Day 37 (April 2), John 12:12-26

John 12:12-26

Context:  On the next day after the Sabbath and anointing, Jesus chooses to ride into Jerusalem triumphantly.  We call it Palm Sunday because of the palm (and other leafy) branches people waved while they sang antiphonal psalms and greeted their Messiah King.  Look at the map below and you will see the proximity of Bethphage (Bethany) to Jerusalem; try to picture the winding road that takes someone toward Jerusalem, down the Kidron Valley and up to the Temple Mount.  The crowd that witnessed the miracle of Lazarus’ resurrection followed Jesus along the path, and they were joined by swelling crowds that came out of Jerusalem to meet Jesus on the way.  Some Greeks try to get to Jesus through Philip and Jesus redirects them to deeper truths about dying to our own lives that we might truly live.

Observations:   Why do you think the Jewish leaders were vexed?  Note the prophecy from Zechariah that John quotes (and the people cried out).  What does this tell you about Jesus?  How would most human (and triumphant) rulers have entered Jerusalem at this time?  Why was the raising of Lazarus such a tipping point?  The leaders were so incensed they made plans to put Lazarus to death as well, so the miracle of resurrection didn’t keep Lazarus from all danger.

Application:  Sing, shout, speak, write, proclaim the praises of Jesus Christ, our King, Priest and Messiah, today.  In person, conversation or on social media … find a way to proclaim His glory and attributes. 

Prayer:  Lord, help us to seek the glory that is from the One and Only more than the glory that comes only from men.  ‘How can you believe if we only seek men’s glory?,’ you ask.  God, we cry out to you to take these circumstances of health risk, isolation, lost jobs and cancelled activities and turn them into something good for all of us.  Change my heart so I/we/Evergreen can ‘see’ the good in all this and act in faith through it.

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Day 36 (April 1), John 12:1-11

John 12:1-11

Context:  Jesus returns to Bethany, the village of Martha, Mary and Lazarus.  On the Sabbath before the Passover of Passion Week, he attends a meal at the home of Simon the Leper (for a similar version of the same story see Matthew 26:6-13).  It is Mary herself who anoints Jesus with pure nard, (almost a year’s wages!!) and wipes his feet with her hair in preparation and honor of his burial.  Judas, the treasurer, is indignant, feigning that that his motivation is to give it to the poor.  In reality, it’s so he could take some of it for himself since he would steal from the treasury.  Jesus’ response is poignant and thought-provoking, ‘The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me.’

Observations:   Why did Mary anoint Jesus in addition to his burial preparation?  Why would Jesus eat in the home of Simon the Leper?  And why would Jesus allow Judas to be his treasurer knowing that Judas would, at times, steal from that treasury?  Do you think Jesus is dispassionate about the poor?  If not, what message is he trying to help us hear?

Application:  First, do something that is costly today to worship Jesus (it doesn’t have to be a year’s wages, but it could be!).  Is it your time, your pride, your self-comfort or something else that is hard for you to ‘give up’ and ‘pour on Jesus’? 

Prayer:  Ask Jesus to show you the answer to the application exhortation above.  And allow the Holy Spirit to wrestle with you if you don’t see it/sense it right away.  When you’ve yielded, broken up the soil of your heart and heard God’s voice on the matter, do it and follow-through.  Feel free to tell someone, too!  Note how Mary’s actions, though personal and private, were still seen by others as a form of worship.

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