February 23rd John chapter 12

Good morning again.  In today’s reading we see some more of the same reactions of the people who surrounded Jesus.  Sadly, we as people, do not change; even over the span of two-thousand years.

The crowd showed up once again, but not to follow the true Messiah, but instead to gawk over the risen Lazarus.    This is another picture of the people who are not really following Christ, they are instead simply in His presence.  These are looking for a meal, a show, or perhaps looking for something more that they can “get” from this Jesus.  There are a lot of people who will pursue what they can get from Jesus; but sadly, most will never realize, until the judgement, that Jesus has already given all.  The quest that we should now be on is that of “what can I give to Jesus.  We will look at two examples of this in the text today:

First there is the story of Mary who had anointed the feet of Jesus with a very expensive box of perfume.  The cost of this perfume would have equaled about a years pay (300 days pay).  Mary came to Jesus in humility wanting to worship Jesus (which Jesus later commends her for).  When we see the reaction to one of the twelve it seems unthinkable.  We read in the text that Judas was a thief, but I have to wonder if there was something else going on in the back of his mind.  Judas had been with Jesus for three years and was considered to be numbered with the twelve that would change the world with the Gospel.  I believe that there was also a bit of jealousy on his part, and perhaps in the minds of the others.  They had just been shown up by a woman who was not part of the inner circle and the Master had shown appreciation for her act of worship.  So many times we see today people in “the establishment” of a local church snub their nose at someone who has a true heart of worship.  We see jealousy and back biting against the ones who “get it.”  I imagine the thought is that of “Who is this Johnny come lately, messing up what we have going here?”  It is sad that there have been many who have come to truly worship the Messiah and have been turned away by the religious who believe that they have a monopoly on Jesus.

Secondly we see another thing (or at least we soon will in the following chapters).  This same crowd that has laid down branches and clothes before Jesus as He has arrived screaming “Hosanna in the highest” is the same group that in a matter of two weeks will be screaming “Crucify Him…His blood be on us and our children.”   The people had an idea of who they wanted their Messiah to be.  When Jesus did not fit their mold, they killed Him.  People want what Jesus has, but are unwilling to follow the plan and standard that He has set.  People want eternal life, but will not repent.  People want all of the promises, but want nothing to do with the conditions that go with those promises.

Jesus states a sentence that is so fitting for the crowds and us today.  I wonder how many picked it up.  “unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains alone.  But if it dies it produces much grain.”  Jesus was not only speaking of His physical death in this phrase.  He was also referring to true believers.   We see in Luke that Jesus states “If any man will come after Me he must first deny himself, take up his cross daily and follow Me.”   True disciples, have to die to themselves every day.  When our will is not crucified, His will cannot be accomplished.  Unless we repent from our sin and turn to His will we will not produce fruit.  Fruit bearing is the way that one knows if they are truly His.  John 15:5 (probably my theme verse in life) states  “If you abide in Me and I in you you will bear much fruit; for without me you can do nothing.

Friends, has your individual life been given up in order to draw others to Him?  There were many who followed Jesus around; but there were few who followed Jesus.

 

Pastor Steve

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