If Jesus Couldn’t, Why Do We Think We Can?

Expectations have much to do with our contentment.  Those who place unrealistic expectations upon themselves are generally discouraged, and feel as though they are a failure.  I’m convinced that if people had proper expectations, they would not be so soon moved to discouragement, depression, and despair.  An obvious step to “reeling in” our expectations is to understand the fact that “if Jesus couldn’t do something, we need to stop believing we can.


  • Jesus couldn’t make his own family believe that he was the Son of God (John 7:1-6), so why then do we beat ourselves up for sometimes failing to do the same?
  • Jesus couldn’t avoid sadness and sorrow (Isaiah 53:5), so why do we sometimes act as though we expect life to be a bed of roses?
  • Jesus couldn’t go without rest (Mark 6:31), so why do we feel guilty if we aren’t on the go 24/7?
  • Jesus couldn’t avoid making enemies (John 15:18), so why are we so surprised when people hate us for our faith?
  • Jesus couldn’t cause all men to repent (Matthew 23:37), so let’s be content with our best efforts.  We can’t obey for others.
  • Jesus couldn’t even forgive all men of their sins  though he was willing (John 8:24; Luke 17:3), so why do we think we can forgive those who will not repent?

Maybe the first step to contentment is in shedding the guilt that comes from the unrealistic expectations we place upon ourselves.  After all, if Jesus couldn’t do it, why do we think we can?

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Comments 6

  • Excellent thoughts, Steve. Thank you.

  • Very good thought, it’s encouraging and stress relieving. Thanks Steve!

  • Jesus could but chose not to…. we are limited in our building the we do our best.

  • Well Jim, I’ll go half way with you on this one. There are some things that Jesus could have done if he wouldn’t have created humans with free will. But in a world where there is free will, not only did Jesus not do, he “couldn’t” do several of the things listed. Further, Jesus “couldn’t” forgive those who refuse to repent. Such would be a contradiction with his nature, and Jesus “cannot” do that which denies or contradicts his nature. For your consideration.

  • Paul said we should learn to mind our own business. 1 Thessalonians 4:11 It is not my business to make other people do right. When I don’t try to do what I can’t or am not supposed to do, it makes my work easier. Thank you for stating it well.

  • Jerry, you’re a walking “sentence sermon.” The very idea for this article came from a statement I heard you make several years ago. I keep a little notebook with me, and write down tid bits here and there to develop at a later time. It took several years, but I was reviewing some of my notes in that notebook the other day, and I saw that statement. Thanks for your insights!

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