John 12 today, this chapter gives us several insights into why some people reject Jesus. He is at the home of Mary, Martha and Lazarus. Mary anoints his head with an expensive perfume, probably worth almost a year's salary in that day. Judas objects saying the money could have been given to the poor. Then John, the author of the Gospel, editorializes what's really going on in vs 6: "Not that he cared for the poor--he was a thief who was in charge of the disciples' fund, and he often took some for his own use." One of the reasons Judas rejected Jesus was because he loved money. It's one of the major reasons a lot of people reject Jesus. When he takes control of our lives, he takes control of our pocketbooks. A lot of people don't want to relinquish control.
The second insight why people reject Jesus comes from the Pharisees. They were extremely upset by the miracle of Lazarus being raised from the dead (ch 11). They wanted Jesus dead. Look at vs 19: "Then the Pharisees said to each other, "we've lost. Look, the whole world is after him now." Amazing. They were in competition with Jesus. If Jesus is correct, and our relationship with God occurs thru mercy and grace and not law, they are wrong. If they are wrong, they lose power, prestige and influence over the people. It was all about control. They didn't want to lose it. Therefore, they wanted Jesus dead. Bottom line: they rejected Jesus because they would lose power.
Judas rejected Jesus because he loved money. The Pharisees rejected Jesus because they desired power. Is this you? Not much seems to have changed to today. These are the same reasons people reject Jesus today!
A couple of other insights really grabbed me this morning as I arose, prayed and studied this chapter:
1. Vs 24: unless he seed falls into the earth and dies, only then can it give life. This obviously refers to Jesus' death and burial which led to his resurrection. But it also applies to us. Unless we die to self we will never have Jesus' life. Until we give up all our own selfish control (think Judas and the Pharisees), we can't be raised to new life in Jesus. Vs 25: "Those who love their life in this world will lose it. Those who despise their life in this world will keep it for eternal life." Following Jesus means death to self and new life to follow him in every way.
2. Vs 47: "If anyone hears me and doesn't obey me, I am not his judge--for I have come to save the world, not judge it." Note that hearing his word means obeying it. Without obedience, it's impossible to please God. Also, in Jesus' first coming, his Incarnation, his birth in the stable in Bethlehem, note he didn't come to judge the world. His first visit was to save the world, to give all eternal life, a chance to be forgiven. That was our greatest need. Without this visit, no one would be saved. However, there will be a second visit, Jesus' second coming. In that visit, he WILL come as judge, erasing all evil forever. It's important now to deal with Jesus as Savior so we'll be ready when he returns as Judge.
3. Vs 49: "I don't speak on my own authority. The Father who sent me gave me his own instructions as to what I should say." Jesus is God. It's an undeniable claim. The most important question we all are asked: "What will you do with Jesus?"
May your day revolve around giving him praise and glory, Jesus, our King!