Within John 12:1-11 abides a microcosm of the spectrum of human response to Jesus Christ. As we examine each type of response we must ask ourselves which one represents me?
1Then, six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was who had been dead, whom He had raised from the dead. 2There they made Him a supper; and Martha served, but Lazarus was one of those who sat at the table with Him. 3Then Mary took a pound of very costly oil of spikenard, anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil. 4But one of His disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, who would betray Him, said, 5”Why was this fragrant oil not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” 6This he said, not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and had the money box; and he used to take what was put in it. 7But Jesus said, “Let her alone she has kept this for the day of My burial. 8For the poor you have with you always, but Me you do not have always”. 9Now a great many of the Jews knew that He was there; and they came, not for Jesus’ sake only, but that they might also see Lazarus, whom He had raised from the dead. 10But the chief priests plotted to put Lazarus to death also, 11because on account of him many of the Jews went away and believed in Jesus. John 12:1-11
Mary with selfless abandon poured out her love upon her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ by anointing His feet with costly spikenard and drying His feet with her hair. Her devotion was pure and profound. She gave no thought to her surroundings or the audience around her, her act of devoted love was for an audience of One. Her heart belonged to Jesus; given the opportunity she spent many wonderful moments at His feet learning from Him. She did this act of worship in response to what she knew was coming. She believed what He said and knew that He would soon die. She was preparing His body for burial. We are told in the gospels of Matthew and Mark that she also anointed His head. She loved Him so much and was unashamed to humbly worship Him bowing at His feet with holy adoration. Are we like Mary? Do we love Jesus more than any other? Are we willing to unabashedly express our devotion for Him and to Him regardless of how others view us? Do we constantly resort to His Word the Bible so that we can learn from Him? Lord God Almighty may we please have unquenchable devotion for you.
38Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. 39And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus feet and heard His word. 40But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.” 41And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. 42But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:38-42
1Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. 2It was that Mary who anointed the Lord with fragrant oil and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick. 3Therefore the sisters sent to Him, saying, “Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick.” 4When Jesus heard that, He said, “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” 5Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. John 11:1-5
Jesus Christ had a special relationship with Lazarus, and his sisters, Mary and Martha. The Scriptures tell us that Jesus was welcomed by them and that He loved them. He revealed Himself to them through the death and resurrection of Lazarus. He turned a trial of great sorrow into a triumph of His mercy, grace, love and power, showing those He loved in an unmistakable way His authority over all. When Jesus called Lazarus from the grave He revealed His signature as the Lord over all creation. Death has no power over our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ or over those who belong to Him by faith. He has His beloved in His grasp for time and for eternity and no one or anything can snatch them out of His hand. Are we like Lazarus, Mary and Martha held firm in the grasp of our loving Savior and Lord Jesus Christ? Have we welcomed Him into our lives as the only Lord of glory, sent by the Father for the redemption of His called out ones? Have we responded to the gospel call of turning from sin and turning to Him by believing what God has told us about His Son Jesus Christ in the Bible? Lord may You bring about the transformation of sinners to saints as they believe in Your wonderful Son Jesus Christ and the gospel of salvation; that Jesus died on the cross for our sins, according to the Scriptures, was buried and rose again the third day according to the Scriptures. As You have said, all who call upon the Name of the Lord will be saved.
When Jesus Christ raised Lazarus from the dead He gave great witness to His power over death. Many who witnessed Christ calling for Lazarus to come forth believed in Him. The Jews who were there to support Martha and Mary during their grief were witness to the power and glory of Jesus Christ when He raised Lazarus from the dead.
17So when Jesus came, He found that he had already been in the tomb four days. 18Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles away. 19And many of the Jews had joined the women around Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother. 20Now Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met Him, but Mary was sitting in the house.21 Now Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. 22But even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You.” 23Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” 24Martha said to Him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” 25Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. 26 And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” 27 She said to Him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”….32Then, when Mary came where Jesus was, and saw Him, she fell down at His feet, saying to Him, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.” 33Therefore, when Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her weeping, He groaned in spirit and was troubled. 34And He said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to Him, “Lord, come and see.” 35Jesus wept. 36Then the Jews said, “See how He loved him!” 37And some of them said, “Could not this Man, who opened the eyes of the blind, also have kept this man from dying?” 38Then Jesus, again groaning in Himself, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. 39Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of him who was dead, said to Him, “Lord, by this time there is a stench, for he has been dead four days.” 40Jesus said to her, “Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?” 41Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying. And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. 42And I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing by I said this, that they may believe that You sent Me.” 43Now when He has said these things, He cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth!” 44And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with grave clothes, and His face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Loose him, and let him go.” 45Then many of the Jews who had come to Mary, and had seen the things that Jesus did, believed in Him. 46But some of them went away to the Pharisees and told them the things Jesus did. John 11:17-27 & 32-46
This miracle of raising a man who was four days in the grave to life brought many to believe in Jesus Christ. Additionally, as word spread other Jews came to see for themselves Lazarus raised from the dead and also believed in Jesus Christ because of this mighty miracle He performed when He spoke and Lazarus obeyed and came back to life and exited the cave that had been his grave. Have we placed our faith in Jesus Christ through believing the testimony of the Scriptures regarding God’s Son? Have we responded to people being transformed by the power of Jesus Christ by believing in Him? Has our faith in our Lord and Savior strengthened as we have learned of His mighty miracles recorded for us in the Bible? Have we believed the testimony that Jesus Christ gives us eternal life? Lord Jesus Christ You are Lord over all creation and the Savior of the world. Who has the power to save and give eternal life, but You alone? You are able to do exceedingly more than we can ask or think, may we glorify You as we believe You and obey.
Jesus’ disciples were with Him at the supper given for Him at Simon’s house. These men who had followed Him and stayed true to Him during His trials here on earth were strengthened in their faith. That was why Jesus delayed in getting to Bethany on Lazarus’ behalf.
11These thing He said, and after that He said to them, ”Our friend Lazarus sleeps, but I go that I may wake him up.” 12Then His disciples said, “Lord, if he sleeps he will get well.” 13However, Jesus spoke of his death, but they thought that He was speaking about taking rest in sleep. 14Then Jesus said to them plainly, “Lazarus is dead. 15And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, that you may believe. Nevertheless let us go to him.” John 11:11-15
Everything that Jesus did was for His Father’s glory, to bear witness to the truth and for the blessing of His disciples. Despite outward appearances, His plan was for the testimony of the truth to the glory of the Father and the benefit of His chosen ones. He still works for these purposes. Are we like the disciples relying on Jesus Christ to strengthen our faith during the many incomprehensible experiences in our lives? Do we believe that everything works together for good for us as His chosen ones? Heavenly Father please help us to trust You even when what is happening in our lives doesn’t seem to make sense and is exceedingly distressful.
28And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. 29For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Romans 8:28-29
But among the disciples was one who couldn’t benefit from the many mighty proofs that God had given about His Son Jesus Christ, Judas Iscariot. He was an unbeliever, confirmed in his apostasy. He didn’t love Jesus; he was in it for the money. He appeared to be one of the disciples, so that he fooled them, but inwardly Judas cared only about lining his pockets. The Lord allowed him the position he coveted so he would be confirmed in his treasonous faithlessness. In all three accounts of Mary’s devotion, it is recorded that Judas complained. He even led others of the disciples to also speak against this waste. The difference is they did it in sincerity, caring for the poor, he did it hypocritically caring about the loss of stolen revenue. How despicable that Judas could betray the Lord of glory for a few measly coins. What a wretched and deceived apostate. He is the example of any and all who attach themselves to Jesus Christ for worldly gain. Are we following the Lord for worldly gain? Are we like Judas ones who have every appearance as a true disciple and can betray our Lord with a kiss? Are we apostates who have rejected the truth and believed the lie? Do we love power, prestige and possessions all the while feigning loyalty to our Lord? Dear Lord Jesus deliver us from the deceitfulness of worldly gain, may we gladly lay aside all in our allegiance to You. If we are betraying you through adherence to falsehood deliver us from the lie by the power of Your truth.
Even though every miracle our Lord performed was incontestable, the religious establishment refused to believe and instead hated Jesus Christ with a virulent hatred. Jesus reproved them because of their wickedness, and rather than repent and believe in Him, they detested Him. They tried many times to trap Him so they could either discredit Him or have a reason to turn Him over to the Roman authorities, but they always failed because Jesus knew their hearts and their wicked schemes.
46But some of them went away to the Pharisees and told them the things Jesus did. 47Then the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered a council and said, “What shall we do? For this Man works many signs. 48If we let Him alone like this, everyone will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.” 49And one of them, Caiaphas, being high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all, 50nor do you consider that it is expedient for us that one man should die for the people, and not that the whole nation perish. 51Now this he did not say on his own authority, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, 52and not for that nation only, but also that He would gather together in one the children of God who were scattered abroad. 53Then, from that day on, they plotted to put Him to death. John 11:46-53
We know from the Scriptures they succeeded in their evil plot to kill Jesus. We know that Judas aided them in their murderous scheme. We also know from Scripture that this was the will of God, and what they meant for evil God used to bring about the greatest act of deliverance and salvation the world has ever known. Jesus Christ crucified is our hope of glory! Jesus Christ risen is our guarantee of eternal life! However, many religious people hate the Biblical Christ and reject Who He is and what He, Jesus Christ, has done for us. Do we believe the biblical message of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ? Do we know that we have sinned against a holy God and are desperately in need of the salvation that is offered to us through His Son’s death and resurrection? Do we believe that eternal life is the gift given to those who place faith in Jesus Christ, but eternal damnation awaits all who reject God’s Son and do not obey His gospel? Lord Jesus Christ thank you for that greatest act of love ever performed when You died upon the cross for my sins and rose again from the dead for my justification. Lord Jesus Christ, thank you that I am reconciled to God through You being the propitiation for my sins. I praise you and love you Lord Jesus Christ. Thank you Father for the gift of eternal life through faith in Your Son!
In that amazing passage of Scripture we see the gamut of human response to Jesus Christ the Son of God. So the question is where do you recognize yourself? Which one are you? Ask the Lord to reveal your heart to yourself so you can either rejoice or repent. There is a final group not represented in that passage, but scurrying about in that historic day, the hordes of humanity who never even gave nor today give Jesus Christ a single thought. May we who have proven to love the Lord Jesus Christ reach out to them with the truth of the gospel and trust God for their salvation.
30And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in the book; 31but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name. John 20:30-31