Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him.
There’s nothing that goes to your heart quite like a story, and that’s what we have here in John 12. Passover is quickly approaching, and the population of Jerusalem has swelled from fifty thousand to two hundred fifty thousand. The scene opens with Jesus two miles away in Bethany where a party is being hosted in his honor.
Picture the scene: Martha, true to form, is playing the role of host as she floats around the room serving food and making everyone feel welcome. Mary’s there too. Sitting at Jesus’ feet listening, living by every word coming from his mouth (Deut 8:3; John 6:48).
Lazarus and the other guests are reclining on the floor around a low table. Warm voices join together in tones that reflect the joy lighting within their hearts. This is, after all, a celebration! A month ago, their eyes had burned with the grief that only those who suffered loss know. And then, this Jesus had brought their friend, their brother back from beyond the veil of death.
No mere man could do that! It led them to conclude that Jesus really was who he claimed to be: “the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world” (John 11:27). Belief had awakened in their hearts: the true King was on the move to reclaim territory long held by sin and death. If ever there was a reason to throw a party, this was it!
The Big Question:
John’s telling of this story is meant to evoke a response in us. Will we join in the party? Will we stake our hope, our lives, our futures fully on Jesus? Will this lead us to raise glad hearts and glasses in worship of him even in the presence of the great enemies and afflictions we experience in this life (Psalm 23:5-7)? How will you join the celebration this week? Will you joyfully prepare a meal as an act of worship like Martha? Will you listen and live by his words to you this week like Mary?
– Ask the Lord, “God, what are we going to do today?” “Who do You want me to reach out to?”
– Ask the Lord to give you a word of hope and life, to know the word that sustains the weary. (Isaiah.50:4)
– Pray He reveals Himself in a very special way to those hurting, those in need. Ask Him to bring to your mind people you can pray for and reach out to (i.e. send a text, call or write a letter to).
– Pray you remember Him all throughout the day. As you wash your hands throughout the day and your hands come together you can say quick prayers to the Lord. For example, “Let me experience your love right now, Lord” or “I love You Lord” or “Overwhelm me with Your love”
Lord, I praise You for my own salvation. My heart is reminded of the reality that I was once far from You and separated from You, but You came and revealed Yourself to me. My eyes were opened and I received You, Jesus, into my heart as Lord and Savior. I am Yours forever and ever! You have found a place in my heart to dwell by Your Spirit. I am secure in You and my name is written on the palm of Your Hand. You tell me that the boundary lines have fallen on me in pleasant places and I have a good inheritance, because that inheritance is YOU LORD! Thank You for making Your home inside of my heart. I confess that You are my delight. You are my reward. You are my all in all and I set my gaze upon You. Remind me throughout the day that my citizenship is in heaven. Help me to remember that goodness and mercy are following me all the days of my life and I will dwell in Your house forever. Oh God, set my heart and mind on You and things above. Lead me by Your Spirit into Your truth today. When my heart starts to wander, Shepherd me back to You. I ask in the Name of Jesus Christ, amen.