So from that time on, the Jewish leaders began to plot Jesus’ death. As a result, Jesus stopped his public ministry among the people and left Jerusalem. He went to a place near the wilderness, to the village of Ephraim, and stayed there with his disciples. It was now almost time for the Jewish Passover celebration, and many people from all over the country arrived in Jerusalem several days early so they could go through the purification ceremony before Passover began. They kept looking for Jesus, but as they stood around in the Temple, they said to each other, “What do you think? He won’t come for Passover, will he?” Meanwhile, the leading priests and Pharisees had publicly ordered that anyone seeing Jesus must report it immediately so they could arrest him. (John 11:53-57)
Read: Ezekiel 20:1 – 22:16
Relate: There is this big event I used to go to religiously that took place in the city of Syracuse, New York every Easter weekend. I say religiously almost tongue in cheek since the event was a gathering of students from all over the state to meet together for services, worship, and all kinds of fun times in between. Since the statute of limitations has passed I’ll mention that those fun times did include such things as floor to floor water fights (apologies, hotel managers, for the damage we inflicted on your property), getting tied up in elevators, stink bombs, and lots of other reckless activities that tend to happen when you are one of those students and later pray does not happen when you are one of the leaders. Either way, great times were had by all.
Even when I was younger, far more important than those fun shenanigans were those services that would be held. The times of prayer that would happen at that altar after each message is indescribable. I was called to the ministry at one of those altars. It was there that I was first called to go to the Bible college I went to my freshman year. It was there that I first used many of the spiritual gifts found in 1 Corinthians 12. God did some amazing things at those Youth Conventions both in me and through me. The best part about it, every year I knew that this was going to happen. Up until the beginning of eighth grade I lived right there in Syracuse and more than once I remember getting to the convention center early as things were still being set up and relishing in the anticipation. What was God going to do this year?
React: That type of expectation I’ve felt a few other times in a few other places as well but it was to this Youth Convention that my mind returned as I was reading John 11:53-57. Some of the Jews arrived early to Jerusalem for that year’s Passover. There was an air of anticipation. There was an attitude of expectation. Some were eager for what was going to happen. Others were desperate to try and prevent it. What was Jesus going to do this time? What would He say?
As great as the expectation was, God was going to blow it away. As big as they hype for the coming Passover was, they were about to be front row spectators to the inaugural Easter. The pivotal event on which our world turns was just over a week away. They were expecting great things, and God was going to give them far beyond what they could ever hope and dream. The means, the event, by which the world was to be saved was just days away.
God, You are my hope. Help me to live in a spirit of expectation. I know I can’t always live at such a high emotional state as can be found at special times and events, but You can at any time do amazing things. Often I wonder if You are simply waiting for someone who is waiting for You. Help me to wake every morning with the thought, “What is God going to do today?” Help me to hope and dream and plan and truly expect greater things from You because I know, You always blow those expectations away. You have so much more than I could ever dream.