October 2, 2016
I can just picture it! A room full of people who are hit with the powerful, wonderful fragrance of perfume. Not only did the smell ignite their senses, but I see Mary on her knees, washing Jesus’ feet with her hair and the perfume. A powerful image in my mind. I see her humility. I see her recognition that Jesus is soon to die. I see her true colors of love and dedication. I also see the true colors of Judas Iscariot (vv. 4-6). A great reminder to me today to realize that some people are deceivers and full of greed, no matter their position in society.
Reading through John 12, I also notice a little passage that has big implications for one particular family. Lazarus, who was recently raised from the dead, is now a wanted man. Wanted, not dead or alive, but simply dead. The chief priests want him dead due to the following Jesus is gaining because of his return from the grave. I can only assume that Lazarus wasn’t too worried about the threats against his life. J
The events of Jesus’ final week begin to unfold in v.12 with a common Palm Sunday text where the crowds took the palm branches and shouted, “Hosanna.” Hosanna literally means, “Save.” Indeed, the crowd was shouting a proper word. They just didn’t understand the reality of the salvation Jesus was bringing. A salvation from sin, death and the power of the devil, not a nationalistic restoration from the Roman Empire.
Then Jesus predicts His death with some powerful words that connect how He, the Son of Man will be glorified, and this glory is then connected to His death. Glory and Death? This is so foreign to our culture. We see glory with great status in society, wealth and fame, power and control. But Jesus’ way is not our way. God the Father knows that true glory comes from laying down one’s life for someone else to be rescued. This is the plan of salvation. Following the will of the Father perfectly brings Jesus glory.
This chapter ends with another recognition that some of the Jews would not believe. They couldn’t. Doesn’t seem right, does it? But God’s Will is what matters most here. This fulfilled what Isaiah prophesied about (vv. 38-41). This aspect of faith being a gift, and God being in control of who receives His gift, has brought many conversations and even frustrations among well-meaning Christians. If God wants all people to be saved, then why are some kept from believing? Here, in this text, we see the need for the Jews to rise up against Jesus so that He indeed would be taken to the cross. It’s all about the cross and getting Jesus there. If all the Jews came to faith before the crucifixion, one may wonder, “Who would have brought charges against Jesus?” Once again, we see God working out His will above all things.
PRAYER: Heavenly Father, I thank You for opening my eyes to see the glory of Your Son, Jesus, found at the cross. Through His death, I have life. Through His suffering, I have forgiveness. Through His resurrection, I have heaven. I’m humbled and grateful and ask You to sustain me to live for You always. May I be a little light in someone’s darkness here in this world. Amen.