Atomic Reactions – John 12

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

Writing 101 – Size Matters

Today’s challenge: Tell about the home you lived in when you were twelve. The twist: vary the length of the sentences.

I hated the house. It was not the house I hated; it was the idea of the house. When I was twelve years old, we moved.

I liked our “old house”. The perfect small house on a quiet suburban street. I knew everyone on the street, I had friends on the street, and there was a shop around the corner to feed my candy and comic book addiction. I simply did not want to move from the only home I had ever known to a new house in a new neighborhood.

The “new house” was immense, on a busy street that held other immense houses. There was a large, wrap-around porch, a small front yard and a much larger, grass-covered back yard. Some rooms were painted in odd, intense colors; the living room was a dark and dismal forest green. The dining room a glowing bright red-orange – being twelve, I thought it was wonderful!! Every room had wood floors and large windows, letting in lots of light.  All the rooms were much larger than the rooms in the old house and there were many more of them. There was a long, narrow pantry off the eat-in kitchen, with cabinet’s floor to ceiling for storage. Upstairs, there were 4 bedrooms on the second floor and 2 on the third – yes, third floor. A three-story house was common in this new neighborhood. My bedroom was on the second floor, overlooking the back yard. Since it was an older house there was only one bathroom on the second floor.   And what a bathroom, a gigantic, cast iron, claw foot tub dominated the room. But having only one bathroom required coordination in a household that included two parents, four kids aged 12 and under and another kid on the way; no dawdling allowed!

The new house had lots of small and interesting places; ideal for our all-important hide and seek marathons. The basement had a dark nook under the stairs, one large open room and two, smaller rooms with shelves and doors.  The ceiling was very low and criss-crossed with pipes and wires.  There was also a small, half-bath, in the basement – to be used only in case of emergency! The basement was dark and full of odd noises, smells, creaks and groans and I, for one, avoided it at all costs!

As time passed, the old house, the old neighborhood mattered less and less and the new house became home. We discovered a great park and playground down the street. There was a private school on the corner; before they fenced the property we spent hours on their tennis courts, running through their fields, looking in the windows, full of curiousity about the activity inside. There were lots of stores within easy walking distance – new candy and comic book shopping options in both directions! School, sports, jobs, driving and friends; life marches on, kids grow up, nothing remains the same.

Years later, I was sad and excited on the day I moved from the “new house” into my first apartment. More time passed and Mom and Dad decided it was time for them to move, to start a new chapter. The “new house” was sold. Although I had not lived there for many years, I cried that day. The once hated new house, my home, was gone.

5 Ways to Be Comfortable

Comfort.  Such a soothing word in itself; it just rolls off the tongue!  Everyone has a favorite comfort food.  A good friend makes us feel comfortable.  A warm blanket is comforting on a chilly day.   A person who is grieving needs to hear words of comfort.

However, day to day life is rarely comfortable.  In fact it often causes the opposite condition, distress or depression.

Jesus knew He had a limited time on earth.  In John 14, He shares some words to prepare His disciples for the difficult days ahead.  Jesus words of comfort to them are also meant for me and you.  Here 5 ways to be comfortable; try them, they are surprisingly simple!

  1. Don’t Worry –  When my home is disorganized, chaotic or feels unsafe, I am distressed.  Jesus has a home all ready for me, He will come back and, He will keep me with Him.  I don’t have to worry about where I will live, how I will keep this home , who I will be living with or what kind of neighborhood it will be.  Jesus will be there, that’s enough.  (John 14:1 – 5)
  2. Find Answers to Your Questions – I ask lots of questions and not  the all questions have easy answers but  Jesus IS the answer to every and any question that really matters.  if you know Jesus, the Way, the Truth and the Life, you know God.  Ask Him, He will answer. (John 14:6)
  3. Get the Perfect Job – Sometimes a job is not much fun, it’s called work for a reason!  But Jesus said I will do even greater works.  No matter what kind of job I have right now, Jesus has a great work for me, it will be amazing.   He will inspire me to do it and equip me to complete it.  No application or interview needed, just follow Him!  (John 14: 12 – 14)
  4. Work with a Partner – Jesus sent a Helper.  He is with me always, He abides with me, He lives in me, He teaches me and He reminds me of Jesus’ words.   I can call on Him anytime, every time, as many times as I need.  (John 14:16,17 and 26)
  5. Depend on Dad – maybe your earthly father was not so great, maybe you don’t even have (or feel like you had) a father.  Even if you had/have a great father, he is not perfect.  God is my father for always, He is perfect and He will never abandon me and make me an orphan. (John 14:18)

Life is easier when I stay in my ‘Comfort Zone’, in the presence and peace of Jesus.  Get comfortable my friends…

Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?”  Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” John 14:5, 6 NASB