Summary: People see Jesus in different ways-someone to work for, an opportunity to move ahead, an entertainer, the Christ of God. Who is He to you?
The Hungry Heart
Scripture: John 12:1-21
John 12:21 (The Message)
“We want to see Jesus. Can you help us?"
Michaëlle Jean has been appointed by Prime Minister Paul Martin as Canada’s next Governor General, our official representative of the Queen of England.
Michaëlle was raised in poverty-stricken conditions in Haiti before coming to Canada and rising to the status of CBC’s Rough Cuts host. She is an awarding winning reporter and has a special passion and interest for documentaries.
Jack MacAndrew of Rabble News calls her “a Governor General who looks like Halle Berry’s older sister.” (Halle Berry is a diva among movie actresses, and is extremely talented. She won the Academy Award as best actress for one of her movie roles.)
Of course there is tons of speculation regarding why Michaëlle was chosen as opposed to Rick Hansen who wheeled around the world in his chair. Some are kind enough to say it’s because she is a good choice, having worked hard and proven her worth and competence. Others will argue it is an ethnic matter. There is a camp of critics that will suggest it is all political as Paul Martin positions himself for the next election.
The rest of us look on and have to make our own determinations about why she was chosen, whether or not it matters and what significance it plays in the whole scheme of things for our Country. The responses are as varied as the personalities that pepper our Country’s wonderful, breath-taking landscape.
Jesus Christ has always been the center of controversy and conviction both in the religious and political circles of His day. Not surprisingly, He is still a political burden, a religious renegade and for those who know Him, our faith’s focus! As we come to this morning’s text, we will be challenged to make some clear concessions about who Jesus is.
We’ll focus through the experiences of the people mentioned in John 12. These people are not unlike ourselves in many ways, having the same realities facing them as faces us. Through them, we may catch a glimpse of ourselves. We may see a profile in one person that completely fits who we understand ourselves to be or we may see a little of ourselves in all of them. However, it is not the journey that matters so much as the end result and what we do with the revelations of ourselves that God gives us. First,
1. Mayhem Martha saw Him as a Guest (verse 1-2a)
This is not to suggest that Martha did not realize Jesus was the Christ of God. If she not earlier believed the reports of Him I cannot imagine that the miracle of raising her brother, Lazarus from the dead did not lead her to faith as it did many others who saw Jesus’ miracle-working power (v 45). Regardless of her understanding of Christ as the Messiah of God, she often responded as one would to a guest. While John merely says “Martha served” Dr. Luke gives us a detailed picture how, when Jesus was visiting the home of Mary, Martha and Lazarus, “Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, "Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!" (Luke 10:40)
Martha was a very practical care-giver and while that service is of great value and necessity, it was traded for the indescribable experience of sitting at Jesus’ feet and enjoying the gracious presence of the Master.
For Martha, Jesus had become an object of her obsession as it relates to busyness and bustle. There was work to be done! She had been busy for Jesus’ sake, all the while missing the blessing of Jesus being present. As someone once said (quoted loosely), “We are sometimes so busy with the work of God that we fail to spend time with the God of the work.”
People ask the same question today – does God care? Where is He? I wish he would step in. What people don’t realize is that Jesus is already in the room! He has graced us with his presence. The problem is in our response to the presence. Because of distractions we equate the situation with God not caring.
Are you a mayhem Martha?
2. Judas the opportunist saw Him as a get-rich-quick scheme (Verses 4-6)
Judas never missed an opportunity to line his pockets with profits as a result of being an insider, a member of Jesus’ tightly knit group of twelve. While he was complaining about the waste of precious perfume for the sake of the poor, he was really lamenting what he was losing to his own wealthy agenda. Even while he spoke he may have already hatched the richest scheme of them all. Matthew tells us about it after the fact. “Judas Iscariot went to the leading priests 15 and asked, "How much will you pay me to betray Jesus to you?" And they gave him thirty pieces of silver. 16 From that time on, Judas began looking for the right time and place to betray Jesus.” (Matthew 26:14-16)