Passover plot, take 2 | John 12.9-11
When the large crowd of the Jews learned that Jesus was there, they came, not only on account of him but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. So the chief priests made plans to put Lazarus to death as well, because on account of him many of the Jews were going away and believing in Jesus. John 12:9-11 | ESV
Now, they might not have smelled the ointment, but pretty soon the scuttlebutt was out that Jesus was in the neighborhood and a huge crowd of local gawkers showed up outside the house – as much to see Lazarus, the dead man brought to life by Jesus, as to see Jesus himself. The religious hierarchy watched from afar, carefully noting that they would need to eliminate Lazarus as well as Jesus – because Lazarus was like a magnet drawing the local crowd to buy into Jesus left and right. MAV (Mike’s Amplified Version)
This bit of the story makes me take two.
While Mary worships in a sweet mess all over the feet of Jesus and Judas fumes over the waste of it all, the ruling powers plot to assassinate a resurrected man.
It would seem we are faced with a basic choice: surrender our treasure as we pour ourselves out in worship at the feet of Christ or in an effort to keep our feet where they are currently standing do any and everything necessary to preserving our position and power – even if that means crucifying a healer you feel threatened by – or murdering a former dead man.
Surrender all or preserve our status quo; save our life or lose it.
Ironically, I have no doubt that the religious establishment plotting murder considered this their own ultimate sacrifice of worship to God. Look at how far they will go to protect God’s heritage! “The time will come when those who kill you will think they are offering service to God.”
Each character in this week’s reading holds out a mirror for us to look into carefully and prayerfully as we ponder our own heart of worship.
How do we see ourselves in Mary and her extravagant, spontaneous worship?
How do we see ourselves in Judas, complaining about other’s worship practices?
How do we see ourselves in the religious elite for whom worship was the occasion for the ultimate act of self-preservation?
And while we’re at it, here’s one more “worship mirror” to peer into as we close out this week’s reflections:
So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you. Romans 12:1-2 Message
How do you see yourself in each of the key characters in this week’s reading? What have you learned this week about the nature of worship – and your own habits and practices of worship?
Abba, free my spirit to worship with greater abandon – bold, risking, sacrificing worship and adoration. Let me choose wisely to lose my life that I may find it in the selfless act of adoration before your feet. Make such worship the gateway into life, life and more life. Through Jesus.