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Have you ever had company over for dinner? Of course you have. We all have. What if I told you Jesus was coming over to your home for dinner? What would you do? What would you serve Him? Who would you invite over? Being a Pastor I have been invited over for dinner a few times in my career. I have been served everything from steak and the finest trimmings to pork and beans and cold potato salad. The food, of course, was just the appetizer; it was the fellowship and conversation that was the true “main course.”
In the three years of Jesus public ministry, our Lord was the guest of honor to many dinner invitations. From the dinner with Matthew and other tax collectors, to multiple dinners with chief Pharisees, to a dinner with the tiny Zacchaeus, to even the ever famous dinner known as “The Last Supper” to the impromptu dinner with a few disciples on the seashore, the Bible is full of stories of Jesus coming over for dinner.
In John 12:1-11 Jesus was invited to dinner by the man our Lord had just raised from the dead. Lazarus made Jesus the guest of honor in one last supper before Jesus’ grand triumphal entry into Jerusalem on that famous Palm Sunday. Those who had gathered for dinner that evening didn’t have a clue what was about to transpire in the last week of Jesus earthly life.
But on that evening several incredible things took place. First, and foremost, Jesus was honored because He was the special guest. Not only was He honored by the meal that was prepared, but He was also honored when Mary anointed His feet with some very expensive perfume and dried them with her own hair. Jesus even spoke about this special act Mary performed as a good thing. During this dinner Jesus revealed His plans and intentions that would later serve as comforting words that the future indeed was in God’s hands.
But honor was not the only thing that took place that evening. Dishonor raised its ugly head in the form of religion and false concern. Judas Iscariot rebuked Mary for her waste of the precious perfume and accused her of wasting a year’s wages that could have gone to the poor. Talk about a party pooper. His heart was revealed by the Holy Spirit that he truly didn’t care about the poor but instead was a thief and not a genuine follower of God.
How often people use religion for their own selfish causes. I wonder how many times people have said, “God told me to do this” when all along they were simply carrying out their own selfish agenda.
During the month of March we will examine John 12:1-11 and seek answers about how we can bring honor to our Lord. Who knows, maybe you can use these principles when you invite Him over for dinner sometime.
Words to think about,
How many times have you heard someone say, “It’s a matter of life and death?” Did you believe them when they said it? Have you ever said the statement yourself?
Two sisters sent this very message to Jesus in hope the Lord would quickly travel to Bethany where their brother rested on his death bed. When word got to Jesus, the Bible says He purposefully stayed where He was for two more days even though He knew his friend was in critical condition. This wasn’t the first time Jesus delayed rushing to a “life and death” type of emergency. In all three synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, & Luke) Jesus had received word about a young girl who lay critically ill needing a healer to rush to her side but instead Jesus stopped to heal a woman who had been bleeding for 12 years. Can you imagine the emotions of the father of that little girl? What happened? The little girl died, much like Lazarus who died in John’s passage. Of course we know the rest of the story, Jesus brought them both back to life.
How would you have felt toward Jesus if He had delayed coming to your loved one’s side? Of course we would be happy at the end, He ultimately healed them but what about during the interim? Would your affection wane during the time of your loved one’s death and then seeing the Savior strolling in casually as if they were an afterthought? Would you have a problem with the knowledge that Jesus intentionally slowed down when word got to Him of the nature of the emergency? I’m certain I would have gotten caught up in the emotion of the moment and probably blown my cool!
Isn’t that how we usually respond when God doesn’t answer our prayers the way we want Him to? God seems to save other people’s marriages but why not mine? We hear stories of young children being healed but why didn’t God save my little one? It seems God heals other people’s depression, but mine keeps lingering. Why? That question “why” gets asked a lot by believers these days. Maybe you’re asking this very question.
Jesus never seemed to be in a hurry when it came to answering peoples’ cries for help, even in the middle of a crisis. The Lord had a plan and was keeping that plan regardless of whether man thought He should speed it up or slow it down. He was the Lord then and He is the Lord now. Jesus knew that. Everything bows down to Him, even sickness, tragedy and death must yield to Him. That’s why Abraham told his servants that he and his son will both come back down the mountain as he was going up to sacrifice his one and only son. Abraham knew that the Lord was Lord over death and had the confidence that God would raise Isaac from the darkness and coldness of death.
During the months of January and February we will be looking at John chapter 11 and the story of the death and resurrection of Lazarus. This story is the back drop to Jesus’ own death and resurrection. We will go through this chapter verse by verse and examine each word of this very personal crisis this family encountered as they tasted death and all that came with it. Then we will also look at the great hope Jesus brings with the resurrection. We will also look at how we will face our own death and the hope we have with the promise of the resurrection.
How we face death on this Earth truly shows the world what we believe about the life Jesus gives us and hopes to give to them as well!
Words to think about!!