With Lent already being observed, it will not be long until Christians all over the world will be reflecting on the death of Jesus on the Cross, and then celebrating His resurrection on Easter Sunday. In his Gospel John too gives special attention to the last week that Christ spent on the Earth. Starting in Chapter 12, he devotes the last half of his book to the last days of the life of Jesus. I would like to direct your attention to some people that John mentions in the first 10 verses of Chapter 12. I believe there are lessons to be learned from each of them about how we are to live our lives. Let’s look at some of them.
First, John 12:2 says Martha served. What a blessing it is to show kindness to others. I have known many who have served the Lord for decades without any pay (in fact they often pay for many things out of their own funds) and without any desire for recognition (and usually they do not get very much). The ministry of the Church is highly dependent on these often unnoticed heroes. I notice Mary was not troubled by who was or was not serving; she was going to served her Lord.
Second, verse 2 also mentions Lazarus. We know him as one of the few in the Bible who had life restored to his dead body. He is one who wanted to focus on what Jesus had done for him. He was at that table with the Lord. Lazarus is a reminder of us. We were dead in our sins and the only One who could give us life was Jesus. We must never lose sight of what was provided for us on Christ’s Cross.
Third, verse 3 speaks of Mary. She reminds us to offer up worship to Him. The Bible says in Psalm 22:3 that He inhabits (lives in) the praises of Israel (His people). The Psalms are full of references to the fact that God is worthy of our praise. The last verse of Psalms is 150:6. It says, “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord.” Good advice for you and me.
Fourth, verses 4-6 addresses Judas. He is the classical example of the dangers of wrong attitudes and bad decisions. He tried to disrupt the beautiful act of Mary towards her Lord. Like Judas, we can end up paying greatly for wrong actions. I am sure many of you know of people who would like to rewind the clock to allow them to take a different action than the one they made. While there is forgiveness for all the sins and wrong we have done, many times there are consequences we have to live with.
Fifth, verse 10 refers to the chief priests. They wanted to kill Lazarus as they carried out their plans that are spelled out in John 11:53 where it says they wanted to put Jesus to death. Many times these religious leaders were upset at how Jesus had not properly honored the Sabbath, and yet they had no problem of breaking the Commandment that says we shall not kill. It is frightening and alarming by how far we can drift from what our mission in life is supposed to be.
As we reflect on this very holy season, let’s make sure we are serving continually, focusing on the Lord clearly, worshipping convincingly, acting correctly and living by all the commandments. Jesus best summed it up by saying to love God and love others. What an impact we can have. Our lives will speak loud and clear of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Ron Swiger is a Chaplain at Greene Memorial Hospital in Xenia.