The Glory Has Departed

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a third one has been sent now.

Norma Boeckler, Artist-in-Residence

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I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. 1 Timothy 2:1-4

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

John 12:1-19 - The Key to the Crucifixion

12 Then Jesus six days before the passover came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, which had been dead, whom he raised from the dead.
There they made him a supper; and Martha served: but Lazarus was one of them that sat at the table with him.

GJ - The raising of Lazarus is well known, but the drama does not end with his emergence from the tomb, which foreshadowed Jesus' resurrection. Jesus was buried in a rich man's grave, carved from stone, so we know Lazarus was a prominent man, a man of means. 

Lazarus had a lengthy funeral, where friends and family gathered for days. Nearby in Jerusalem, people knew he died and the mourners spread the news.

Jesus raised two others from the dead, but Lazarus was a significant person and tensions were very high when this happened. The disciples had resisted going toward Jerusalem when they headed toward Bethany and Thomas allowed they could all die together there. 

Lazarus' illness and death was a topic debated among the believers and the opponents. His friend Jesus had opened the eyes of the blind. Why could he not heal His close friend? Thus a miracle became a weapon against Jesus.

In a few overlooked verses below, the Evangelist shows how people came to see Jesus and Lazarus. Moreover, the Jewish opponents, who had already decided to kill Jesus, planned to murder Lazarus, who was a prominent and irrefutable proof of Jesus' divinity, His role as Messiah - the anointed King, a threat to Rome and to the religious leaders: 

John 11:48 If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation. 49 And one of them, named Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said unto them, Ye know nothing at all, 50 Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not.

The entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday meant the funeral crowd was following, rejoicing, from Bethany. And the people who knew or heard of the raising of Lazarus came out of Jerusalem (verse 18) to see the celebrity and hail Jesus as the Son of David.

Before that momentous event, Mary anointed the feet of Jesus (Christ means - anointed with oil in Greek; Messiah - anointed with oil, Hebrew). She wiped his feet with her hair, and the room was filled with the fragrance of a pound of very expensive aromatic oil. This offended the unbelieving Judas, who pretended to care about the poor, but he was just a peculator, like the Church Growthers of the W/ELS and LCMS.

The anointing shows the devotion of Mary and the imminent death of Jesus. Thus the extreme emotion of Jesus at the tomb of Lazarus is even clearer. Jesus was seeing His own horrible torture and death in the future, and feeling compassion for what had happened in the death of His friend, the sorrow of Lazarus' family included.

In this chapter, as we have seen so often in this Doctrinal Gospel, the message is faith in Jesus, the absolutely essential character of this faith, and the dangers from blind and hard-hearted unbelief.

Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment.
Then saith one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, which should betray him,
Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor?
This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein.
Then said Jesus, Let her alone: against the day of my burying hath she kept this.
For the poor always ye have with you; but me ye have not always.
Much people of the Jews therefore knew 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.
10 But the chief priests consulted that they might put Lazarus also to death;
11 Because that by reason of him many of the Jews went away, and believed on Jesus.

12 On the next day much people that were come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem,
13 Took branches of palm trees, and went forth to meet him, and cried, Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord.
14 And Jesus, when he had found a young ass, sat thereon; as it is written,
15 Fear not, daughter of Sion: behold, thy King cometh, sitting on an ass's colt.
16 These things understood not his disciples at the first: but when Jesus was glorified, then remembered they that these things were written of him, and that they had done these things unto him.
17 The people therefore that was with him when he called Lazarus out of his grave, and raised him from the dead, bare record.
18 For this cause the people also met him, for that they heard that he had done this miracle.
19 The Pharisees therefore said among themselves, Perceive ye how ye prevail nothing? behold, the world is gone after him.

Much more could be said about this brief passage, but verse 17 reminds us once again that the raising of Lazarus, the crucifixion of Jesus, and the rising of the Savior are themes woven together, commanded by the Father, obeyed by the Son, witnessed to us by the Holy Spirit.

How could people turn the Fourth Gospel into a textbook on universal salvation founded on unbelief? The second part of this chapter explains - those who walk in darkness do not know what they are doing.

John 12:38 That the saying of Esaias the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed?39 Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said again,40 He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them.41 These things said Esaias, when he saw his glory, and spake of him.