Summary: THe conversation at the dinner given in Jesus honor.
The gathering of friends and enemies John 12: 1-11
I went to one of those restaurants where they tell you to sit at the bar while you have to wait for them to get your table ready. I think it’s just a gimmick to try and get you to have a drink or a salad or something, but rather than spend any more money than I intended, I decided I’d have a free snack from the bowl of pretzels that were in a big ceramic bowl on the counter. And so as I took one, a voice came from inside this bowl that said, “You’re a very polite person.”
Needless to say, I was a little shocked but I figured it had to be some kind of trick so rather than appear stupid I just ignored it. A few minutes later, I decided to reach in and take another pretzel and I heard the voice a second time as it said, “You are a very kind individual.” And again, it really took me by surprise so I said to the guy working behind the counter, “What’s with this pretzel bowl?” And he said, “Oh, it’s complimentary.” (Some of you will have to think about that for a while.)
So, here we are in chapter twelve which as I said last week was kind of an ‘in between’ area of scripture where Jesus goes from ministering to the multitudes to focusing on His disciples. And His ministry to the multitudes is covered in the first eleven chapters of this book. And then in chapters twelve through twenty-one we have the time that spans the last week of His life and here we find Jesus preparing His disciples for His arrest, crucifixion, death and resurrection as well as for their own ministry to come.
I realize there are some disagreements over what happens where in terms of the chapter divisions but we have to understand that there was no such thing as chapters in the original scriptures. And sometimes the chapter divisions actually break up the logic of the flow. For instance, if you look at the last several verses of chapter eleven you can see that they might serve as an introduction to chapter twelve. But, we’ll just assume that the division is chapters one to eleven and then chapters twelve through twenty-one. I know that some of you don’t care how we divide it but it does help me understand it better when I can see it logically.
So, in the last chapter of the first section of this book (that’s chapter 11) we saw the resurrection of Lazarus which as I said was the greatest miracle of Jesus’ ministry next to His own and not only did we witness the reaction of the faithful to this miracle but also the reaction of the fearful and those of course are the chief priests, the Pharisees and all their followers. I call them the fearful because everything they do is done out of fear of losing their power and prestige.
And as I finished last day I focused on a group that are hardly mentioned in the New Testament and yet they seem to play such a large role and not only in the pages of the scriptures but also in the world today and these people are the group who are always in the middle. They’re the ever silent majority. And often if you asked them where they stood they’d probably call themselves secret believers. And there are the kind of people who would, “Of course I believe in Jesus. Who doesn’t?” And I’ve met people who are drunks, immoral, homosexuals or even extreme liberals who will say that.
There was a debate on television one time with Madeline Murray O’Hare, who was the famous and extremely obnoxious atheist and afterward they asked the audience, how many of you people believe in God? And almost everybody raised their hand to a great thunderous applause. And a Christian commentator said later on, “What they should have asked them was, how many of you believe that Jesus lived a perfect life, died for your sins, rose from the dead and now promises eternal life to all who accept Him and live according to His word.” Now, very few would raise their hands if that was the question. And let’s face it; the majority of people claim to be Christians because that just means they’re neither Jews or Moslems.
The fact is; most people have no problem with Jesus as long as Jesus has no problem with their sin. But as soon as they hear a message of repentance, they either turn from their ways (And there’s very few of them who do) or they get their back up and want nothing to do with Jesus if He demands a change in their behavior.