Lenten Prayer Devotional #1

Matthew 21:1-11 – The Triumphal Entry

The season of Lent is a time of preparation. Through prayer and sometimes fasting, Christians would examine themselves and focus their hearts on the coming celebration of Jesus’ resurrection from the grace and victory over sin and death. However, to get to that victory, Jesus first endures the cross and offers Himself as a sacrifice for human sin. Thus, this season is often a time of mixed emotions — gratitude for the victory won and sorrow for the cost paid.

Before all of that, the Gospels tell us about Jesus’ coming to Jerusalem, often called the Triumphal Entry. Here we see the followers of Jesus and the people of Jerusalem celebrating the coming victory of Jesus. They saw in Him the expected Messiah, the one sent by God to bring deliverance and rescue! Yet within the week, they would witness the death of Jesus at the hands of the Romans and the Jewish leaders. How could they have gotten it so wrong?

The challenge for them and for us is that they held expectations for God, but God had something better in store. They expected an earthly king and rescue from Roman occupation. God was sending them the divine King of kings and rescuing from sin and death. They expected a golden age for their nation, but God was launching His mission that would save the world.

When we hold too tightly to our expectations, we can be blinded to what God is really doing in our lives. Maybe what you perceive as a failure (because of your expectations for success) is really part of God’s larger plan to grow you into the image of His Son. 

Reflect: Where might your expectations be standing between you and what God is actually doing?

Pray: Ask God for wisdom to understand the world through the lens of His Kingdom and not through the lens of our expectations. 

Commit: Dedicate yourself to letting go of your expectations and doing things God’s way.