Saturday, November 30, 2013

Advent Family Ideas and a challenge

With all the focus on shopping and having the right kind of decorations and the perfect gift, it is easy to forget what Christmas is really about. 
THE perfect gift was given to us on a Christmas morning over 2,000 years ago. Yet not all of us have opened that gift and lived a life worthy of that gift. 
"But when the Day of God’s Judgment does come, it will be unannounced, like a thief. The sky will collapse with a thunderous bang, everything disintegrating in a huge conflagration, earth and all its works exposed to the scrutiny of Judgment. Since everything here today might well be gone tomorrow, do you see how essential it is to live a holy life? Daily expect the Day of God, eager for its arrival. The galaxies will burn up and the elements melt down that day—but we’ll hardly notice. We’ll be looking the other way, ready for the promised new heavens and the promised new earth, all landscaped with righteousness." 2 Peter 3:10-11 MSG
 Do we live like He is coming back today? Or are we too focused on the world? Are we putting up a Christmas tree or are we going with the new cultural norm of Holiday tree? 

So here is our challenge to you: worship the King this Christmas. Center the season with your family around the manger. Here are a couple of ideas to get you started.
And a challenge that I encourage you to download, print and keep in your Bibles, post on your fridge.

How do YOU keep Christ in Christmas? Share with us!

Truth In the Tinsel. Download the book here.

This website has ton of ideas for free Christmas activities for your family.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Jesus' Farewell in John 15-16-17

"Rise let us go from here"...... are the words Jesus spoke at the end of John 14. 
Rise, do not let the world drag you down....
let us go from here......
Remember friends, this world is not our own......

 I am the True Vine
 God's vineyard is a common Old Testament imagery for Israel. Read through Isaiah, Jeremiah, Hosea, Psalm and Ezekiel and you will find countless mention of the vineyard.
  I will sing for the one I love
    a song about his vineyard:
My loved one had a vineyard
    on a fertile hillside.
He dug it up and cleared it of stones
    and planted it with the choicest vines.
He built a watchtower in it
    and cut out a winepress as well.
Then he looked for a crop of good grapes,
    but it yielded only bad fruit.
Isaiah 5:1-2
 God carefully cultivated His vineyard and in due time expected good fruits from it. Prophets after prophets warned the people of Israel about the impending doom of the fall and captivity. Israel was already captive of its own desires and selfish ambition and turned a deaf ear to the warnings. God's hand of protection was removed from them.

"I am the true vine and my father is the vinedresser." John 15:1

John here is not suggesting a replacement theology. WE are not the new vine, WE are not the new Israel.
Jesus is the fulfillment of the good fruits the vine will bear.
 What does this mean for us? Does it mean that we are good to go once we are "Christians"? In God's economy there is no fire insurance.

Jesus cam so that the Father may be glorified. We have a choice to to go along with the plan and glorify God through Jesus or be thrown into the fire.....

I AM the Way, the Truth and the Life...
NOBODY comes to the Father but through me.
 Can grape grow and live outside of the vine?
If we are the grapes we can only live if still attached to the vine.

"If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you." John 15:7

Ladies, we have been faithful in reading and studying the word and I encourage you to on going. Never give up. The stakes are too high!

Any gardener knows that for a plant to flourish you have to prune it. I learned this year that in order for tomatoes to redden faster you need to prune all the leaves around the fruit.

 Pruning will be a constant in your Christian walk. It is necessary for growth and to produce better fruits.
Is it worth it?
 "You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you." John 15:14-15

Jesus calls us friends.
Can you wrap your mind around this? The God who created everything calls us friends. Do not let this thought just pass by. Let this dwell in you. Let this be a constant light throughout the day.

The vine metaphor is one of a very close-knit relationship God has restored with us through his son. A very intimate relationship that will grow if we stick through the process.

Love is the glue that holds it all together.

"Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.John 15:13

Spoken hours before being arrested...beaten...crucified.....
Here is where so much does not compute with me.

Jesus loves me
I love Jesus
We are one.

He died for each and every one of us and yet the world hates him.
When we choose to be of this world and live in this world and enjoy this world, we hate him.

I would NEVER say that I hate Jesus, yet I live in this world and I am attracted by many things in this world.

Life with Jesus seems too hard and costly at times. Paul put it this way in 1 Corinthians 4:9-13
For it seems to me that God has put us apostles on display at the end of the procession, like those condemned to die in the arena. We have been made a spectacle to the whole universe, to angels as well as to human beings. We are fools for Christ, but you are so wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are honored, we are dishonored! To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless. We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; when we are slandered, we answer kindly. We have become the scum of the earth, the garbage of the world—right up to this moment. (Emphasis mine)
 We like to be popular and being a follower of Jesus is rarely popular. We raise children in opposite world, our marriages are in opposite world. Opposite, old fashioned, archaic......

Those choices do not make us popular but the truth is that once you know, you can never go back. Once you have tasted from the bread of life and drank from the living water you can never go back. This process takes time but it is well worth it. After all your life depends on it.

John 17 is Jesus' farewell. It is also called the High Priestly Prayer. It can be divided in three parts:
  • verses 1 through 8 Jesus prays for himself
  • verses 9 through 19 Jesus prays for his disciples
  • verses 20 through 26 Jesus is praying for you

Underline this passage, highlight it, write it down on a notecard.

Jesus is praying for you.

Meditate on this today, tomorrow.
 Make this prayer personal and insert your name where indicated

“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for [insert your name] who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May [insert your name] also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given [insert your name] the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved [insert your name] even as you have loved me.
“Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.
“Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and [insert your name] know that you have sent me. I have made you known to [insert your name], and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in [insert your name] and that I myself may be in [insert your name].”

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Prayer help: Be a committed Disciple

Jesus had four levels of followers. 

The first stage is the “COME AND SEE” phase. In the beginning of his ministry, people were told to come and see Jesus. John The Baptist proclaimed, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world”. When asked where he was staying, Jesus told some men, “Come, and you will see.” Philip told Nathanael to “Come and see” this good man who came from Nazareth. (John 1:29,35,39,46)  The woman at the well said to the people of her town, “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did.” (John 4:29)

    I would liken this to a person who has witnessed Christ working in someone else’s life. Perhaps they grew up going to church, have a Christian friend, or watched a Billy Graham crusade on TV… something has introduced them to the existence of Christ, but as yet they know little about him and do not know him personally at all. Nevertheless, they are curious and want to know more.

    Once a person has seen Christ, he invites them to FOLLOW him. (John 1:43, Matt4:18-22) Having already seen something of what Jesus was about, some men wanted to know more, so when he called they dropped everything to follow him. There is a huge step that takes place here, from just knowing about Christ, listening to his words, to actually going along with him. Notice that for these men it meant a sacrifice. They left their nets, their boats, their parents and at least in Peter’s case a wife. This is a shift from a superficial belief to a sacrificial commitment.

    Despite the sacrifice involved, though, this is still not a full committal to Christ, but rather a learning phase. The disciples went with Jesus, they spent time with him, they listened to his message and learned what he was about. But there comes a time in every believer’s life that s/he must fully commit to BE WITH Christ. Many of the people who followed Jesus early in his ministry were really just after a free ride.

We see this especially in John 6 where Jesus feeds the five thousand and they are reluctant to let him get away. They say that Moses provided Manna, and they want a similar sign from Jesus. But he rebukes them as working for food that spoils. He then tells them that he is the Bread of Life, that they must eat his flesh and drink his blood. Many are offended by this and leave off following him. John tells us here that many disciples left Jesus. These were not the enthralled “come and see” onlookers, but people who had left things behind to follow him. Yet when he asked too much of them, they left.

After this exodus, Jesus asks the 12 if they will leave him as well. But Peter says, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” So there is a recognition among these believers that Jesus offers us something more than the temporal, and that it is worth seeking, worth any sacrifice.
Interestingly, even now there is a follower left who is not fully committed to Jesus. Christ proclaims, “Have I not chosen you, the twelve? Yet one of you is a devil!” (John 6:70)   

 There is a shift here in the teaching of Christ to a focus on his deity and his work on the cross. His “I AM” statements are begun. There is a great deal of controversy over his claims. And he talks more and more of his coming death and resurrection. As the fated day approaches, Jesus has some intimate time with the apostles. It is here that we see the final phase of following Jesus. He challenges the 12 to “ABIDE IN ME”. Jesus is the vine, his followers are the branches. Their very sustenance and life are to come from him. Without him, they will dry up and be burned. (John 15) The believer who makes it this far is fully committed, engaged and willing to endure anything for the sake of the savior. (John 16:33) They are no longer of the world but they have a mission IN the world, that of spreading the gospel. (John 17:14,18-26; 20:31)

    Where are you in this journey?

Are you the curious onlooker?

The interested follower who sees the gift and wants a free ride?

God, give me this; Lord bless me in that?

Have you become the committed believer who is learning everything you can, enduring ridicule and trial for his sake?

Or have you reached the level of committed disciple, abiding in Jesus, seeking to imitate him and MAKE disciples as he commanded in Matthew 28:19-20?
Note: I feel obligated to give credit where credit is due. The idea for this outline came to me as I perused the contents of a book I found on Amazon called The Complete Book of Discipleship : On Being and Making Followers of Christ by Bill Hull. I have not read the book, so I have no idea what Mr. Hull says about the four phases (Come and See, Come and Follow Me, Come and Be with Me, Remain in Me) but I give credit lest someone accuse me of plagiarism.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

I am the Way, the Truth and the Life John 13-14

In our study so far we have seen Jesus interact with a multitude of people, performing all kinds of miracles. John calls them signs and he specifically mentioned 7 of them.

Here is an entry from The Tyndale's Bible Dictionary about the significance of the number 7.

In Scripture, seven symbolizes completeness or perfection. On the seventh day God rested from his labors and creation is finished (Gn 2:2). Pharaoh in his dream saw seven cattle coming from the Nile (41:2). Samson’s sacred Nazirite locks were braided in seven plaits (Jgs 16:13). Seven devils left Mary of Magdala, signifying the totality of her previous possession by Satan (Lk 8:2); "seven other devils" will enter the purified but vacant life of a person (Mt 12:45). However, on the positive side, there were the seven spirits of God (Rv 3:1). In the seventh year the Hebrew slave was to be freed (Ex 21:2), having completed his time of captivity and service. Every seventh year was a sabbatical year (Lv 25:4). Seven times seven reiterates the sense of completeness. In the Year of Jubilee (at the completion of 7 x 7 years = the 50th year), all land is freed and returns to the original owners (Lv 25:10). Pentecost, the Feast of Weeks, is seven times seven days after Passover. "Seventy," which is literally "sevens" in Hebrew, strengthens the concept of perfection. There are 70 elders (Ex 24:1) in Israel. Israel was exiled to Babylon for 70 years (Jer 25:12) to complete its punishment. "Seventy times seven" (Mt 18:22) reiterates this still further. The Lord was not giving Peter a mathematical number of times that he should forgive another person, but rather was insisting on limitless forgiveness for a brother’s sin.
The seven signs were:

  1. Changing the water into wine (CH 2)
  2. Cleansing the temple (CH 2)
  3. Healing of the nobleman's son (CH 4)
  4. Healing of the lame man (CH 5)
  5. Feeding the multitude with 2 fishes and 5 loaves of bread (CH 6)
  6. Healing of the blind man (CH 9)
  7. Raising of Lazarus (CH 11)
 Along with the 7 signs John mentions 7 I AM statements. The significance of those statements goes to prove the deity of Jesus. I AM means YAHWEH. When Moses asked God in Exodus what he was to call Him, God answered
God said to Moses, “I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’” Exodus 3:14
So far we have seen 5 I AM statements which were:

  1. I AM the bread of life (CH 6)
  2. I AM the light of the world (CH 8)
  3. I AM the gate (CH 10)
  4. I AM the good Shepherd (CH 10)
  5. I AM the resurrection and the life (CH 11)
If you go back to your notes and reading, you will quickly noticed that the statements are linked with a sign.
Bread of life = feeding the mutitude
Light of the world = healing the blind man
Resurrection = Lazarus
 In John 14 Jesus makes a new bold statement
I AM the way
the truth
the life

We are in the Passion week. The time is near for Jesus to be betrayed and suffer the punishment for our sins. He is now spending time with his disciples (the ones that were still believing) and imparting in them some important wisdom. Jesus, their teacher, friend, mentor, the son of God takes off his outer garments and washes their feet, showing them THE WAY.

I am sure that you could have heard a fly drop. The whole situation was shocking, embarrassing, surreal. Foot washing, a ritual that dates back to Abraham (see Genesis 18), was to be performed by the lowest servant. For Jesus to wash their feet was similar to the disciples to the Queen of England coming to your house to clean your toilets. Unthinkable.

But there is a lesson here - a two fold lesson.

Repentance of sins

The way means to be cleansed from sin. When you have been cleansed you belong to Christ. This cleansing is not a simple outward cleansing but an inward one. Jesus DID wash Judas' feet. He lowered himself to wash the feet of the person who was going to betray him in a few hours.

Let me say this again:
He lowered himself to wash the feet of the person who was going to betray him in a few hours.

Let this sink in. The way means being clean, having a relationship with Jesus and NEVER assuming that you are too good to serve those who do not believe. Jesus knew that Judas was unclean, yet he still served him. Jesus did physically wash Judas but Judas was not clean because he did not accept Jesus. A person can be baptized every single Sunday and go to church every day of the week and still be unclean if they do not accept Jesus. It means accepting Jesus even when it does not look like we think it should look like. Remember: they expected a king and instead saw someone washing feet and about to die like a lowlife criminal.

 After Judas left, Jesus goes on and talk about the truth. The truth is very simple and at the same time very complicated. The disciples did not realize that Judas was about to betray Jesus. The impact of what he is about to tell them will have much much more impact after the arrest.

We, on the other hand, are reading this lesson knowing what has happened, knowing the heart of men (and women) who days after hailing Jesus will be shouting "crucify Him". We are the ones fortunate enough to live in a time and a place where reading the Bible is easy, free and strongly encouraged. We are lucky enough to have the freedom to proclaim that we love Jesus.

truth or dare: do we?
Jesus tells them "“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35

A new command
Love one another
by this........

Jesus LOVES. Period. Jesus loves the Judases of this world. He loves the sinners. He loves the lost. He loves the outcasts. He loves until it hurts. He loves and died.

As I have loved you, so you must love one another.

Do you?

 Jesus is the life. How can you have life?

 “If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—" John 14:15-16

Love is a choice. Love is THE choice we need to make every single day. Love is really the ONLY choice we should consider.

Love is not always easy. It is a choice.

But Jesus is right there. This is a simple math equation

Jesus loves me = I love Jesus + I love others

I love Jesus + I love others = I obey His commandments

I obey His commandments + Jesus loves me = Holy Spirit
Romans 8:4-7 instructs us to live by the Spirit which is the opposite of living by the flesh. When we choose to live by the flesh, we let ourselves be controlled by our own selfish desires and also by standards put forth by the world. Those standards rarely conform to the teaching of Jesus.  In order to have life we have to live by the Spirit.

The Spirit lives in us when we love Jesus, obey His commands and love others. This can only happen when our hearts belong entirely to Jesus. The Israelite were set aside by the ritual of circumcision. We Christians also need to perform a circumcision. Circumcision of the heart to remove the foreskin aka hardness.

Take time time today, this week to ponder the following verses and ask yourself what is making the foreskin of your hear? Bitterness? Jealousy? Anger? Depression?

Pray over these verses and remove the foreskin, let your heart be freely all for Jesus. Allow the Holy Spirit to be your helper. Allow Jesus to fill you with life.

You stiff-necked people! Your hearts and ears are still uncircumcised. You are just like your ancestors: You always resist the Holy Spirit! Acts 7:51

Circumcise your hearts, therefore, and do not be stiff-necked any longer. Deuteronomy 10:16

Circumcise yourselves to the Lord,
    circumcise your hearts,
    you people of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem,
or my wrath will flare up and burn like fire
    because of the evil you have done—
    burn with no one to quench it. Jeremiah 4:4

Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit. Why will you die, people of Israel? Ezekiel 18:31

Great peace have those who love your law,
    and nothing can make them stumble.

I wait for your salvation, Lord,
    and I follow your commands.  Psalm 119:165-166

Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. Ephesians 5:18

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Glorify God

Please take the time to take a short survey:

1. The purpose of my life is:
a. To be happy
b. To raise a family
 c. To do something important and lasting
 d. To glorify God 

2. The purpose of my marriage is:
 a. To make me happy and fulfilled
 b. To have someone to take care of and love me
c. To have a family and raise children
 d. To reflect and glorify God 

3. The purpose of raising children is:
a. To give me someone to love
 b. For my parents to get back at me for everything I did to them growing up
c. To bring up happy, well-adjusted adults
d. To raise up more people for the kingdom so that they can glorify God 

 4. The purpose of my work is:
a. To make lots of money
 b. To give me fulfillment
 c. To get me out of the house
 d. To give me a venue to glorify God 

5. The purpose of my worship is:
a. To fill me and make me feel good
 b. To use my gifts in the church body
 c. To get me into heaven
d. To glorify God

 6. The purpose of my rest/free time is:
 a. To have fun because I work so hard all the time
b. To watch my favorite TV shows and keep up on all my social media
c. To refresh me
d. To renew my strength so that I can more effectively glorify God. 

7. The purpose of my prayer is:
a. To get things I want from God
b. To be a good Christian
c. To prove how righteous and holy I am
d. To assist in the works of God and so bring glory to Him 

Have you ever given much thought to your purpose in life? 
To the purpose behind the things you do?

 I speak for myself, but I know that what I say is true for many (dare I say all?) of us. I get caught up in this life a lot. My kids have needs, and it’s my job to fulfill them - food, clothing, help with school, etc. My husband has needs, too - sex, food, affection, a sounding board… Then there are the endless chores, errands, bills, all those things that go along with my role as a wife, mother and keeper of the home. And I don’t even have a paying job. I can’t imagine trying to manage that along with all the other stuff I do. My hat is off to all you working women out there. But it’s easy, in the midst of our busy schedules, to forget that there is a purpose behind all that we do. 

This life is not the end. It’s just a beginning. This is the womb of eternity. Just like a baby passing out of its mother into her presence, we will pass from this life into God’s presence. A baby has nine months in its mother’s belly, but that is less than 1/100th of its life. Compared to eternity… well, compared to eternity, this life is not even worth speaking of. Except that what we do here determines what our life in the presence of the Lord will be. (Mt 25:14-30) This life is the only chance we have to save up for our retirement. My husband and I have spent 18 years investing little in our retirement portfolio, thinking all along, “We’ll do it later, when our finances are a little better.” But our finances are not getting any better. The older we get, the more there seems to be to spend our money on. Many people are like that in their Spiritual lives. They keep thinking, “I’ll do it later, when I have more time.” But like the rich man in Lk 12:13-21, our life could be demanded of us this very day.

Will you have treasure in heaven if you are called today?

 I’m supposed to be coming up with prayer helps for you. This may not seem very helpful in learning to pray. But this is what God has laid on my heart. All the prayer helps in the world will not help you if you are not motivated to pray. So I pray that you will read this and meditate on the verses here. When all is said and done, nothing on this earth matters. It will all pass away. But the treasures we have laid up in heaven will last for eternity.

“You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.” (James 4:2b-3) 

Ask today for that which glorifies God, and see what He will do in your life. 

  •  Is 43:7 “…everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.” 
  • 1 Corinthians 6:20 For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body. 

  •  1 Peter 4:10-11 As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. 

  •  John 15:8 "My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples. 

  • Philippians 1:9-11 And this is my prayer:that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God. 

  •  1 Corinthians 10:31 Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 

  • John 14:13 Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 

All scripture quotes are from the NASB.

Monday, November 4, 2013

John 11:55-12:50 "Seeking & Treasuring Christ"

Different responses to JESUS...

We see at the end of John 11 that many Jews were already in Jerusalem to purify themselves (2 Chron. 30:13-20; Leviticus 22:1-6), to prepare for the feast. Many were looking for Jesus and hoping they would see him. The Pharisees, angered from the latest miraculous sign of raising Lazarus from the dead, had given the order for Jesus' arrest. (John 11:53,57) As John 12 opens, it's now six days before the Passover. This is the Passover in which Jesus will be slain as the perfect lamb of God.

"Six days before the Passover Jesus arrived at Bethany (which was about 2 miles outside of Jerusalem) where Lazarus was, who had been dead, whom He had raised from the dead. There they made Him a supper; and Martha served but Lazarus was one of those who sat at the table with Him. Then Mary took a pound of very costly oil of spikenard, anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her fair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil." John 12:1-3
We see a celebration dinner in honor of Jesus. Lazarus, Martha, and Mary were good friends with Jesus (John 11:3,5) and they believed in and loved Him. The recent raising of Lazarus from the dead further strengthened and solidified an already strong faith in Jesus as the Messiah.
Through out John 12 we see different responses to Jesus. Some believed and worshiped. Others, like the Pharisees, flat out rejected Jesus and sought to end Him. Still others followed and were intrigued by his sayings and miracles, though they remained unchanged. Judas Iscariot is one who we have seen with Jesus as one of His 12 closest followers. But we see the foreshadowing of Judas's betrayal of Jesus as his heart condition is revealed. Though he has been with Jesus through out his ministry, Judas remained unchanged.
Different responses to JESUS...
Lazarus worshiped God as we see him honoring & dining with Jesus. He was a witness & testimony to the glory & power of God. This family opened there home and hearts to Jesus though the Pharisees had a warrant out for His arrest. In fact, the Pharisees also wanted to kill Lazarus because of all those who were believing through his testimony.
 Martha worshiped God as she served Christ. She was corrected in Luke 10  by Jesus for she served with an anxious and distracted spirit. Now we see Martha serving her LORD with love from a right heart. We are called to serve the Lord with joy! (Psalm 100)
Mary humbly bows down in worship, love, and adoration. Three points stick out. 1) She anoints the feet of Jesus with a very expensive perfume. We see that she places high value on Jesus. The cost of the perfume is said to be worth a years wage. Compared to today would be about $25,000. 2) Mary let down her hair down. It was improper for a Jewish woman of that time to show her hair. Her hair was her glory and was left covered in public. She didn't care what others thought as she desired to honor and worship her Savior. 3) She wiped Jesus's feet with her hair. Touching someones feet was a job for the lowliest of servants. This shows absolute humility and love on Mary's part as she poured out and gave all that she was. 
We are called to treasure Christ above all else. We are called to honor Him with our resources and time with a pure heart. 
What do you treasure?
Are you willing to give up a prized possession for the Kingdom of God?
Are you willing to get uncomfortable and do something for the glory of God even if it means your peers may not approve? 
Do you bow down before His throne and worship?
Many people say that Jesus is LORD, but not nearly as many have actually surrendered to His LORDSHIP. Do we, His people, do a good job at following Him? 
Do you abide in His Word, His teachings? (John 8:32;15, Psalm 119)
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’  And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ Matthew 7:21-23
Picking back up in John 12, we see Judas enter the story. Mary has just honored Jesus with extravagant self sacrificing worship and Judas condemns her. He basically says she has neglected the poor and wasted this expensive perfume on Jesus. Judas missed the reason and purpose of her extravagant worship because his heart was hard, greedy, and full of self. He did not really care for the poor, but knew Jesus would agree that it's important to take care of the poor. Judas was angry because he missed out on a lot of money being donated to the cause of Christ in which he could have easily stolen from. 
Judas - worshipper of self. Though he walked with Jesus and knew all about him, he did not have saving faith in Christ!  His heart was corrupt with all types of evil including deception and the love of money. Through this self seeking and sinful way, Judas opened himself up to the influence of Satan and we see later in John 13 that Satan actually enters into him!  What about you? Do you "walk" with Jesus and know alot about Him like Judas? Or do you call Him LORD and Savior? 
"But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves." James 1:22 

We now move to the next day from this intimate dinner party to the crowded streets of Jerusalem. Some scholars estimate that approximately a million people were present for this Passover feast! And this is what we see...

The Triumphal Entry
The next day a great multitude that had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, took branches of palm trees and went out to meet Him, and cried out: "Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!" "The King of Israel!" Then Jesus, when He had found a young donkey, sat on it; as it is written: "Fear not, daughter of Zion; Behold your King is coming sitting on a donkey's colt."
His disciples did not understand these things at first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things were written about him and that they had done these things to Him." John 12:16

The significance...
1) Palm branches - national symbol of the time conveying the message of victory & celebration. About 200 years earlier the people waved Palm trees after Judah Maccabee led a revolt that freed the Jews from Syrian oppression in which traditional Jewish worship was restored. The people presently were seeking a Messiah who would come to free them from Roman oppression! Jesus didn't come to take away the Roman oppression in the first coming, but He did prepare the way for His people as He overcame the bondage of sin and death! 

2) The people crying out and quoting Psalm 118:25-26. This Psalm bears messianic implications. The people knew this Psalm and would sing in the morning of many of the feasts. "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord" refers to Messiah!

3) "Hosanna" is from the greek word "Hosanna" which is from Hebrew word - Hoshiya na. The original meaning of this word in Hebrew found Psalm 118: 25 is "God save!". It is a call for help like when someone is drowning. The meaning shifted through time and we see that Hosanna became a word of Praise to God for bringing the help! So when the people cried out "Hosanna!", they are saying, "Horray for salvation! It is coming, Salvation is here!" This is what the people were saying as Jesus rode through Jerusalem on the donkey.

4) Why a donkey? Zecheriah 9:9 is a prophecy which we see the King - the Messiah - riding on a donkey. We see in Mark 11:1-8 that Jesus -knowing the prophecy and will of God - had his disciples go and get the donkey. The donkey can sybolize the lowly humble servant King and Savoir. He is the Prince of Peace. Interestingly, while Zech. 9:9 speaks about the first coming, we see in the very next verse a picture of the 2nd coming! In Revelation 19 we see Jesus the warrior King riding in on a war hourse! 

"Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!"

Different responses to JESUS...
Large Crowd - some believed but many were fickle and followed in the wonder and excitement of it all. We know this because in only a few days many from this same crowd would be shouting, "Crucify Him! Cricify Him!"

Those who witnessed Lazarus being raised from the dead - believed and told everyone! They bore witness! "But you are my witnesses", declares the Lord." (Isaiah 43:10)
Pharisees - rejected Jesus and plotted to capture and kill him. (John 8:58-59; 10:30-33; 11:53,57)
Greeks - The greeks represent God-fearing Gentiles. They came seeking and inquiring about Jesus.  Luke, the author of the Gospel of Luke is an example of a God-fearing Gentile. "Wise men still seek Him today..."

"As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes. The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.” Luke 19:41-44

We see in Luke 19 at the Triumphal entry Jesus looks over Jerusalm and weeps. 
Why does He weep? He was a man of grief and sorrow (Is 53). His ministry was coming to a close and through all the miracles, love, and signs the Nation Israel as a whole did not receive Him. Jesus saw the fickle hearts of the crowd and though they hailed Him today they would shout "Crucify Him!" tomorrow!  His friend Judas would betray Him. His friend Peter would deny Him. The religious leaders who were suppose to be leading the people to God were blind guides leading them to hell! Jesus saw the destruction of Jerusalem that would take place a few decades later in 70 AD. Not to mention that His death on the cross in which He would bear the very wrath of God was a few days away! 

 "The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God - "John 1: 10-12 
In John 12:23-36 we see the last teaching and words of Jesus to the crowd. Here are a few highlights.

  • Verse 23,  "The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified." God's timing is perfect. Through out the gospel we see that Jesus' time had not come, but now it is here.  What is this time? His hour of death.

  • Verse 24, we see that through this death many will come to life and salvation!
  • Next we see the call for His disciples to "lose their life" to gain eternal life. We must follow His example in love and sacrifice with a Kingdom minded purpose!
  • Verse 27,   "Now my soul is troubled..." The word for troubled is translated from a form of the verb tarasso which literally means "to shake" or "stir up". "It's a strong word used to speak of severe mental or spiritual agitaion; being disturbed; unsettled. Jesus faced the cross. He face divine judgment and the wrath of God. His soul was troubled though "for the joy set before Him" He would endure the cross. He is faithful to the end!
  • Verse 27-33, Jesus knows His purpose and knows that He must be lifted up (crucified - exalted - glorified!). He would suffer and then be exalted. The Voice of the Heavenly Father (also heard at baptism & Transfiguration) was heard confirming the faithfulness & diety of Christ. Though the cross may seem like a victory for Satan - it is absolute defeat as Christ overcomes sin and death!
  • Verse 34-35, the Jews missing the Messiah's first coming and the point of it. He is the perfect Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world. The lasting Kingdom comes at the 2nd coing of Jesus the Christ.
  • Final invitation - Jesus is the light (John 1; 8:12) and shines truth in a dark & deceived world. Jesus answered the crowd with the call to abondoned the deeds of darkness and to walk in the belief & truth of the Word. The light, Jesus, would soon be gone. Believe - while you have the light-  so you may become children of God! (John 1:12; 12:36) 
  • Verse 36, "Jesus spoke the final invitation to come to Him and then departed and was hidden from them". 

Different responses to JESUS...
Israel - As a whole the Nation rejects Jesus the Messiah. Isaiah 53:1,3 "Who has believed our message? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?...He was despised and rejected by mankind..." God gives them over to their unbelief and the word says in verse 40 that, "He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts..."

As John 12 closes we see the author penning these final over all teachings of Jesus. In John 13, we find Jesus and His disciples together the night before the crucification. As we enter the Passion of Christ, let's humbly bow before His throne...examine and purify our hearts....and worship!

In Closing...
Examine the different responses to Jesus. 

Who are you?

Are you surrended to His LORDSHIP? 

Is your Faith real? 

Bow down- facedown- and worship.

He is worthy.

“Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain,
    to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength
    and honor and glory and praise!” Revelation 5:12

This week's Homework - Read & study John 13 and 14

John week 9 homework .pdf