Summary: We, like John, often have expectations of Christ Jesus that are not totally in accord with his will for us.
Matthew 11:2 – 11 / Wait For Another?
Intro: Not long ago, Barbara and I ordered a set of footstools that we saw in a catalog. The description said they were a deep chocolate brown. The picture was of a rich, dark, chocolate, almost black color. We ordered them and anxiously waited for them to arrive. When the came, we opened the box and to our surprise, the chocolate brown we expected had turned into a lovely shade about the color of hot chocolate. They definitely were not what we expected!
I. Vs. 2 – “John heard in prison what Christ was doing . . . “ Knowing that you can’t always believe what you hear, John had doubts and questions.
A. Godly people have doubts. Even Jesus who prayed in the garden of Gethsemane, “IF IT IS YOUR WILL . . .” --- “All of life is a crap-shoot. You never know what you’re going to get until after you roll the dice.”
B. Have you ever tried to arrange the pieces of life you were given and no matter how hard you tried, nothing fit?!
C. Those are the Matthew 3:11 moments of life when we ask Christ Jesus, “are you the one. . .?” Aren’t you supposed to be on my side?
II. John preached that the “ax was at the root of the tree.” Judgment was at hand. John preached the “God is going to get you if you don’t change your evil ways” type of religion. People did need to change; but, Jesus approached that change with love, not fear!
A. In verses 4 & 5 Jesus uses scriptural references from the prophets to point out to John that perhaps he had the wrong expectations of Jesus. Jesus was the right person, John just expected things to be HIS WAY!
B. Sometimes we have unrealistic, romanticized ideas and expectations of life and others. --- “If I just pray a little harder, it will all turn out the way I want.”
C. Be careful what you ask God to do, because God just might do it. Often when God does act on our request we come back with, “But Lord, it’s not what I expected!”
III. God ALWAYS answers prayer. Sometimes God says, yes. Sometimes God says, no. And sometimes God says, you’ve got to be kidding! James 5: 7 – 10 BE PATIENT! We often think of Jesus or God as our “wish-grantor.”
A. When life gets tough, when we see innocent people suffer, the bad succeed while the good fail, when people’s lives are ruined because of drugs or alcoholism, when we choke on pollution and we seem destined for war, not peace, we can’t help but cry: “If you are the Christ, why this?
B. Faith in Christ is a risk. It is a life of trust, not certainty and security. God never promised answers to all our questions or a life without stress. God simply gives us Christ Jesus in whom we are to place our trust and hope.
C. Reading the minutes of the Session from previous years, a young pastor came across the following: “Elder Smith recommends we hire Mr. Johnson as our pastor. He had a background in music and a history of outstanding work with youth. Eighteen months later there was another entry. Elder Jones made the motion to fire Mr. Johnson because he spends too much time working with the kids in the church and it seems all we do is sing during the worship service. We need more preaching and someone to work with the older people.