible to their own expectations and desires, were deprived of experiencing the wonder of Christmas and the assurance of salvation by grace through faith alone.

Even, and especially, as Christians who believe the Bible to be the inspired Word of God, we must be ever mindful of our expectations.  Staying in God’s Word and being reminded of how He has always worked outside of human expectation for the sake of saving a lost humanity is how we ensure our expectations of God’s work in our life are appropriate.  In our sinfulness and selfishness, we all by nature want God to work according to our expectations.  We want a faith we can fully understand, a faith we can see, a clear answer to prayer that benefits us as we think we need – and when the answer comes and is not in line with our sinful expectations, or when an answer doesn’t come according to our timeline, then we think something is wrong.  Maybe God is not happy with us, maybe we just aren’t spiritual enough, or maybe God isn’t listening.

Nothing could be farther from the truth.  God’s grace is perfect and all-sufficient for everything we could ever need and for what our hearts and minds truly desire.  As it says in Philippians 4:19-20, “And my God will fully supply your every need according to his glorious riches in the Messiah Jesus.”  It is never God’s faithfulness or character or perfect love that is lacking.  It is always our expectations that are lacking.  Our expectations that either do not in line up with the Word of God or that expect too little from the God of everlasting love and compassion who sent His Son to be born in order that He would die in our place and rise to make us the children of God by faith in Jesus.

Jesus Christ promises a new life of hope and joy, peace, blessing, satisfaction and fulfillment – all of which God wants to give us and offers to us every day.  However, if our expectations insist that God come to us and bless us only in the ways we feel we want or need or only according to the desires of our flesh, then we miss altogether the perfect gifts of God.  It is important that we work to ensure our expectations don’t hinder our walk with God.  At the same time, it is equally important to ensure we always remember and celebrate all the good things we can expect from God; and He has promised us many wonderful things.

We can expect a Lord who is always with us, always available and who understands more than we ever will the struggles and hardships of this life: what it means to be afraid, what it means to be tempted, and what it means to hurt.  Most importantly, we can expect to receive God’s faithful love, forgiveness, and gracious provision of our needs in unexpected ways because, contrary to what even His own disciples expected, our Lord Jesus has overcome the world and has conquered sin, death, and the Devil by rising from the dead.

God bless you all, and remember, that God has forgiven yesterday, is with you today and has already taken care of tomorrow.  Amen.