When God Doesn’t Show Up As You’d Expected

And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!”


Each of the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) tell the story of Jesus’ triumphant arrival into Jerusalem. You’ve likely heard it, maybe at a Palm Sunday service, with kids waving palm branches through the aisles of a church.

“Hosanna!” they shout. It sounds like a fun word to chant, even better to sing. But what does it mean?

To the crowds welcoming Jesus into Jerusalem, “Hosanna” was a Hebrew word meaning “Save Us, We Pray.”

Save us.

But from what were they wanting to be saved?

In hindsight, it’s easy to assume they knew what we know now: That Jesus had come to make atonement for their sins. That Jesus was walking into Jerusalem, only to be walking out days later – scorned, and carrying his own cross.

But they didn’t know that. They didn’t even want that.

In reality, they expected something much different. Their “Hosannas” were a shout for salvation, not of the spiritual kind, but of the political kind.

This Jesus was their promised Messiah, here to conquer Rome. This Jesus was their new king, a temporary salvation from worldly woes.

But Jesus didn’t deliver these things. And when he didn’t, those “Hosannas” turned to shouts of “Crucify Him!”

“We’ve been deceived, they thought. This man is a fraud.”

“He really is just a carpenter’s son from Nazareth. How dare he humiliate us! How dare he claim to be King!”

“He has no power. Just look at him now.”

How often do we set expectations of God? How often do we hope and pray for Him to resolve temporary, worldly things?

And how quick are we to question Him when He doesn’t show up in the way we had expected?

Thank God He didn’t deliver in the way those crowds desired.

Thank God He showed up, triumphant over DEATH, not just Rome.

Friends, we serve an Almighty God. Boundless Creator. All-Powerful Savior. Let’s pray for Him to do big things. Let’s trust that His plans are far greater than anything we can perceive. And let’s acknowledge the humility of being bound by space of time. May He bring Glory to His name.

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