He who rejects me, and doesn’t receive my sayings, has one who judges him. The word that I spoke, the same will judge him in the last day.  For I spoke not from myself, but the Father who sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak.  I know that his commandment is eternal life. The things therefore which I speak, even as the Father has said to me, so I speak.”
Jesus is the exact expression of the Father. He is divine. He is also human. As a human, he did things from the weakened condition of having laid down his divinity. He laid down his life and took up a life as a human. It is not a small thing when the Lord tells us to lay down our lives. Jesus is calling us into the same behaviors that he demonstrated as he walked the earth.
If Jesus did it, so can we. If Jesus could hear and follow the Father’s commands, so can we. He was human as well as divine. Jesus was so assured that he was hearing from the Father that he claimed to speak the Father’s words. Jesus was anointed. He was righteous and holy. His behavior modeled the scriptures, and his attitudes modeled the scripture. These two things made him both righteous and holy.
Righteousness and holiness opened Jesus up for an enormous anointing. His anointing was so strong that it carried him to the cross. His anointing carried him to and through his divine purpose. This is something we can imitate. We can walk in outward righteousness of choice and behavior. We can also walk in the inner attitude of Godly motive; we can be holy. We can hear from the Father, and we can understand what he says.
Lord, thank you for becoming a human and showing me how to live. Help me, Lord, to equip an anointing through the righteousness of behavior and the holiness of motive. I want to fulfill my divine purpose as you fulfilled yours. Help me to serve you, Lord. In Jesus’ name, amen.
A large crowd therefore of the Jews learned that he was there, and they came, not for Jesus’ sake only, but that they might see Lazarus also, whom he had raised from the dead.  But the chief priests conspired to put Lazarus to death also,  because on account of him many of the Jews went away and believed in Jesus.
People love a spectacle. When Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, he created a spectacle. People were astonished. In modern language, we would say Jesus “blew their minds.” And once Jesus astonished people with the wonder of the miracles he performed, people started following to watch the spectacle. Many did not want to become more intimately acquainted with God. They wanted to be entertained.
Of course, not all people were there for entertainment. Lazarus being raised from the dead excited many of the followers. A large number began to believe Jesus was the Messiah. Because of this, the chief priests plotted to kill Lazarus. They were jealous of the attention Jesus and Lazarus were getting. It was a threat to their positions (John 11:48). Therefore, out of jealousy, they wanted to kill both Jesus and Lazarus.
For Jesus and Lazarus, being anointed carried a heavy price. Not everyone was there to serve the Lord. Some were there to see what Jesus would do next. They loved what Jesus could do for them, but they did not love Jesus. We know when Jesus died, he died alone. Only a few apostles came to the crucifixion. The crowd that loved the miracles was nowhere to be found when Jesus needed them the most. Jesus understood these things. The Word says that Jesus trusted no one (John 2:23-24). So, for the many who would believe, Jesus endured the many that wanted to be entertained.
Lord, please prepare my heart to be faithful to you. I don’t want to be a person who is in Christ for entertainment. Please give me the grace to do what you ask me to do in a godly manner. Help me love you and love the people you died to save. Help me recognize the self-seekers so I can focus on those who may be saved. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Then six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, who had been dead, whom he raised from the dead.  So they made him a supper there. Martha served, but Lazarus was one of those who sat at the table with him.  Mary, therefore, took a pound of ointment of pure nard, very precious, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the ointment.
Mary had been angry with Jesus because he tarried at Lazarus’ death (John 11). Her anger did not stop Jesus’ obedience to the Father. Nor did it make Jesus love her less. Mary did not recognize the work of God happening around her. But she would soon see the greatest of Jesus’ miracles, the raising of Lazarus. Now, after a bit of time passed, we find this same Mary anointing the feet of Jesus. She probably washed Jesus’ feet, dried them, anointed them (gave Jesus a foot massage), and finally wiped the excess ointment off with her hair.
Mary was capable of great emotional responses. Though she is quiet, she is mighty. Her sacrifice ministered to Jesus, but it also impacted everyone in the house. Jesus’ feet and Mary’s hair were filled with the ointment which perfumed the environment. Also, Martha cooked a large meal and the good smells from the dinner were filling the air. The house smelled wonderful.
The house was full. We learn in John 12:4 that the apostles are also at the dinner. The people in the house were impacted by the faith of Mary and Martha. Everyone could enjoy the fragrances in the house. Mary and Martha’s faith had a positive impact on all those around them. They sacrificed and served, willingly. They shared what they had and ministered to Jesus and the apostles. Because of the willingness of the sisters to sacrifice and serve, Jesus comes to their home.
Lord, please help me be a willing servant. Help me give sacrifices of worship and help me serve with a glad heart. I want you to draw near to me and for my heart to be a place you gladly dwell. In Jesus’ name, amen.
If I don’t do the works of my Father, don’t believe me.  But if I do them, though you don’t believe me, believe the works; that you may know and believe that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.”  They sought again to seize him, and he went out of their hand.  He went away again beyond the Jordan into the place where John was baptizing at first, and there he stayed.  Many came to him. They said, “John indeed did no sign, but everything that John said about this man is true.”  Many believed in him there.
Jealousy is surely the ugliest emotion. Not the loving jealousy which produces a willingness to care for and protect another. No, I am referring to the ugly, vicious jealousy towards someone who is more successful than another. In the church, we talk about people’s anointing as an object of jealousy. This is exactly what is being described in the above passage. The Pharisees refused to believe in Jesus even though he performed signs or miracles.
John did no miracles. John did not go to the temple to preach as Jesus did. John was less anointed than Jesus and therefore less of a threat to the leaders of the Jewish people. John prophesied and his prophetic voice was acknowledged by the people, so much the Pharisees did not speak against him. Yet they did not believe his message. More important, they did not feel threatened by John.
How many anointed preachers get passed over for someone less threatening in the modern church? Many Christians love worldly success. Even ministers of the Gospel get caught in this trap. Once their ministry starts to grow, they begin protecting the ministry. Which is good until it causes a minister to thwart God’s plan. Jesus wants willing vessels. It’s easy to believe God is all-powerful and can put anyone anywhere he wants them. And, while this is true, most often God works through willing people. As Jesus said in the above passage, look at their works. Check the fruit of a ministry before you whole-heartedly start trusting what they are preaching. That was Jesus’ advice.
Lord, give me insight and wisdom to understand the motivation and intent of those who lead me in the church. Help me both honor and righteously judge those who ascend to leadership positions. Save me from a cult-like following that can lead to deception. In Jesus’ name, amen.
It was the Feast of the Dedication at Jerusalem.  It was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple, in Solomon’s porch.  The Jews therefore came around him and said to him, “How long will you hold us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.”  Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you don’t believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name, these testify about me.
No matter how many people Jesus healed, many Jewish people refused to believe. They demanded signs and refused to believe the testimony of others (1 Cor 1:22). They wanted to see a spectacle, a miracle, and they were not going to believe until they did (John 6:30). Jesus was the chosen of God (John 5:36). However, Jesus did not do miracles at his discretion. Jesus did and said what he saw and heard (John 3:32).
When the Jews demanded an answer from the Lord, he spoke what he heard. He told them to look at the previous signs and make a judgment. How many signs did the Jewish people need? Always one more. It is the same in the lives of many modern-day believers. No matter how many times the Lord intervenes in some believers’ lives, they refuse to trust him. They are constantly seeking signs. This behavior opens believers up to demonic influence (1 Thes 2:9).
Following signs is dangerous. We must remember the signs God has already performed. We store these in our hearts. Then, when our faith is challenged, we can think about the past moves of God and believe. However, God does not perform miracles so people will believe. He performs miracles to both help his children, and to place his seal of approval on godly ministers and believers (John 5:37, 10:25). The one by whom a miracle comes, if they are performed in Jesus’ name, is the chosen of the Lord.
Lord, please help me call to mind your past moves in my life. I repent of needing to see signs before I will believe. Help me trust you on good days and difficult days. Give me eyes to see your miracles. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Most certainly, I tell you, he who believes in me has eternal life.  I am the bread of life.  Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died.  This is the bread which comes down out of heaven, that anyone may eat of it and not die.  I am the living bread which came down out of heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. Yes, the bread which I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”
Eating the flesh of Christ is a metaphor. It simply means receiving from Christ. When we receive salvation, grace, mercy, or anything else from Jesus, we are metaphorically eating the flesh of Christ (1 Cor 11:24). The saying also nods to the coming crucifixion. However, we are looking at the metaphor, not the grounding reality of Jesus’ statement. So, the metaphor of eating Christ simply means receiving from Jesus is what gives us life. Jesus is the Bread of Life, when we receive of him, we inherit eternal life. So, here is the question, if Christian means little Christ are we to give our flesh?
Do we suffer to bless those who would come to Christ? (Rom 8:17, 23) According to Romans chapter 8, yes, we do suffer as Christ suffered. And that suffering has value. When we lay down our lives, we can then be remade in Christ’s likeness. (1 Cor 15:49) It is a holy thing to suffer for Christ (1 The 1:6, Heb 12:10). More, holiness allows us to be anointed to bring others to Christ (Mark 13:11). When Jesus died and ascended, he released the Holy Spirit (John 20:22). Christ was holy because he gave his life away (Col 1:22). In his complete giving of himself for the will of God, Jesus is the holiest (Heb 10:19-20). In giving his life away he has saved millions. We must be ready should God ask us for our comfort, ease, or luxury. We must be ready to imitate our Savior and give others access to the Bread of Life.
Lord Jesus, you have given me so many blessings. Please help me let go of the things you ask me to give up. Please help me love others so much that I will give of myself to see them whole and reconciled to God. In Jesus’ name, I pray, amen.
They said therefore to him, “Who are you? Give us an answer to take back to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?”  He said, “I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as Isaiah the prophet said.”  The ones who had been sent were from the Pharisees.  They asked him, “Why then do you baptize, if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the prophet?”
Pharisees are concerned with the rules. They are legalists. Pharisees went to John the Baptist and asked him who he was. They could recognize that he was anointed, but they could not discern his purpose. The Pharisees were more focused on being in control of John’s authority to act than they were interested in knowing what God was doing.
Pharisees had religious control of the region. John must have seemed like a threat to them. You can see in the passage how rude the Pharisees were to him. They demand he answer for himself. But, they had asked John a question only God could answer. Since Pharisees only got revelation from scriptures they walked away from John. They did not value that he was bringing people to repentance.
Lord Jesus, please help me know the Bible and practice its teaching while I keep my inner ear tuned towards your voice. In Jesus’ name, I pray, Amen
There came a man, sent from God, whose name was John.
It has always been God’s way to choose a man or a woman and raise them up for his purpose (Romans 1:1, Hebrews 11:32). The Old Testament is full of heroes that were raised up in God’s timing to perform tasks and services for God. Most people know about Moses, King David, and the prophet Isaiah. All these men were raised up at a point in time to serve God’s purpose.
There are many other heroes you may not know about. For example, Rahab was a prostitute in the Old Testament who was raised up to serve God and accomplished his purpose (Joshua 2:6). In the time of Jesus, John the Baptist was raised up to serve a purpose for God (Luke 1:14-17).
In our modern era, the idea of a single person standing for God is not popular. In order to avoid favoritism, many ministries have attempted to open up space for a broad section of the laity to serve. There’s an idea that if the man of God has to leave this will prevent the ministry (or church) from collapsing. It’s an attempt to avoid losing an anointing that may rest with a single person. And, while it seems really fair and it feels really inclusive, it’s worldly. Because in the Bible, God picks a person to anoint to accomplish a purpose.
Lord Jesus, please help me recognize when another person is anointed to serve you. Please guard my heart Lord so that I do not use the world’s means to try and discern your Spirit resting on another. In Jesus’ name, I pray, amen.