Series: Easter: This Changes Everything
Preacher: Dany Hernandez
Reflection: Sam Millen
Live Wonder: Bec Reid
Live Adventure: Jess Lee
Live Beyond: Art Preuss
Live Purpose: Don Pate
Editor: Becky De Oliveira
Refresh: Begin with prayer. Ask for the Holy Spirit to open your heart to new understanding and for God’s character to be revealed.
Read: John 12:1-19 in the New International Version (NIV). Note 1–3 insights or questions.
Reflect: If you could spend an entire year’s wages at one time, what would you do? In my case, it would probably be a good idea to make an investment, perhaps in real estate. That would certainly be the wise thing to do. I must admit, I would be very tempted to travel the world. Judas had an even more noble plan, or so he wanted those reclining at the table to think. Use the money to help the poor. John tells us what none of them knew then, except for Jesus of course. Judas was a thief. I imagine after the crucifixion the disciples reflected on their time with Judas, trying to figure out how one of them could have betrayed Jesus. In hindsight, they recognized the lure of money had been there long before the 30 pieces of silver were offered to Judas.
We are tempted by different vices. Thievery has never really appealed to me. Perhaps it is because I have enjoyed a relatively comfortable life and instinctively know that stealing would ultimately make my lot less desirable. As I write this, however, an elaborate scheme involving cheating and bribery has been uncovered by the FBI. There are reports of very wealthy (and at times famous) families paying for their children to get into elite schools. It’s a form of theft—obtaining something (college admission) not rightfully belonging to them. The one time my “friend” convinced me to take an item from a grocery store without paying for it, I could not live with my conscience. I confessed to a law enforcement officer at my public elementary school. Thankfully my parents agreed to reimburse the store manager for what was taken and I sincerely apologized.
In this passage we witness Judas being critical of Mary’s actions. The taker pointing a “crooked” finger at the giver. Apart from the irony highlighted by John, it is another reminder to carefully examine ourselves whenever our inclination is to criticize. Could we be seeing our own faults in others? Judas was not accusing Mary of stealing but of mismanaging money. You guessed it! By helping himself to what was put in the money bag, it could be said that Judas was the one “mismanaging” money.
Recalibrate: Why didn’t Jesus tell everyone that Judas was a thief? Do you share the faults of those you love? Why do we often point out people’s faults to others?
Respond: Whenever you are tempted to criticize, stop and examine yourself to make sure what annoys you is not your own faults that you have projected on the other person.
Research: Read this helpful article on criticism. (By the way, “Hate the sin, love the sinner” actually comes from Mahatma Gandhi! Jesus would probably say, “Love the sinner, leave the sin with God.”)
Remember: “Because of Lazarus many Jews were leaving them and believing in Jesus” (John 12:11, ICB).
Sam Millen is the pastor at Anacortes Adventist Fellowship in Washington State. He his wife Angie is a schoolteacher on Orcas Island and their three children are really awesome!
Draw a large flower with multiple petals. Ask your little one which people in their life are important to them. Write the names of those people down on each petal of the flower. Let them color the flower in and talk to them about why these people are significant to them. Pray with your little one for each person they have selected to add to their prayer flower.
I have a football jersey that a friend gave me. It’s a special jersey that we both wanted because it reminds us of the fun we had on holidays in Nyngan (New South Wales, Australia). Even though we both wanted the jersey, my friend gave it to me because they knew it meant a lot to me. Think of someone you love. What is something you could give to show your love to this person?
The next day, Jesus leaves His bud’s house and begins to make His way into Jerusalem. All of a sudden, a stretch limo comes by to pick Him up! No . . . it wasn’t actually a limo but a donkey! But you know how famous people arrive in style— they roll up on their brand new ride, or limo, or something. By placing Jesus on a donkey, the people were not just recognizing Him as a famous person, they were recognizing Jesus as the King of the Jews. They were throwing down palm branches as symbols of the arrival of their king. The funny thing is that all of these things were written long ago about Jesus but the disciples did not remember them.
Let’s get real—How would you react if you saw Jesus rolling up into town? What would you say about Him?
Luke calls the days around the crucifixion “the passion” (Acts 1:3). During that “passion” time Jesus actually took part in two banquets and the second is kind of like the first. In the early one, Jesus gets His feet washed and it upsets the disciples. Judas gets so upset he storms out of the room. (We call that “Simon’s feast.”) In the second banquet, Jesus gets the disciples upset because He goes around washing feet and, once again, Judas gets up and leaves the room. The first time Judas went out to negotiate the betrayal of Jesus and the second time he finalized the deal. The most interesting part of all of this, to me, is that only two of the gospels speak of Jesus washing feet (Luke 22and John 13) but all four speak of Mary washing His (Matthew 26, Mark 14, Luke 7, and John 12). I think the Bible writers took it seriously when Jesus said, “Wherever the gospel story is told this woman will be remembered for this . . .” and He didn’t say that about His own act of humility. Fascinating.
Bec Reid is a real estate agent within her family business. She lives in Sydney, Australia, and is a part of the Wahroonga Adventist Church community.
Jess Lee is an education consultant for the New South Wales Adventist education system. She lives in Sydney, Australia, and attends Kellyville Church.
Art Preuss pastors in Massachusetts at the Springfield, Florence, and Warren Adventist churches and serves in the U. S. Air Force Reserve as a chaplain.
Don Pate is “retired” in Tennessee after decades of teaching and pastoring but is still active in speaking and creating for the Kingdom.