Lift Him Up

So the crowd answered him, “We have heard from the Law that the Christ remains forever. How can you say that the Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?” — John 12:34

The "Son of Man" is a title Jesus has used to refer to himself many times up to this point in the Gospel (John 3:14; 8:28; 12:23). It has Messianic connotations rooted in Old Testament prophecies, many found in the book of Daniel. The "Son of Man" is a figure who will claim everlasting dominion and a kingdom that will never be destroyed (Daniel 7:13-14). So, by using this title, Jesus was making a profound statement about who he was and what he was going to do.

But we see here that the crowd is conflicted with Jesus's proclamation. They understood the Law to imply that the Messiah would establish himself and remain forever. So they are perplexed when Jesus says that the "Son of Man must be lifted up." Thus their preconceived notions do not align with Jesus's teaching.

Jesus did stuff like this all the time. He frequently challenged conventional expectations, including the one they had about the Messiah. Jews anticipated an earthly king who would liberate them from Roman oppression and establish a new kingdom. Instead, Jesus was a Messiah who was sentenced by their High Council and killed by way of Roman officials. So when Jesus spoke about being "lifted up," it messed with their heads and left them a bit confused.

But when Jesus and his teachings don't align with our expectations, it's always our expectations that need to be addressed. Because there is never any inconsistency in Jesus's teachings, actions, attributes, or promises. Jesus is consistent even when it is inconsistent with our expectations.

In my life, I often find myself clinging to misguided expectations about who I want Jesus to be and how I expect him to work in my life. And then, when he isn't who I want him to be, or he doesn't work the way I want, I'm let down. And I am let down because I have lifted up the wrong idea and expectations about him and his work, and then I become confused and disappointed. But I am not being let down by Jesus. I am being let down by my expectations about Jesus. Which is wrong of me to do.

So the lesson is this — lift up Jesus, who was lifted up for you, and you won't be let down.


  1. How often do you find yourself holding expectations about who Jesus should be and how he should work in your life? Reflect on any specific instances where your expectations may have caused disappointment or confusion.
  2. What steps can you take to align your expectations with the true nature of Jesus? How can you cultivate a mindset of surrender and acceptance, allowing Jesus to reveal himself to you as he truly is?

DO THIS: Align your expectations about Jesus to Jesus.

PRAY THIS: God, I just wanted to say thanks for being patient with me when I get caught up in my own expectations. Help me to let go of those false ideas and simply embrace you for who you are. Amen!

PLAY THIS: Open Up The Heavens.

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Read through the Bible daily with Vince Miller.

4 thoughts on “Lift Him Up

  1. gonzalo correa says:

    Just getting back to the devo

    I believe our expectations specifically towards the Jesus is not understanding the various traits of His nature and what He was here on earth doing (done now) at that time, doing now, and what He is going to do still. When I find myself in this situation I go to this list from a book I read…

    Servant, not lord it over, example, humble, as a child, as the younger, least, last, no force, no blind ambition, no reputation, human, obedient, death… along with that fact that he took all the wrath I deserve on the cross, He did all that my soul will live forever with Him, the physical will pass, etc.

    I can give Him glory and in spite of the circumstance I accept and even rejoice no matter what is going on.

    Praise You Lord Jesus.

  2. Marty says:

    When I think of unmet expectations, John the Baptist comes to mind.
    He witnessed the Holy Spirit descending on Jesus at his baptism, and yet while in prison later, has to ask, “are you the one?” I can give myself a bit of grace when I consider his question.

  3. Eddie Ackerman says:

    I struggled with nicotine addiction from high school all the way until 11 years after high school. I would quit for 1, 2, 3, even up to 6 months at a time and was not able to kick the habit. I think, at the time I was struggling with all of this, that I believed Jesus would just take away the desire/want/craving for cigarettes, but I never prayed about it or fully surrendered the desire/want/craving to Him. This was probably the only time I can think of that Jesus “let me down”, but it was mostly because I was treating Him like a genie. I wish I didn’t have this craving/want/desire anymore mentality and hoping it would just magically, poof, be gone from my life. Praise be to God that I am now tobacco free for 10 years, but there are still lingering physical affects from the years I was inhaling poison into my body, so thank You God for also reminding me that every consequence has an action, good or bad.

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