Expectation is the anticipation of something, looking forward to something. We all have them. But as we contemplate Palm Sunday, what are your expectations of God? What are your expectations of Jesus Christ? Of the Kingdom of God? Where may these expectations be leading you? To help answer these questions, we are going back to the book of Zechariah. Many commentators believe that Zechariah 9-14 were composed after Zerubbabel had rebuilt the temple. But this temple paled in comparison to the glory that was Solomon's temple. And so God, through Zechariah is giving them hope - filling the people with great expectations of their coming King.
What are the characteristics of this coming King? He wouldn't come in military might and ride a huge warhorse. Instead he would be righteous and victorious, but humble and riding on a donkey. He would bring peace - the chariots and warhorses would be taken away, the battle bow broken. The prisoners would be freed from the pit and instead they would become "prisoners of hope" for God would restore them.
Aren't these great and hopeful expectations? The history of the nation of Israel is a story of continuing conflict. And through all the political turmoil, the Jewish people had these words of hope from the prophets. There would be a coming King who would bring peace, righteousness and salvation.
If this passage from Zechariah sounds familiar, it should! Jesus re-enacted this very passage as he entered Jerusalem (Matthew 21:1-10). Can you imagine the expectation the people felt when they heard about all that Jesus was doing? For more than two years, Jesus had been performing miracles and signs, making allusions that He was the Messiah, the coming King.
When Jesus enters Jerusalem riding on a donkey, the crowd goes wild. They have great expectations that Jesus is the King who has come to rescue them from Roman oppression and restore the nation to its former glory. But as we know, just a few short days later, their King is hanging on a cross.
As the crowd sees Jesus captive and beaten, they come to the conclusion that he isn't their king after all. How could their Messiah allow Himself to be treated like this? They cry out for his crucifixion. They expected their Messiah to come in power. They did not expect that their Messiah would conquer through weakness.
This Palm Sunday, what are your expectations of Jesus Christ? Are your expectations based on your own personal desires of what you expect Him to do for you? Or do you have no expectations at all because you can take handle things on your own? Or do you have true biblical expectations of your Lord and Savior?
May the palm branches that we wave on Palm Sunday symbolize the victory that Christ won for us through the weakness of the cross. That day the people also threw the palm branches on the ground before Jesus as a royal carpet. Can we symbolically throw our false and selfish expectations before Jesus and surrender them? Can we hold high instead the true biblical expectation of Christ the coming King?