Have you ever been disappointed by Jesus? You’re probably saying to yourself right now, “What!? Of course not!” But if we’re truly being honest, wouldn’t the answer be yes? Maybe it’s something that you’ve really wanted or deserved that you didn’t receive. Perhaps you’ve been in a situation that wasn’t resolved to your expectations. Whatever the reason, if you’ve ever felt the sting of disappointment you are not alone.
Disappointment is the feeling shared by the Jewish people during the triumphantly entry into Jerusalem by Jesus. At first the people are overjoyed at the arrival of the Lord. We are told that some began spreading their coats in the road while others cut branches of palm. However this joy was short lived, and the people who in Matt. 21:9 are shouting, “Hosanna, ( which means “save us” or “praise to You”), to the Son of David; blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest!”, are the same ones we find shouting, “Crucify Him!”, just a short time later.
How could the Jewish people who have been delivered time and again by God, be disappointed by the appearance of their promised Redeemer and Savior, Jesus Christ? To understand, we must first appreciate what the Jews were facing at the time. In 63 BC Roman legions under the leadership of the ruler Pompey the Great had put an end to an independent Jewish state. Jerusalem was conquered and the king disposed. Israel labored under the oppressive yoke of Roman rule. They yearned for their Deliverer who would restore the throne of David and establish God’s Kingdom throughout the land. So imagine their joy and anticipation of their promised King riding into the Holy City on a conquering steed; ready to slay the enemy and establish His rule by force. Just like in the movies where the good guy comes riding in to save the day. How glorious it would be! Now imagine their disappointment when that didn’t happened.
Oh Jesus did in fact enter Jerusalem as a conqueror. Just not the conqueror they expected. Up until this time He had been instructing people to tell no one about Him. But now He was deliberately and openly claiming to be the promised Messiah and king of Israel. He was entering fully knowing what pain, torture, and ridicule was waiting for Him there. He was entering willing to lay down His own life, sinless and blameless as He was, to conquer death and provide eternal life for all through His work on the Cross. He was entering as the King of kings.
But instead of entering on a royal mount with an army behind Him, Jesus rode in on a donkey. Not even a mule, which Jewish kings like David rode, but a lowly beast of burden. And He didn’t come swinging a mighty sword. He came humbly and bringing peace. And by doing so, He was fulfilling the prophecy of Zechariah 9:9-10 which foretold, “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold your king is coming to you; He is just and endowed with salvation, humble, and mounted on a donkey.” Unfortunately what the people of Israel failed to realize was, the Kingdom of God that Jesus taught and preached about was not an earthly kingdom, but the rule of God in the hearts of people who know and serve Him. This wasn’t the kingdom that the people wanted. And in their disappointment, they rejected Jesus as their Lord.
Jesus doesn’t always meet our expectations. He doesn’t promise a life free from suffering, nor does He promise to give us what we want. What He does promise is to be our shelter in the worst of storms, and to provide what we need. How do you handle the disappointments life throws your way? Do you trust in Jesus, His infinite wisdom, and His love for you? Or like the crowds in Jerusalem, do you reject Him turning away in bitterness and anger? Philippians 4:19 reminds us, “My God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Jesus Christ.” Be confident that when you are following Him in obedience, He can and will meet every need you have. And when you look back on those disappointments, don’t be surprised to find that they are in fact blessings that ended up being far greater than you could have ever expected!