Keep Shining!

Then, six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was who had been dead, whom He had raised from the dead. There they made Him a supper; and Martha served, but Lazarus was one of those who sat at the table with Him. Then Mary took a pound of very costly oil of spikenard, anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil. Then one of His disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, who would betray Him, said,

 “Why was this fragrant oil not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?”  John 12:1-5

Try to imagine this scene.

TIME: Six days before the Passover, which, in Jesus’ mind, means six days before His crucifixion.

PLACE: the home of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus.  It is a place of love and comfort for our Lord. He goes there as often as His itinerant schedule will allow. It is near Jerusalem.

PEOPLE: It is an intimate gathering: Jesus, his disciples, and this beloved family. No prying eyes or condemning hearts—except one.

It’s been about a week since Lazarus left this world and enjoyed the splendors of eternity with his Heavenly Father. My pastor/husband often says, when relating the event of Lazarus’ resurrection, that he can imagine Lazarus’ answer when Jesus says, “Come forth (from the grave).” He may have wanted to say, “No thank-you!” as would any dear soul who has left this sin-sick world and awoke in glory!

Now Lazarus has been back with his family for about a week. Oh, the conversations they must have had! Perhaps Lazarus was not able to say much, like Paul, “how he was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter” 2 Corinthians 12:4. Whatever the case, here they are, once again gathered together. So much excitement in the air!

Jesus looks at Lazarus. Lazarus returns his gaze with an understanding that the others can only envy. They’ve all witnessed the many miracles. They’ve all heard His words. Some have even listened. Mary, sweet from-another-world Mary now anoints His feet with the ointment. Can any of us imagine pouring out oil which would cost us a year’s wages on the Master’s feet? I suppose those dear ones who have sacrificed worthy incomes to go and spread the Gospel may understand.  There may have been all sorts of reactions to her actions in the hearts of those around the table, but one speaks his mind—Judas.

Waste! It’s such a waste. You would think after all that Judas had witnessed, with his Lord and raised Lazarus before his eyes, that he would have seen the truth, and yet, Judas completely missed it. Remember, this is before “Satan entered him. Then Jesus said to him, “What you do, do quickly” (John 13:27). The only excuse Judas has for his hard heart is his own pride and stubborn will.

Dear believer, we are only tiny quivering lights compared to Lazarus, whose very life was a shining testimony to the power of Jesus Christ. Do you have loved ones who ignore, disdain, mock, taunt, reject your light? I have come to realize that you need not say anything to have your Gospel light be rejected. Your very PRESENCE causes conviction! Rejection hurts, but we love them still. We continue to shine and show the love of Jesus whenever the Lord allows. We don’t shove it in their faces. We just live and love and pray.

Keep shining, dear believer! When we have given the Word as ked by the a Holy Goly Spirit (Roman’s 10:17), then we trust God to tear down the walls and mend the bridges. “Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” Ephesians 6:13

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