by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions
1 Peter 5:8-10 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.
The Jewish leaders of His time rejected Yeshua (Jesus) when He first came. He didn't meet their expectations. They were expecting a Messiah who would bring relief from the Romans, restore the Kingdom of David, and usher in an era of tranquility throughout the world. It is probable that their intense jealousy of Yeshua blinded them to the numerous passages in the Tenach (OT) which describe Messiah as a suffering servant, since they were certainly aware of those passages.
The Scriptures present two pictures of Messiah, leaving bible interpreters with a dilemma to explain. Zechariah 9:9 portrays him riding a donkey into Jerusalem, lowly and humble; Daniel 7:13 refers to the Messiah as coming on the clouds of heaven. Some of the rabbis concluded there must be two Messiahs – Mashiach ben Yosef – the Suffering Servant, and Mashiach ben David – the conquering king, bringing judgment to the wicked, restoring the Temple and the Kingdom to Israel. The truth is, one Messiah, two advents.
When Yeshua (Jesus) failed to fulfill the Jewish expectation of restoring the Kingdom of David, he was dismissed as Messiah. Their own lack of humility, their jealously and self centered pride caused them to miss what should have been obvious from the scriptures, that Messiah had to come first to identify with us, and then through suffering and death, break the power of sin, before he could restore the Davidic Kingdom.
Is it possible for our expectations to be likewise colored or even contaminated by sin? We ought not to avoid the question. If our hearts are set in a self centered expectation of victory that fails to apprehend the suffering to which WE too are called, we can make the same mistake the rabbis made, and end up rejecting the true Messiah. While it's true that our ultimate victory is assured, we can never forget that the journey to that victory is a narrow path fraught with all the dangers of real warfare, with deadly enemies.
Check your expectations…what are they based upon? Are there selfish or carnal motives in your expectations of God? If Yeshua said following him would be a narrow path with a cross on your back, then don't presume your victories until they have passed through the purifying fires of suffering. This is simply true fellowship with Him, and leads to the greatest glorious joys and triumphs.