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What Did We Do?

Lent 2022

Read John 12:1-19

1 Six days before the Passover, Jesus therefore came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. 2 So they gave a dinner for him there. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those reclining with him at table. 3 Mary therefore took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. 4 But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (he who was about to betray him), said, 5 “Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” 6 He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief, and having charge of the moneybag he used to help himself to what was put into it. 7 Jesus said, “Leave her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of my burial. 8 For the poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me.”

9 When the large crowd of the Jews learned that Jesus[d] was there, they came, not only on account of him but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. 10 So the chief priests made plans to put Lazarus to death as well, 11 because on account of him many of the Jews were going away and believing in Jesus.

12 The next day the large crowd that had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. 13 So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!” 14 And Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, just as it is written,

15 “Fear not, daughter of Zion;
behold, 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 about him and had been done to him. 17 The crowd that had been with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to bear witness. 18 The reason why the crowd went to meet him was that they heard he had done this sign. 19 So the Pharisees said to one another, “You see that you are gaining nothing. Look, the world has gone after him.”

Lazarus appears several times in our reading. He reclines at the table with our Lord. Crowds see Lazarus, hear about his resurrection and follow Jesus because if it. The chief priests want to kill Lazarus because of it. Even some in the Palm Sunday crowd seem to be there because they heard about Lazarus’ resurrection. But all of this was Jesus’ work. Lazarus was simply the recipient of Jesus’ gracious intervention.

We are like Lazarus. In baptism, God raised us from death to life (Romans 6:3-4). What part did we really have to play in that? God performed the miracle and did the work. As we live in that reality, in relationship with the Son, we are invited to recline with him. Some will hear about the miracle that God has worked in us and, because of that, follow Christ as well. Others may reject Jesus and, because of the life Christ has given us, may reject us too. Jesus warns us, “The world will hate you, because they hate me and you are my disciples.”

What did we do that we get to recline with our Lord? What did we do that others would hear our testimony and follow Christ? What did we do to cause others to reject us as they reject Christ? This is simply the description of life for those who have been raised by Jesus Christ. Just as Jesus has been at work in us to bring us to faith and sustain us in that faith, he is also at work through us because of this new life we have been given.

Prayer: Lord, may I follow you as a humble servant who bears witness about the life you have given me. Amen.

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