Death, Duty & Devotion

Gospel of John #29: An exposition of John 11:45-12:8. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday morning, July 10, 2011.

It must have been quite an evening.  One of those I would give anything to have been a part of.  There was laughter, joy and celebration as Jesus was guest at a dinner in his honor.  This was no ordinary gathering.  The dinner conversation was extraordinary.  Simon the leper (make that the “former leper”) told of the unbelief that overwhelmed him when he realized he had been healed.  I can see the unbridled joy accompanied by tear-filled eyes as he described the scene.  The crowd thrilled at his story was sure it just didn’t get any better.  That’s when Lazarus spoke up.  “That is amazing Simon but I had been dead for four days!  I saw the glories of Paradise.  It seemed like only a moment when I heard the voice of Jesus call my name.  I will never forget the look on Peter’s face when I came shuffling out of that tomb.”  You would never have known that evening that a murderous plot was underway.  It never would have occurred to you that within one week the world would change.  Our text this morning is found in John chapters 11 and 12.

Text: John 11:45-12:8

It is important to set the context:
Ever since that day in Capernaum when Jesus first told the cripple man his sins were forgiven and then healed his lifeless legs the religious establishment had been determined to be rid of the trouble making rabbi from Galilee.  Through the years that animosity only increased.  Repeatedly they sought to trap him in some ethical dilemma or some theological heresy all to no avail.  Things grew more intense with the healing of the man born blind and the subsequent embarrassment for the establishment.  The final straw was the raising of Lazarus from the dead.

Lazarus’ raising made the establishment a little uneasy.  When you have a formerly decomposing corpse walking around it is difficult to persuade people to overlook that fact.

In our text this morning we find John’s account of events following the resurrection of Lazarus.  First in an emergency meeting of the Jewish high court and second at a dinner party in Bethany.  As we make our way through this account I want you to notice the difference in response.  It is here we are reminded that…

Thesis: The revelation of Jesus provokes anger and murderous hate in some while igniting loving service and devotion in others.

I want us to note three portraits from our text.

  • Ciaphas: a portrait of self-centered expediency and unbridled hostility.  (11:45-54)
  • Martha: a portrait of energetic, efficient, loving service.  (12:1-2)
  • Mary: a portrait of extravagant devotion.  (12:3-8)

Jesus has been revealed over a three year public ministry.
Revealed as a profound teacher – no man teaches like this man.
A prophet – he speaks with authority.
A worker of miracles – opens the eyes of the blind, causes the lame to walk, raises the dead.

Some are provoked to anger and murderous hate while others are driven to loving service and passionate devotion.

Where do you fit in?
Which best describes your response to the revelation of Jesus?

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