Exceeds Expectations

John 11:32-44, Lectionary

Rev. Christopher Harbin

01 November 2015

We don't always get what we want. We are very good at coming up with lists of things we want. The society in which we live is driven by just that mechanism. Someone wants something, and someone else determines how to provide it. We consume, we desire, we establish expectations for ourselves and others. When it comes to what we expect of others, however, we are often at a loss. We don't know how to calculate correctly what another person can, will, or should accomplish. More often than not we find ourselves disappointed in others. Perhaps, however, the problem lies with our own expectations, and how they miss the mark.

In every area of life, we create expectations for others. We have expectations for family members, coworkers, supervisors, employees, doctors, lawyers, pastors, teachers, administrators, nurses, and garbage collectors. The same happened for Jesus' friends and disciples. He was constantly forcing them to revise their expectations, both for him and what he expected of them.

Today's passage highlights one more event in Jesus' ministry in which Jesus' followers could not understand what they should be expecting of Jesus. They were disappointed, to say the least. They were anxious, disappointed, and uncertain what to expect. Nothing they had believed Jesus would do came to pass. He just did not live up to their expectations. Even so, they continued to follow him. They were still confident that he had something better for them, though they failed to understand what it was.

Several days before, Jesus had received news that his good friend Lazarus was ill. The message had come with a plea that Jesus arrive to heal him. Jesus had delayed traveling to Bethany, where Lazarus lived with his sisters, Mary and Martha. When he did decide to journey to Bethany, the disciples were anxious, as Jesus had been threatened with death the last time he had been in the region. Thomas was one of those who were sure it was a fool's errand, but called on the others to follow along to die with Jesus....

...for the full text of this sermon, see Exceeds Expectations, at SermonSearch.com

—2015 Christopher B. Harbin

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