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Lent reflection Cover Image

The Lord's anointed, John 12:1-16

28th Mar 2019

1 Six days before the Passover Jesus came to Bethany, the home of Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. There they gave a dinner for him. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those at the table with him. Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus’ feet, and wiped them with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (the one who was about to betray him), said, “Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and the money given to the poor?” (He said this not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief; he kept the common purse and used to steal what was put into it.) Jesus said, “Leave her alone. She bought it so that she might keep it for the day of my burial. You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.”When the great crowd of the Jews learned that he was there, they came not only because of Jesus but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. 10 So the chief priests planned to put Lazarus to death as well, 11 since it was on account of him that many of the Jews were deserting and were believing in Jesus.12 The next day the great crowd that had come to the festival heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. 13 So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, shouting,“Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord - the King of Israel!”14 Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it; as it is written:15 “Do not be afraid, daughter of Zion. Look, your king is coming, sitting on a donkey’s colt!”16 His disciples did not understand these things at first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things had been written of him and had been done to him. (NRSV)

Martha gives us a great demonstration of the personal cost of honouring Jesus. Her action produced a fragrant environment as she anointed the feet of Jesus with a costly perfume, whilst recognising the connection with Him by wiping His feet with her hair. Our relationship with Jesus needs to exhibit the same character, where we are prepared to lay our own needs down in favour of bringing glory to God. This is often costly and requires us to act in faith, with our trust firmly placed in Jesus. We might not always see with our human eyes or understand fully why, however, we are not coming to a Jesus who is heading for burial, we have the assurance that Christ died, was buried, rose from the dead, ascended to the right hand of the Father and will come again. So, when we come to Jesus, we come to someone who is alive and is interceding to the Father on our behalf, with a full knowledge of the Father’s plan and the part that we have been called, anointed and ordained to fulfil.  In contrast Judas Iscariot was considering his own earthly comfort even though he dressed it up as concern for the poor. Let’s not be like Judas, let us fulfil our God given purpose with the guidance and enabling of the Holy Spirit. As we walk in obedience, God’s joy is released in our lives which will strengthen and satisfy us. Therefore, let us use this time of Lent to turn our focus from ourselves onto understanding our purpose within the Body of Christ.

As we live out our God given purpose, we allow the power of God to be evident as the Holy Spirit works through us, in the same way that He worked through Jesus to raise Lazarus from the dead. There were many who came to see Lazarus, I guess to see if the stories of his resurrection were really true, but this in itself resulted in opposition from religious leaders who were focused on legalistic ritual rather than relationship with God. Their position of power, authority and self-glorification were all being challenged because people were choosing to follow Jesus rather than them. Therefore, let us use this time of Lent to develop a closer relationship with the living God.

The disciples remembered what had been written about Jesus when He made His triumphal entry into Jerusalem and they saw Jesus glorified. The Christian life will be full of lows and highs, to our human understanding, but our knowledge of Jesus and our relationship with Him will enable us to see God’s plan and purpose being worked out. How often we don’t fully understand what God has said to us at the time but later gain understanding as events unfold. Let us use this time of Lent to advance our prayer life so that we will gain a fuller knowledge of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

May your walk with God be greatly enriched during this time of Lent.

Keith Tripp, St John's Business Development Director