PIZZA! Bet you had some reaction to that word! Maybe you are a pizza maniac (Yes!) – as soon as you saw ‘pizza’ you started to think about getting a slice. Maybe you don’t like pizza (excuse me but that is a literal impossibility!!), so when you saw pizza your reaction was, “YUK”. (Again, literal impossibility.) No matter what opinion you have about pizza, the word itself causes a thought, an emotion and/or a salivary gland response!
JESUS. What reaction do you have to this word, this name? For thirty-three short years, Jesus lived on the earth. During the last three of those years He went where His Father told Him to go, said what His Father told Him to say and healed those His Father told Him to heal. Every place and person who met him and many who only heard about Him had a reaction to Him.
- Lazarus (v1) – heard of him, Jesus had raised him from the dead in John, Chapter 11. We find him in Chapter 12 reclining with Jesus at dinner; at peace, comfortable with Jesus.
- Martha (v2) – she witnessed the resurrection of her brother, Lazarus. In Chapter 12, she is simply being herself, relaxed, serving dinner to Jesus.
- Mary (v3) – Martha’s sister and a witness to her brother’s resurrection. Now, she is covering Jesus’s feet with perfume, wiping it with her hair; demonstrating her lavish devotion to Jesus.
- Judas (v4) – his criticism of Mary’s actions, his false concern over money, was his attempt to hide his real agenda, to betray Jesus in just a few more days.
- The large crowd (v9) – curiosity seekers, heard that Jesus was there but really wanting to see the dead man walking, Lazarus – the paparazzi of their day!
- The large crowd (v12) – they were looking for a King; thinking Jesus would bring an earthly kingdom and free them from Roman rule.
- People who witnessed (v17) – like CNN, on the scene with their report; they were more interested in reporting a miracle, not the Miracle-worker! Perhaps there were some who truly testified about Jesus.
- People who heard (v18) – self-seekers, heard the news and wondered if there was something in it for them, seeking miracles, perhaps some were sincere seekers of Jesus!
- Pharisees (v19) – full of jealousy, fearful of losing their positions of power and the respect of the people.
- Greeks (v20) – they came for the feast and decided to seek Jesus; some for Jesus sake, others for curiosity.
- Philip and Andrew (v22) – uncertain, they decide to just go directly to Jesus.
- Crowd of listeners (v29 & 37) – some heard thunder, others angels, some saw many signs, “yet they were not believing in Him.”
- Many rulers (v42, 43) – believed in Jesus but were not confessing Him because of their fear and “they loved the approval of men rather than the approval of God.”
Each one of these people described in John 12 had a reaction to Jesus and His words. People today continue to react to Jesus. What is your reaction to Him? Are you simply curious like some in the crowd? Are you angry like the Pharisees? Do you hide your reaction, fearing what others might think if they knew you were interested in Jesus? Do you reject Him, like Judas? Can you rest beside Him like Lazarus? Serve in quiet obedience like Martha? Do you run to Him with all your questions like Andrew and Philip? Do you weep at His feet like Mary? Whatever your reaction, talk to Him. Ask Him for understanding, that is all prayer is; a conversation with God. Don’t say you don’t have a reaction; even indifference is a reaction! Jesus never told anyone what to think; He simply spoke the truth. Your reaction, your response to Jesus is up to you. What reaction will you choose?
So Jesus said to them, “For a little while longer the Light is among you. Walk while you have the Light, so that darkness will not overtake you; he who walks in the darkness does not know where he goes. While you have the Light, believe in the Light, so that you may become sons of Light.” John 12:35,36