Going Deeper 4-5-2019

The Gospel reading for Lent 5...
John 12:1-8   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."

There are so many fascinating parts of this story!  What an amazing dinner party.  

I encourage not just the reading of the wonderful stories of the Bible, but also the 'entering' of the stories.  Ask the Holy Spirit to help you to use the gift of your imagination to experience what is happening.  In this case, sit on the table with a family whose closeness to Jesus was significant... even before He raised brother Lazarus from the grave several days after his death.  Can you gain a sense of the emotionally charged atmosphere?!

Personally, I would love to ask Lazarus a few questions.  What was it like to be dead for that long?  Was it like sleeping?  Was there an experience of a great light?  Did you see anyone?  Were you happy or a bit ticked off when Jesus brought you back?

It had to be quite a celebration!  And even though Mary's act of anointing Jesus' feet with what amounted to about a year's worth of wages seemed extravagant (honestly, I might have agreed with Judas!), who could really blame her for responding to Jesus' kindness and power in this way?!  It was truly a beautiful scene.  But how much heartbreak was experienced when Jesus spoke again of His impending death?

Entering a story like this can bring much more depth to our understanding.  I encourage you to do it on a regular basis.  Stories are powerful!

With You in Him,

Mark Gabbert, Pastor
Zion Lutheran Church
Wellington, Colorado

"No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care."