Friday 1 April 2022


JOHN 12 v 1-8 

This Chapter brings the talks of Jesus to the end, in future only his private conversations will be mentioned in the gospel of John.  It also has a story of love and devotion to the Lord..

Jesus is at the home of Martha, Mary and Lazarus, having been called by Martha and Mary following the death of their brother Lazarus.  Jesus attended with his Apostles, and raised Lazarus to life, after he had been in the grave for four days.

The time was drawing near the end for Jesus. He knew the authorities were waiting for an opportunity to kill him, yet he was on his way to Jerusalem for the Passover festival, so stayed at the home in Bethany, which he was most fond of.

Martha was as usual looking after the house and preparing dinner,  she was a practical woman who gave her best, and she showed her love for Jesus by her busy hands, and was committed to follow him.

The proof of the miracle of Jesus in raising Lazarus from the grave, is at the table, where he is seen eating and drinking; no longer can it be said this was just an optical illusion . This preceded the raising of Jesus which would take place a short time later, when the Apostles would find him by the lake cooking fish for them to join him.

This story is also a story of much love and devotion. Mary was the one above all who loved Jesus, she took the one precious thing she owned and gave it to him. 

 Jesus had helped Mary and she never ceased to be grateful, loving him with utter devotion, On his visit to  their home, she produced a precious bottle of perfumed ointment which she took and anointed the head and feet of Jesus, not randomly but with personal care. We are told there was a pound of ointment, which would mean a large jar.  Pure nard was imported from India, and kept in an alabaster jar.

The house became filled the perfume, administered with full loving gratitude by a woman whose heart was filled with admiration of her friend and Lord, and for all his attention.

A great preacher once stated, while faith makes all things possible, love makes all things easy.  Fellowships in Churches may be happier if there was even just a little of the commitment of Mary.

Mary showed she thought that nothing was too great or too good to bestow on such a Savior, at whose feet she had sat in past  days, hearing words that had given her peace for her conscience, and forgiveness for her sins.  Her brother Lazarus was also in the room, and she would show added gratitude for what Jesus did for him- much ad been given and much given in return.

Mary released her braided hair, something Jewish women would never do in public, and with her hair wiped the feet of Jesus. There were people present who thought she had gone too far, and wasted money which could have been given to the poor by selling the ointment, which would have been almost equal to a year’s wages instead of placing it over Jesus.  She wasn’t concerned what people thought of her.

We are told the room was filled with the perfume of the ointment, it meant the lovely deed created many memories. Love stories are world stories immortalized.

There have been writers whose minds were obviously perverse, who have sought to suggest  a sexual relationship between Jesus and Mary. Such writers are those who can never understand, even at the present time, that it is perfectly normal for a man and woman to be friends, who enjoy the company of each other ,without a need for any sexuality to occur.  We are normal human beings created in the image of God, and we respect God’s teaching.

The extent of love’s giving is shown by the cost of giving. Love does not think how little do I need to spend when giving a present for someone dear to them, but how much will be enough to show one’s feelings. Love is not love id it counts the cost. Love is willing to give all, and how often do we reflect it wasn’t enough.

How much do we men think of the love of our wives and mothers must have, in the way they do so much without grudge or complaint. In the majority, freely because of their love for us, which is not always reciprocated.

One of the prominent objectors was Judas, who had been an Apostle, who by his action showed how little he thought of Jesus. He displayed his character, but Jesus knew of the traitor, and had given him a chance to redeem himself. Jesus had let him be the treasurer for he had a gift in handling money, but he became a thief and pilfered from the funds.

Judas saw the loveliness of Mary, but saw it as an act of extravagance. A person can see what they want to see, and hope to see.

There is still a mass of people who do not believe in the resurrection of Jesus,  and a previous Archbishop of Wales was once quoted as saying, we cannot expect people to believe in the resurrection story.

In 1984, an unbelieving cleric was to be consecrated as a bishop at York Minster, without the approval of many evangelical Christians because of his extreme liberal views, and especially after mocking the resurrection story as being like a bag of tricks.

The Minster at that time had just gone under a refurbishment with new fire sprinklers and fire protection system. After the service had ended there was  a lightning storm, without being accompanied with rain in the city of York, and serious damage was caused to the Minster with the popular rose window being blown out.  The cause was investigated by a collection of meteorologists who were in possession of meteorological maps, which, showed the sky above the Minster was the only place across the Yorkshire county where lightning was revealed. They unanimously concluded it was an act of God, yet the then Archbishop of York rejected that decision as being ridiculous.  I wonder often how such clergy can even be in the Church.

In an age of unbelief we shall continue to find doubt, although that should not be within the Church, but eminent lawyers have stated the evidence for the physical resurrection of Jesus Christ was so strong, that any modern Court would have no difficulty in finding the case proved. The rising of our Lord is there for our faith to accept, all the Lord’s true followers will also be raised, as he has promised.

There are professing Christians today who are ready to fail to display sufficient respect for Jesus, they have other things they allow to take precedence.  If you tell of the need to spread the gospel, you will find little if any response. There are many Church members who will not even disclose they attend Church lest they be frowned upon.

We hold what are called (falsely) services of baptism on demand for babies and children, without the parents having any belief, yet no one seems to think that necessary. We then let them make vows they have not the slightest attention of keeping, and we know so. They then put coppers on a collection plate as a payment.

Those who have much to say about the failing of the Church doing things for the poor, are those who do nothing themselves, and fail to recognize it is usually mostly Christians are who are helping the poor.

A day will come when those who have done things for others, whether a bottle of perfumed ointment or anything else, will have their names recorded in he heavenly books and will be well rewarded

We lastly see the bitter hardness in the hearts of men.  The Chief priests wanted in their unbelief, to put Lazarus back to death again after his  rising. They could bear to see him alive giving proof after being in a grave for four days, which they could not accept and were ready to commit murder.  Jesus marveled at such unbelief, and the refusal, to accept proof by the presence of Lazarus.

The bitterness of Judas has been shown in every age, and will continue to be shown. Judas lived with Jesus and fellow Apostles, saw the miraculous deeds of Jesus, his ready compassion to all, the teaching of Jesus personally, and all he could offer in return was a bitter heart and betrayal.  We still see the hard heartedness of people, who reject all Jesus suffered on the Cross on their behalf, by a cruel death.

In life there are things we can do at any time, and there are things we can never do.  So often we mean to do them, but put off doing so and they then never get done.  Later a time comes when it is too late to do them, and we are full of regret.  Judas who spoke of giving to the poor, could have done so himself, but in fact was a thief.  People will always be poor, but won’t always have Jesus.

In all the way of life, we should pause and ask are we doing all we should do for the faith, for the Church, for God; are we doing all we could for our husbands wives and families, for it will be too late if they die before us, and you will bitterly regret your omissions.

Let this passage inspire you in your faith, and to be true to all those for whom you have love.  Make sure no one is waiting in vain to hear from you.

Let all who claim to have faith thank God with all our hearts, even if we feel a sense of weakness.  Pray for your faith to be true and genuine , sincere and not just a temporary impression.

Especially pray you will not be touched by the way of the world, or the words of false preachers.  Think instead of the words of the Apostle Paul, ‘if you are feeling strong, mind you don’t fall’.

May God bless his Holy Word to us. May we always seek to glorify him.


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