Expectation, Part 1

Every year, when Palm Sunday rolls around, I climb behind the eyes of those who welcomed Jesus to Jerusalem. They become more than just characters for me. I try to imagine their excitement, their struggles…

Their Expectations.

Photo Credit: Joseph De Luca
Photo Credit: Joseph De Luca

“He needs some cleaning up,” says the Politician to the Pharisee. “A little guidance. David was a shepherd boy before he came to court.”

“I don’t know,” complains the Pharisee. “He needs to make peace with the high priests and elders.”

The crowd swells toward the city gate. While others in the city proper are curious to know what the fuss is about, some know just who is coming up the way. And just who He ought to be.

Prophet was the descriptor given Jesus on his entrance to Jerusalem, but Messiah had floated around, too. And I can’t help but imagine that there were old power brokers and young politicians in the city itching to get ahold of Jesus, to make him over and turn him into what a Messiah ought to be.

Here he came, riding on an ass rather than a white stallion. Here he came, lowly and humble, without war rhetoric or an army of angels. As the week dragged on, they quickly discovered that Jesus was not and would not become what they expected him to be.

When a new leader enters your midst, how do you react? Do you cite policies and rules, cramming her into your own neat little package?


  • Limit Potential: What if there’s a better way to do what you do? As you’re going over new solutions with a new leader or team member, what would happen if you shot him down with a policy or rule every time a new idea cropped up? When you’re changing the game, the rules have to change, too.
  • Lend to Disappointment: Remember Christmas Eve? You’re anticipating tomorrow, which is good. The excitement is unbearable! But when your Expectations about a certain-shaped package were wrong…well, that might just ruin the whole morning.
  • Are Dangerous: It’s humorous for me to think of what was going through those community leaders’ minds when Jesus came through the crowd on the colt of an ass. But what happened over the next week left little room for laughter. I doubt you or your team will literally crucify someone, but Expectation can destroy relationships.

Often, we seek to force new leaders or new coworkers into the same package the Pharisees and Sadducees were trying to force Jesus into. It’s called “Expectation”. It sounds good to have high expectations, right? Examine your heart when you set them.

How do you walk the fine line of expecting excellence and expecting people to toe the line? How do you keep from making the same mistake with Expectation as the Pharisees and Sadducees?

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