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.
- 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.
- 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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