Let’s face it: Christ did not meet people’s expectation. He was supposed to be the savior of Israel. He was supposed to be the king of the world.  Yet, he was born in an obscure city, to obscure parents, and led a very obscure life until he entered his thirties. When things finally began to move forward, it did not go the way it was supposed to. At least, it did not go the way people thought it was supposed to go. Though protested by others, he was baptized by someone else (John 3:14-15). He was rejected in his own home town (Matthew 13:57). I mean, who can blame them. “Oh, that’s just Jesus. I changed his diapers. Now he thinks he is something special? He puts on his pants one leg at a time just like the rest of us.” He chose a gang of rough fishermen and nobodies to be his main followers. Others probably snickered, “That is the best he can get!” He was rejected by the religious establishment of the day. The aristocrats wanted nothing to do with him.

Every time he got his foot in the door, he would pull it back out. Upon performing many miracles, he had people take notice. “Maybe there is something to this Jesus. Maybe he is the one. Maybe he is the king who will provide for this nation.” Then he would turn around and tell them something crazy like “eat my flesh and drink my blood” (John 6:56) and scare them off. Then, to top it all off, he had to go and die. No, actually there is more. He had to go and die on a piece of wood. “Accursed is anyone who hangs on a tree!” (Deut 21:23). Christ was the king of not meeting people’s expectation. He was the king of bringing about experiences that confuse us.

Are you confused by Christ? Are you confused by God? Are his actions not meeting up to your expectations? The cry in the first century that sent Christ to the cross was “We will not have this man to rule over us.” Translation: “He does not meet our expectations.” We often cry the same. I often cry the same. When we discover who Christ really is—who God really is—we often change the station in search for a new hope, one that lives up to our expectations. When the disease kills our child, when the bills are unpaid, when work is hard to come by, and when the depression will not go away, we often quietly say, “I will not have this man to rule over me.”

This is the situation the Apostles faced when all others were turning away from Christ:

John 6:66-67
As a result of this [i.e. when Christ failed to meet their expectations] many of His disciples withdrew and were not walking with Him anymore. So Jesus said to the twelve, “You do not want to go away also, do you?”

Their answer:

“Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life. We have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God. (v. 69)

Honest answer. It is not as if they were not just as confused as the rest. In fact, the Apostles had the same unmet expectations. They were also a bit bewildered. However, their answer is one of utter dependance and transparency: “We don’t have any other better option. As confusing as you are too us, we don’t have anywhere else to turn. You are God. We will do our best to adjust our expectations”.

God will often fail to live up to our expectations. The question is: Where else are we going to go?

C Michael Patton
C Michael Patton

C. Michael Patton is the primary contributor to the Parchment and Pen/Credo Blog. He has been in ministry for nearly twenty years as a pastor, author, speaker, and blogger. Find him on Patreon Th.M. Dallas Theological Seminary (2001), president of Credo House Ministries and Credo Courses, author of Now that I'm a Christian (Crossway, 2014) Increase My Faith (Credo House, 2011), and The Theology Program (Reclaiming the Mind Ministries, 2001-2006), host of Theology Unplugged, and primary blogger here at Parchment and Pen. But, most importantly, husband to a beautiful wife and father to four awesome children. Michael is available for speaking engagements. Join his Patreon and support his ministry

    3 replies to "Jesus: King of Unmet Expectations"

    • Steve Martin

      Our Lord truly is found in the opposites of where we humans would normally think to find Him.

      On a cross.

      In a word.

      In taste of bread and sip of wine.

      In a bowl of water.

      No wonder the faith is not all that popular.

    • cherylu


      Sounds like you were reading an e mail conversation I had with a friend this morning!

      It seems like there have been a large amount of unmet expectations in my immediate “world” in the last years. They can be truly discouraging after a while.

      But as you say, there is certainly no place else to go. Thanks for this reminder. I would guess that there are probably a lot of folks out there besides me that needed it today too.

    • Leslie Jebaraj

      Thanks, Michael, for another needed reminder. Sometimes I get very discouraged, due to my current crisis, as you know. The pressure is unbearable at times, and I give in to despair. But, as David did, I strengthen myself in the Lord. After all, he’s truly the only one I got!

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