Day 1: John 11:1-16
I thought it was a bit “oddly interesting” that in verse 2 we find that John is using a reference that has not yet happened. We read “This is the Mary who poured the expensive perfume on the Lord’s feet and wiped them with her hair.”
However, this reference he uses occurred at a later date, after Jesus resurrected Lazarus. It was very hard for me to stop at verse 16, but since it was late I knew I had to. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be waking up at sunrise. (ahem, and I still didn’t for 2-3 days).
Jesus knew Lazarus had died, and he told his disciples plainly that Lazarus had died. Then, He explained why He did not go when He was asked
“…this will give you another opportunity to believe in me…” v 15
Day 2: John 1:17-27
“Bethany was only a few miles down the road from Jerusalem.” v 18
In my Bible’s footnotes, it says Bethany was about 15 stadia, which is translated to about 2.8 kilometers. According to Google, 2.8 kilometers is 1.739 miles. A distance that is easily walked by someone in generally good health.
I know that 2 miles in Jesus’ day was not exactly the same as today…no sidewalks…no paved roads…no Nike running shoes…no gel insert soles…but still, He was so close.
I know for myself there have been times when I knew Christ was near, but I couldn’t feel His presence like I once did. That is an instance when I must practice faith, just as Martha did in verse 22…
“But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask.”
She didn’t know how her situation could be better, but she knew that Christ would help her through this trial. That is the exercising of faith, not knowing when or how or why, and still knowing. Believing and accepting as fact. It has become a more common idea now (partly thanks to Morgan Freeman’s character in Evan Almighty, I think) that when you ask God for patience He doesn’t instantly make you feel more patient, He gives you an opportunity to practice patience. It is the same with faith. I think, when you ask God for more faith, He doesn’t make you feel more faith-filled, but rather gives you more opportunities to practice and exercise your faith.
Day 3: John 11:28-44
In my NLT version of the Bible, verse 33 reads “When Jesus saw her weeping and saw the other people wailing with her, a deep anger welled up within him, and he was deeply troubled.”
The Amplified version says “…He was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. [He was chafed in spirit and sighed and was disturbed].” Chafed means ~ irritate, vex; to feel irritation, discontent, or impatience.
I don’t think Jesus was just angry. I think He had a mixture of emotions that were all welling up inside at once and started bubbling like a volcano.
Day 4: John 11:45-57
“So from that time on the Jewish leaders began to plot Jesus’ death. As a result, Jesus stopped his public ministry among the people and left Jerusalem. He went to a place near the wilderness, to the village of Ephraim, and stayed there with his disciples.” v 53-54
Jesus knew what would happen, and He knew when. He wasn’t “running for His life” like we do, He was taking the necessary steps to fulfill His mission. If God places a calling on our lives, we need to listen intently to His voice and follow His directions for each step we need to take to fulfill our calling. He will tell us where to start, where to progress, and when.
Day 4: John 12:1-8
This passage is one of my favorites, the anointing of Jesus’ feet by Mary. I never noticed before, or I didn’t remember, who it was among Jesus’ disciples that was complaining…
“But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples – the one who would betray him – said, ‘That perfume was worth a small fortune. It should have been sold and the money given to the poor.’ Not that he cared for the poor – he was a thief who was in charge of the disciples funds and he often took some for his own use.” v 4-6
Everyone is flawed, even those of Christ’s dedicated followers. Judas will always be remembered for his betrayal in Gethsemane, but I think it is easy for us to picture him as “the evil disciple”. But he wasn’t always like this. We read earlier how the 12 disciples were actually the 12 who remained faithful out of all the disciples originally gathered. Judas Iscariot wasn’t born an evil monster. He was born an innocent baby like everyone else. It was over time and through choices he made that led him down the path to becoming a thieving accountant, and ultimately to betray Christ to His death. (Week 4 Day 3)
Just as no one is beyond salvation, no one is beyond sin in their walk with Christ. Our transformation to becoming Christ-like will not be instantaneous, it will take time and intentional actions.