When Jesus came to Earth over 2,000 years ago, people had different expectations of him — if, indeed, he was who he said he was, the Messiah.
I believe most people of his time wanted him to become a king who would bring deliverance from the oppressive Romans. They expected him to prove who he was by healing the sick, freeing the demon-possessed and even raising the dead.
Their expectations had everything to do with what was in it for their comfort and benefit, not necessarily what was good for humanity in general.
Jesus’ main reason for coming was to set people free from spiritual bondage, so they could live for others and make a difference in the world around them. Following him would involve persecution, rejection and possibly death for standing up for what’s right.
Things have not changed in people’s expectations of Jesus in today’s world. They are willing to follow him if it makes their life comfortable, successful and prosperous. They will welcome a message promising healing, forgiveness, prosperity and eternal life, but reject the idea of following a savior who demands a disciplined life and a willingness to suffer and be humiliated, hated, ridiculed and even killed for their faith. The Scripture teaches us this truth in 2 Timothy 3:12: “In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.”
Following Jesus still is the best life on this Earth, even considering the cost required. He gives us peace, fulfillment and a purpose, and we can be filled with his spirit that produces love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. We can experience freedom from the power of sin, which can keep us in bondage. And the Apostle Paul reminds us that “our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”
There are those who understand who Jesus is and are willing to follow him at all cost and will one day sit with him in his future kingdom. The truth is that it is not the ones who end up with the most toys who win, but those who choose to follow Christ.