Pastor Larson’s Corner: Not what was expected

Pastor Larsons Corner

When it comes to World Cup cross-country ski racing, you never expect to see American skiers on the winner’s podium. That changed this winter when Jessie Diggins took the silver medal in the World Championship 10 kilometer free style race. Because of this performance and several other good showings this winter, the skiing world has been forced to change their expectations when it comes to American cross-country skiers.

Jesus’s disciples had a similar experience as followers of the prophet from Galilee. Very early on in Jesus’s ministry, His disciples had to completely change their expectations of what He would do and what they would be asked to do. Even though Jesus taught his disciples from the very beginning that He would have to suffer, His journey to the cross still seemed to come as complete surprise.

We are all familiar with how the disciples abandoned Jesus as He journeyed to the cross. It simply had never occurred to them that salvation and life could come into the world through humiliation and death. I am sure the disciples said to each other more than once, “This is certainly not what we expected.”

As we journey to the cross this Lenten season we have the advantage of knowing exactly what happened. We know that Jesus suffered and died so that we might live. We know that His sufferings had a great and wonderful purpose: salvation and life for all people. We also have the advantage of knowing about the place of suffering in our own lives. As Jesus calls us to follow Him, we know that He calls us to bear His cross in the world. Our expectations are clear. We know what to expect when it comes to living for Christ in the world. It is as clear as the words from Jesus himself, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”

Pastor Larson’s Corner is written by Jerry Larson and appears weekly in the Norwegian American Weekly.

Pastor Jerry Larson retired to his cabin in Zimmerman, Minn., after 39 years in parish ministry for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. In 2011 he published a book entitled “Speaking the Word Freely: Writing with purpose, preaching with power.” Contact him at

This article originally appeared in the March 27, 2015, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly.

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The Norwegian American

The Norwegian American is North America's oldest and only Norwegian newspaper, published since May 17, 1889.