Anointing His Feet
1-3Six days before Passover, Jesus entered Bethany where Lazarus, so recently raised from the dead, was living. Lazarus and his sisters invited Jesus to dinner at their home. Martha served. Lazarus was one of those sitting at the table with them. Mary came in with a jar of very expensive aromatic oils, anointed and massaged Jesus’ feet, and then wiped them with her hair. The fragrance of the oils filled the house.
Jesus, Mary’s love and adoration for You was awesome. She didn’t care what others thought. She didn’t care about her hair or her money (the perfume was worth a year’s wages). She just wanted to adore You in some way. Holy Spirit, inspire me to give glory to God like Mary did. Help me to have no pretense, no earthly concerns, just love for You and a strong desire to give You glory. Change me, please change me.
4-6Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples, even then getting ready to betray him, said, “Why wasn’t this oil sold and the money given to the poor? It would have easily brought three hundred silver pieces.” He said this not because he cared two cents about the poor but because he was a thief. He was in charge of their common funds, but also embezzled them.
7-8Jesus said, “Let her alone. She’s anticipating and honoring the day of my burial. You always have the poor with you. You don’t always have me.”
9-11Word got out among the Jews that he was back in town. The people came to take a look, not only at Jesus but also at Lazarus, who had been raised from the dead. So the high priests plotted to kill Lazarus because so many of the Jews were going over and believing in Jesus on account of him.
See How Your King Comes
12-15The next day the huge crowd that had arrived for the Feast heard that Jesus was entering Jerusalem. They broke off palm branches and went out to meet him. And they cheered: Hosanna!
Blessed is he who comes in God’s name!
Yes! The King of Israel!
Jesus got a young donkey and rode it, just as the Scripture has it:
No fear, Daughter Zion:
See how your king comes,
riding a donkey’s colt.
Jesus, You are the King of the Universe, and You come to Jerusalem on a donkey, a beast of labor. You are not riding a stallion, flashing a sword, demanding attention and obedience. You just arrive in humility and love and the people swarm to You. Lord, help me to arrive in such humility in my life. Help me to serve my family, my business associates, and my community with humility. Help me be a beast of labor for others.
16The disciples didn’t notice the fulfillment of many Scriptures at the time, but after Jesus was glorified, they remembered that what was written about him matched what was done to him.
Jesus, thank-you for fulfilling scripture. It is such a huge source of faith for me when I read an old testament book and I see Your life foretold within it. Open my eyes to see the scriptures that are being fulfilled in my life. Your word tells us that Your followers will suffer, but will have peace, will be persecuted, but You will give them the words to say, and on and on and on. Keep me moving with You by opening my eyes to see all that is happening is simply what a Christian should expect.
17-19The crowd that had been with him when he called Lazarus from the tomb, raising him from the dead, was there giving eyewitness accounts. It was because they had spread the word of this latest God-sign that the crowd swelled to a welcoming parade. The Pharisees took one look and threw up their hands: “It’s out of control. The world’s in a stampede after him.”
A Grain of Wheat Must Die
20-21There were some Greeks in town who had come up to worship at the Feast. They approached Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee: “Sir, we want to see Jesus. Can you help us?” 22-23Philip went and told Andrew. Andrew and Philip together told Jesus. Jesus answered, “Time’s up. The time has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.
24-25“Listen carefully: Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground, dead to the world, it is never any more than a grain of wheat. But if it is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over. In the same way, anyone who holds on to life just as it is destroys that life. But if you let it go, reckless in your love, you’ll have it forever, real and eternal.
Jesus, how can I die to this world? Show me and guide me. I know I choose to sin over and over every day. I know I still want many worldly things. I know I don’t love with total selflessness. I change so slowly, if at all. Lately, I think I am going backwards. Help me Lord, help me. Please take away my evil desires. I want You to just miraculously remove them, but I know that isn’t how You usually work. I know I must endure painful trials to learn to hate the evil in me. Go ahead, do what You will, but please change me.
26“If any of you wants to serve me, then follow me. Then you’ll be where I am, ready to serve at a moment’s notice. The Father will honor and reward anyone who serves me.
27-28“Right now I am storm-tossed. And what am I going to say? ‘Father, get me out of this’? No, this is why I came in the first place. I’ll say, ‘Father, put your glory on display.'”
Father, my life is storm-tossed right now too. Not like Jesus’ was, but certainly storm-tossed. I want a quick fix and a quick exit so bad. I just want all the problems solved. But perhaps this is why I am in the world. Perhaps this is how You will be glorified through me. Use me Lord. Glorify Your name Father.
A voice came out of the sky: “I have glorified it, and I’ll glorify it again.”
29The listening crowd said, “Thunder!”
Others said, “An angel spoke to him!”
30-33Jesus said, “The voice didn’t come for me but for you. At this moment the world is in crisis. Now Satan, the ruler of this world, will be thrown out. And I, as I am lifted up from the earth, will attract everyone to me and gather them around me.” He put it this way to show how he was going to be put to death.
34Voices from the crowd answered, “We heard from God’s Law that the Messiah lasts forever. How can it be necessary, as you put it, that the Son of Man ‘be lifted up’? Who is this ‘Son of Man’?”
35-36Jesus said, “For a brief time still, the light is among you. Walk by the light you have so darkness doesn’t destroy you. If you walk in darkness, you don’t know where you’re going. As you have the light, believe in the light. Then the light will be within you, and shining through your lives. You’ll be children of light.”
“Walk in light, so darkness doesn’t destroy you.” Wow, was that written for me! Help me to get all of my life into Your light. No secret sins or problems or worries. You know it all anyways, why do I hade it? I hide it because I am afraid of the world, what the people around me will do to me. You Lord, I know are merciful. You already know my flaws. Help me Holy Spirit to live minute by minute in Your light. Change me.
When will I change Lord? What is the delay? I feel like I have asked so much for change and yet I am the pathetic excuse for a follower of You that I was 2 years ago, maybe worse! Please Lord, when will I be changed? When will this struggle end? I am tired Lord. Help.
Their Eyes Are Blinded
36-40Jesus said all this, and then went into hiding. All these God-signs he had given them and they still didn’t get it, still wouldn’t trust him. This proved that the prophet Isaiah was right: God, who believed what we preached?
Who recognized God’s arm, outstretched and ready to act?
First they wouldn’t believe, then they couldn’t—again, just as Isaiah said:
Their eyes are blinded,
their hearts are hardened,
So that they wouldn’t see with their eyes
and perceive with their hearts,
And turn to me, God,
so I could heal them.
41Isaiah said these things after he got a glimpse of God’s cascading brightness that would pour through the Messiah.
Father, please never let me be so blind. Please never let me not hear Your call. Help me to turn to You, for I need heeling so bad. I have created a life in crisis because I have not followed You. Please, soften my heart. Please open my eyes and ears. Heal me Lord. Heal me!
42-43On the other hand, a considerable number from the ranks of the leaders did believe. But because of the Pharisees, they didn’t come out in the open with it. They were afraid of getting kicked out of the meeting place. When push came to shove they cared more for human approval than for God’s glory.
Jesus, I know human approval can be so important to me. I can be the Pharisee again. How much do I worry about what people think. When I care what someone thinks, let it be because I don’t want to shame You. Help me to follow You, and not care what other people think.
44-46Jesus summed it all up when he cried out, “Whoever believes in me, believes not just in me but in the One who sent me. Whoever looks at me is looking, in fact, at the One who sent me. I am Light that has come into the world so that all who believe in me won’t have to stay any longer in the dark.
47-50“If anyone hears what I am saying and doesn’t take it seriously, I don’t reject him. I didn’t come to reject the world; I came to save the world. But you need to know that whoever puts me off, refusing to take in what I’m saying, is willfully choosing rejection. The Word, the Word-made-flesh that I have spoken and that I am, that Word and no other is the last word. I’m not making any of this up on my own. The Father who sent me gave me orders, told me what to say and how to say it. And I know exactly what his command produces: real and eternal life. That’s all I have to say. What the Father told me, I tell you.”
Jesus, I choose You. I really do choose You. But I know that to choose You now when I am alone and praying, that is easy. To choose You every moment of every day when I am tired, or busy, or frustrated, that is much harder. Lord, please, inspire me to choose You always, and in all ways.