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John38 – people like us AD 30

In fact, the Passover of the Jews was near and, from the open space, many ascended into Jerusalem before the Passover, in order that they might render themselves holy. So they were seeking Jesus and were stating with one another, standing in the temple, “What do you assume? That he will not come into the festival?” (John 11: 55)
 
Passover was a very big thing in Jerusalem around AD 30. It was similar to Jersey’s Liberation Day (when the Island was freed from 5 years of Nazi occupation) but the celebrations lasted a week and recalled deliverance from slavery in Egypt which had lasted for centuries.

This deliverance of the descendants of the man named Israel took place by the power of God (the records in the book of Exodus are very clear). Understandably therefore the people wanted to “render themselves holy”, knowing that this festival had to do with the righteous LORD God.

In this particular year (as recorded by John, an eye-witness of these events in his biography of Jesus) two things were very different: first, a man named Lazarus had been raised from the dead after four days in the grave; second, the man Jesus who had resurrected Lazarus was so hated by “the chief priests and the Pharisees” that an order was out for his arrest which was intended to lead to his death. Everyone knew it. Envy motivated it.  

In fact the chief priests and the Pharisees had given commandments in order that if someone knew where he was, they might report how they might take him. So, six days before the Passover, Jesus came into Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised up from the dead. So they made him a dinner there, and Martha was serving. In fact Lazarus was one of those recumbent with him. 

 
Bethany (today called in Arabic Al-Eizariya – “of Lazarus”) is about two miles east of Jerusalem. Not far from mortal danger for Jesus. Understandably a dinner party is organized in Jesus’ honour – with Lazarus wonderfully present.

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So Mary, receiving a pound of ointment of very valuable genuine nard, anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped dry his feet with her hair. In fact the house was filled full out of the fragrance of the ointment. 

Mary, sister of Lazarus, considers with all her heart that Jesus is worth it.

In fact Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples, the one about to give him over, stated, “Through what was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?”  In fact he said this not in that he cared concerning the poor but in that he was a thief and, having the wallet, he used to lift those things being put in. 

Judas, does not think that Jesus is worth it. He could re-cycle money.

So Jesus said, “Leave her in order that she may keep it into the day of my burial. Because the poor you always have with you: in fact, me you do not always have.” 

Jesus’ words are very, very strange. He refers to his burial. Can he possibly mean that she is to “keep” “the ointment” into the day of his death? And keep it to give then all she had in thankfulness?

But how could Mary “keep it” when it was all gone? The house “was filled full out of the fragrance of the ointment.” The answer seems to be that Jesus knew that Mary did love him and would love him – the Lord her God – with all her being when she saw him give his life for her on the cross.

Nothing – not even the poor - should get in the way of that love of God, of the Son of Man who gave himself for his enemies. 

So a large crowd out of the Jews knew that he was there, and came, not only through Jesus, but in order that they might also see Lazarus, whom he raised up from the dead. 

 
John the biographer faithfully records that a “large crowd” came to Bethany to see a miracle-worker and the dead man who now lived. Most people today are part of that crowd. And they stay with that crowd.

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In fact the chief priests resolved in order that they might also kill Lazarus, in that through him many of the Jews were going and believing into Jesus. 

There were others there in AD 30 whose determination to get rid of Jesus - and of those he raises up - was undiminished. Again, same today.

 
Sinner Syvret

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