Monday, August 6, 2007

In Search Of Truth, John Chapter 12

Bible_light_2The Gospel Of John, Chapter 12

Don't forget to read this chapter youself before looking at our thoughts!

This chapter concludes John's account of the public ministry of Jesus.

Lazarus' sister, Mary, displayed incredible love for Jesus. Imagine spending what you earn in one year on a jar of perfume, and then pouring it all out on someone's dirty, dust-covered feet. Then imagine using your hair to clean up the mixture of dirt and perfume!

Mary didn't care about what others would think of her, she didn't care about the mess she would be getting in her hair and she didn't care about the immense financial cost of this act. She recognized the priceless nature of having Jesus right there with her, and wanted to express that love to him.

Although not his true motives, Judas makes an interesting point. Why not give the money from that perfume to the poor? Wasn't Jesus all about taking care of the poor and needy? (Matthew 14:13 and 21, Matthew 18:22, John 13:29) Absolutely. But this was a specific and, Jesus knew, rare opportunity to express love and commitment to him. We should remember that Jesus is God, and he knows that humanity's ultimate purpose is found through loving him. It is the most valuable and important thing we can do! (Mark 12:28-30) Mary would not have the opportunity to express love to him in this way for much longer, so Jesus honored and accepted her expression of love for him.

(Side note: For those curious, you can find the original prophecy about Jesus' entry on a donkey's colt in Zechariah 9:9.)

Starting in verse 23, Jesus explains why he has to die. He uses the metaphor of a kernal that has to "die" and then produce many more like itself.

1 Corinthians 15:20- But the fact is that Christ has been raised from the dead. He has become the first of a great harvest of those who will be raised to life again.

Some people are ready to view Christ as a martyr or victim only, but Christ knew that he was dying so that all who trust in him could enjoy their fully realized purpose with the God of the universe... forever! Although, as we see in verse 27, Jesus was extremely troubled by what he would have to go through, he was very purposeful in his choice to go through with it.

In the middle of his "mission statement" we also see the sobering challenge he gives for us to throw away any love for this life. Because Jesus taught so much about loving God and being active in this life in loving others, we know that he doesn't mean here to commit suicide or live in a hole until we die and go to heaven. Instead, he wants us to throw away love for monetary or physical gain in this life. (Check out Matthew 6:19-20) Instead, he wants us to invest in God and in other people. (Mark 12:28-31)

The people had a narrow view of the Messiah because of the oppressive Roman rule they were under at the time. They empasized the prophecies about the Messiah as an immortal ruler (Psalm 110:4, Isaiah 9:7) but seemed to have forgotten the prophecies related to his suffering and death (Isaiah 53:5-9). Jesus will return and one day rule forever, but his suffering and work on the cross had to come first. This is a reminder that we should carefully examine our view of Jesus and ask ourselves the question, "Is my view of Jesus based on the truth, or on who I would like him to be?"

The reference to God blinding people's eyes and hardening their hearts comes from Isaiah 6:9-13. Although this may seem unfair, there are a couple of things to remember:

1. God (and only God) knows objectively what people are thinking and feeling. He knows every individual heart and whether or not there is "hope" for them to change their minds and choose to trust in and follow him.

2. Ultimately, there is not a single person that "deserves" anything from God. So if God chooses to take someone already irreversibly (by their own choice) antagonistic toward him and harden their hearts further to serve his ultimately good agenda, God has every right to do so.

(For a little more on this topic you can check out: Exodus 9:12, Romans 1:24-28, and 2 Thessalonians 2:8-12.)

At the end of this chapter, Jesus sums up his ministry. He and God are one and the same (v44-45), he is the ultimate source of knowledge (v46), his mission was to save the world, not judge it (v47), but a very real judgment will take place for everyone and this judgment will be based on whether or not each individual has followed or rejected what Jesus has taught (v48). Lastly, although he is equal to God the Father, Jesus displays his willing submission to him (v49-50). Submission that will ultimately be demonstrated through his suffering and death.

In the coming weeks, we'll watch as Jesus turns his attention specifically to teaching his disciples, as we move closer and closer to his death.

Next week: Chapter 13! Don't forget to wash your feet before supper!

Coffee House Question:

What is something that someone has done for you that made you feel very loved?

(Leave any of your thoughts here or send them to and you may just hear it on our podcast! Names withheld on request.)

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