Friday, April 19, 2019

2019.04.19 Hopewell @Home ▫ John 12:1-11

Questions for Littles: How many days before Passover does chapter 12 begin (John 12:1)? Where did Jesus come? Who lived there? What had Jesus done for him? What did they make for Jesus (John 12:2)? Who sat at the table with Him? What did Mary use to anoint Jesus’s feet (John 12:3)? How did she wipe them? What filled the house? What was Judas one of (John 12:4)? What was he going to do? How much did he think they could get for the oil (John 12:5)? What did he say could be done with the money? But why did he really want more money in the money box (John 12:6)? What did Jesus say she was keeping and using the oil for (John 12:7)? Whom did Jesus say they would have with them always (John 12:8)? Whom did He say that they would not always have? How many Jews knew that Jesus was there and came (John 12:9)? Whom else did they come to see? What did who plot in John 12:10? Why (John 12:11)?
In the Gospel reading this week, Jesus gets ready to be buried. That sounds like an odd way to start this devotional—in part, because Jesus isn’t dead yet. Ordinarily, someone dies before they begin to embalm Him.

However, Jesus’s death was no ordinary death. He just finished, a couple of chapters ago, saying, “Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father” (John 10:17-18).

So, Judas is plotting to betray Jesus. And the chief priests are plotting to kill Jesus. But Jesus Himself is plotting to die, and this is the means by which He is going to do it. And here He has come to be prepared for that—both by the perfume of Mary and by the praise of the Jews here in Bethany, which praise will be a part of getting the ball rolling.

Here is God Himself, who has become a Man, to lay His life down for us. Our being created in His image is the very reason that part of godliness is to care for the poor—to declare by our heart and behavior that the important thing about a man is the image of God.

Of course, there are selfish reasons to care for the poor. Like Judas, who couldn’t care less about them or even about Jesus Himself—but “charity” was pretty profitable for him. There are still people like that. And we ourselves are tempted to exercise charity just for that good feeling it gives us, or perhaps to appear good to others.

We have quite the capacity for self-deception… how dull-witted do you have to be to plan to kill the guy who just rose from the dead? So, what is a good way to gauge whether we do even “good deeds” from false motives? Well, the passage sets one before us: are we eager to give Jesus the best. The best of our time. The best of our thoughts. The best of our efforts. The best of our love. And yes, even the best of our money.

Of course, the good news is that even though our motives will never be pure on this side of glory, Christ’s motives were! And it is His motives that are counted for us as if they were ours, when we believe in Him. For, believers know that it was because our sin was counted as if it was His when He died for us. Hallelujah!
What has Jesus done for you? How does this make you feel toward Him? What’s the most precious thing that you have? How can it be used to serve Christ?
Suggested songs: ARP98 “O Sing a New Song” or TPH341 “Alas! and Did My Savior Bleed”

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