Tuesday, December 1, 2015

How is Jesus Living Up to Your Expectations?

By Allen White

When Jesus had finished these parables, he moved on from there. Coming to his hometown, he began teaching the people in their synagogue, and they were amazed. “Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?” they asked. “Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? Aren’t all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?” And they took offense at him.

But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town and in his own home.” And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith. Matthew 13:53-58

My parents are still part of a church they joined in 1969. The folks in this church have known me since I was four-years-old. Dear saints like Alvin Andres, Lillian Reese, Ona Mae Price and so many others poured themselves into my life over the years.
They’ve seen me at my best and at my worst. They know I have a long way to go in reflecting Christ more clearly.

In my teenage years, I sang in the church choir and performed quite a few solos. When the old timers ask my parents about me, they always ask, “Does he still sing?” Well, my singing is mostly limited to the shower at this point in my life. But, in their minds I’m 15 years old and still possess an awesome tenor range. How things have changed?

Over the years, God has given me the opportunity to work with some of the largest and most influential churches in the country. God has given me the ability and experience to size up a church’s small groups, create an action plan, and set them in the right course within as little as 30 days. My parents’ church asks if I still sing solos.

But, it’s not just them. On my parents’ last visit, they mentioned a little guy who was a few years behind me in Sunday School. They told me he had just got married. I honestly thought, “They let 12-year-olds marry now?” Well, he’s 40, but the last time I saw him, he was 12.

A certain image of Jesus was stuck in the minds of his friends and family back home. He was the carpenter’s son. They knew his whole family. They knew where he had come from. The neighbors had a hard time accepting Jesus for who He was. Their concept of Jesus was stuck in their previous experience. The same thing can happen to us.

Jesus didn’t perform many miracles at home, because of their lack of faith. They didn’t see Him as the Son of God. He was Joseph and Mary’s son. They didn’t see Him as the Messiah. After all, He was a carpenter. They didn’t see Him as the Firstborn of all Creation (Colossians 1:15-20). He was Joseph’s firstborn.

How do you see Jesus? Is He a grace-giver or a law-enforcer in your life? Is He the baby in the manger? Is He the sacrifice for your sins? Is He closer than a brother or off in Heaven somewhere? Does He care about your days? Do you see Him as a Source of help in trouble? Does He give you freedom or does He limit you?

How you see Jesus limits what He can do in your life. If something bad happens and you believe Jesus has let you down, how is He supposed to work in your life? If something takes a turn and you see it as an opportunity to trust Jesus more deeply and even see a miracle, then something will definitely happen.

Do you believe when you’re happy Jesus loves you? But, when you’re unhappy Jesus has left you? When things are going well, do you think of Jesus at all?

Jesus can meet and even exceed your expectations of Him. If you expect little, you will get little. If you expect great things, you will see great things. How is Jesus living up to your expectations?

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