Thursday, February 20, 2020

The Help of the Helper - Doug Rehberg

Ninety years ago in Great Britain, Welshman D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones was a physician to the royal family. But at age 27 God called Lloyd-Jones away from medicine and into ministry.

For 30 years he was the pastor of Westminster Chapel in London. They called him, “The Doctor”, because of the precision with which he came to the Scripture and preached it. For four decades he was the undisputed leader of the evangelical and reformed churches of Great Britain. His scholarship was unassailable. His exposition of Scripture was so profound it’s still consulted today. His biblical and theological acuity was of the highest order. And yet, when he looked around at the evangelical and reformed church of his day he said, “Though their doctrine is sound, their passion is missing.”

I remember, years ago, attending a church in Florida that I had always heard about. It had a reputation for solid, biblical preaching. As I took my seat in the balcony and looked around, all I could see were people carrying well-worn Bibles; and the more I looked, the more excited I became. But soon the service started and after 20 minutes I was as bored as I’ve ever been in a church. As for doctrine, they were pure; but as for joy, they were pitiful. Everything that was said was true, but there appeared to be no life. Some call it, “Dead orthodoxy.” That was the problem Lloyd-Jones saw in abundance all around the evangelical and reformed churches of Great Britain. He saw people who had stayed long enough at the cross to be saved, but not long enough to be loved. And their lack of passion proved it. That’s what Paul means when he says, “If I speak in the tongues of man and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal… without love, I am nothing.”

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones writes, “The weakness of the reformed church is found in their traditionalism, their lack of evangelism, and their contentment with mental ascent to sound doctrine and little more. On the other hand, the weakness of the charismatic church is their self-indulgence; their enjoyment of experience in the absence of sound doctrine.” But, other than rejecting both extremes, Lloyd-Jones brought them together. Through his solid, Christ-centered preaching the Holy Spirit demonstrated that Godly revival requires both sound doctrine and the infilling power of the Holy Spirit.

Ten years ago we preached a 12-week series on the person and work of the Holy Spirit. In much the same way that Lloyd-Jones taught, we looked at the person, the personality, the creativity, the gifts, the work of the Holy Spirit, etc. But interestingly, of all the texts we examined, John 14:15-31 was absent from our study. This Sunday we will make amends.

John 14:15-31 is Jesus’ first expanded discussion of the person and work of the Holy Spirit. Here, following His absolute assurance of His love for His disciples, Jesus tells them in no uncertain terms that one of the great benefits of His departure from them is the gift of a Helper Who is an exact replica of Him.

This Sunday we will explore seven key characteristics of the Holy Spirit that can converge to excite the most stoic believer. Rather than an asset gained by human striving, the Holy Spirit is given as a gift. In fact, He is a gift solicited by Jesus from God the Father.

This Sunday we will examine seven “Ps”:
  • The PRESENT of the Holy Spirit - John 14:16
  • The PERSON of the Holy Spirit - John 14:16
  • The PERPETUITY of the Holy Spirit - John 14:18
  • The PURPOSE of the Holy Spirit - John 14:26
  • The PROVINCE of the Holy Spirit - John 14:27
  • The PRESENCE of the Holy Spirit - John 14:17(b)
  • The PROGRESS of the Holy Spirit - John 14:23

In preparation for Sunday you may wish to consider the following:

1. How is the Holy Spirit received by the believer?
2. When did the Holy Spirit come into the first disciples?
3. The word Jesus uses to describe Himself and the Holy Spirit in verse 16 is “Helper”. What other translations can you find?
4. How is the Holy Spirit rightly called, “The Spirit of Truth”?
5. How does the Holy Spirit fulfill Jesus’ promise in verse 18?
6. How does the Holy Spirit enable us to keep the commandments and teaching of Jesus?
7. How do Paul’s words in II Corinthians 3:6 fit with what Jesus is saying here?
8. Can you think of examples in your own life and experience that support II Corinthians 3:6?
9. How do you interpret verse 28?
10. How does the Holy Spirit fulfill Jesus’ words in verse 26 in your life?

See you Sunday!

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Words for the Panicked - Doug Rehberg

When I was 22 and just finishing graduate school in Washington, D.C., I decided to go and live somewhere where I didn’t know a soul. I had never in my life lived anywhere that I knew no one, so I thought I’d give it a shot. So I moved to Miami, Florida.

(I went to Miami a couple of years ago and found that Thomas Wolfe was right! It took 45 minutes to drive six blocks. Everything had changed. Of course, 40 years will do that.) It was the late 1970s, before the Mariel boatlift, and Miami was a super mid-sized city, with lots to do. But it wasn’t long after moving there that I felt alone. Everywhere I went, I went alone. Everything I did, I did alone. Even at work, for the county manager of Dade County, most of what I did, I did alone. I began to learn what it was like to be alone, to know nobody, to be a nobody. Then, Frank Seely popped his head into my office.

He asked, “You play golf?” I said, “You bet I do.” He said, “Good! After work today let’s go hit some balls.” So after work we drove halfway out to Key Biscayne, on the causeway. He drove right up to a grassy knoll overlooking the bay, popped the hatchback of his V.W. Beetle, pulled out a cardboard box filled with range balls, and said, “Here, hit ‘em.”

So I hit balls into Key Biscayne Bay for 15 minutes, while he watched. He didn’t hit any. He watched me hit them. Finally, after a quarter of an hour he said, “Okay, you can play. But let me tell you something. You’ve got to get rid of that damn high ball. The winds down here will eat your lunch!” And from that day on 63-year-old Frank Seely and I became golf buddies. We played almost every day after work.

After a few weeks Frank said to me, “Here’s my number,” as he handed me a slip of paper. At first, I thought it was his phone number, but when I looked at the slip, I could see only four digits. I said, “What’s this?” He said, “That’s my membership number at Doral Country Club.” Now at the time, the Blue Course at Doral was a tour stop! The Doral Resort was one of the finest in the country. So I say to him, “Frank, I can’t use your number. I’m not you.” He said, “Of course you can! They all know me there. I’m in charge of all the street lights in this county. I can shut them off anytime I want to. So, you go out there any time you want and use my number. They won’t give you any trouble.” I said to him, “But Frank, why are you doing this?” He said, “Two reasons: I like you, and I know what it’s like to be alone.”

When you come to John 14 you find the disciples scared to death of being alone. And they’ve got good reasons. They’ve left everything to follow Jesus, and now it’s crystal clear that He’s leaving them. He’s leaving them to a world that hates Him, and by extension, hates them. Their panic is palpable because Jesus is ticked at them. In fact, He’s hopping mad when He says, “Let not your hearts be troubled!” And the reason He’s mad is two-fold. First, they’ve got their eyes squarely on themselves. Second, they have yet to comprehend what Jesus’ departure means for them.

We’re going to go deeply into all of this on Sunday morning as we examine John 14:1-7. I can tell you that I’ve taught and preached this text dozens of times, but never as I will this Sunday in the Sanctuary and in the newly-completed Barclay Building!

In preparation for Sunday’s message entitled, “Words for the Panicked,” you may wish to consider the following:

1. How is Peter’s question in John 13:36 a perfect set up for John 14:1-7?
2. How is John 13:1 & 13:34-35 a set up for John 14:1-7?
3. How does Peter demonstrate that he knows little of what Jesus says in John 13:34-35?
4. How do Jesus’ words in John 13:38 relate to John 14:1-7?
5. What does the Father’s house have to do with ridding the disciples of their fear?
6. The words, “I go to prepare a place for you,” was a common expression in Israel. Do you know who said it? And to whom?
7. In verse 3 Jesus says, “I will come again and take you to myself.” This was another common expression in Israel at the time of Christ. Who said it and why?
8. What common human relationship is Jesus citing here that should bring every disciple peace and joy in the face of fear?
9. If someone were to ask you what Jesus promises to do for you throughout eternity what would you say?
10. What prophetic image used through the Old Testament to describe the relationship between God and the children of Israel is Jesus seizing upon and reinterpreting?

See you at the celebration on Saturday and worship on Sunday!

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

To Be "In the Know" - Henry Knapp

We have all these marvelous 15-second video clips of my 18-month-old daughter shot with an 8mm camera recorder. Remember those? At the time, they were top-of-the-line, high-quality stuff; now, they look like a suitcase you carry on your shoulder. Ah, the glories of a good cell phone camera! Like most folks, we videotaped everything—“Look, honey! I’m putting on my socks… quick! Get the camera!” Hours and hours of video footage ensuring that insomnia is never a problem.

The video clips of Sabrina are all only about 15 seconds each because for years she had an automatic reaction to seeing the video camera: “I WANNA SEE! I WANNA SEE!” You would surreptitiously begin to capture a wonderfully sentimental moment—playing with a stuffed animal, reading a book, talking to imaginary friends—and then Sabrina would look up, catch you filming her, and come running to the camera, saying, “I WANNA SEE!” Five seconds of something cute, followed by 10 seconds of her stumbling toward you crying out to see what you were recording.

This drive to be “in the know” of all that is going on, this desire can be cute (if annoying) in a two-year-old, but the same attitude can undercut our faith in so many ways. Very often we insist on knowing exactly what is going on; and if we don’t know, then we feel offended, hurt, or even sinned against. The desire to know and understand might be helpful and good—such curiosity has led to many discoveries and insights—but it can also reflect an insistence on controlling our own lives, a failure to have faith.

How often in Scripture are we told to trust the Lord, even without knowing exactly what He is doing? Indeed, is not the very idea of faith, trusting when we do not know how something will work out? Our faith in Jesus for our future is built on our willingness to follow Him, trusting that He knows what is best, even when we cannot see what He is doing. If we only trust God when we can see what He is doing, we are not trusting Him at all, but trusting in our own seeing.

In our text this week, John 13:31-35, this kind of trust is called for. Jesus has made it clear to the disciples that His time on earth is limited. Perhaps some of the disciples even recognized that Jesus might be killed (see John 11:16). But, as that time drew closer, the disciples grew more and more agitated, more concerned about being separated from their leader. Not knowing exactly what would happen, not knowing how this all would work for God’s glory and in His plan, the disciples were fearful of not being with Jesus. And so, in verse 33, Jesus again tells the disciples that they cannot go where He is going—He is going to do His work, and they cannot come.

Simon Peter, speaking for all the disciples, I am sure, cannot accept this. Where Jesus is going, he wants to go! There is nothing that Jesus can do that Peter doesn’t want to be a part of: no danger, no trial, that Peter will not share. While this represents extreme naiveté on Peter’s part, and, as we know from later in the story, is totally false, I believe it also represents this drive we all have to know what is going on, not to be excluded from what is happening. Like my daughter wanting to know what is being recorded, the disciples want to know what Jesus is doing, and where He will be going. Jesus’ call, however, to His disciples, ALL His disciples, is not always to know everything, to understand what is happening. His call is to trust, to have faith in Him, that what He is doing is for the best. Without knowing what is around the corner, that kind of faith is hard… it is also exactly what the Christian is to demonstrate every day. We practice our faith together, in trusting in the Lord, even when we do not know… especially, when we do not know.

As we prepare for worship together this Sunday, read John 13:31-35.

1. Why does Jesus wait until Judas (see verses 21-30) departs to say these things?

2. There is a circularity to the glorifying here: Jesus glorifies the Father who glorifies Jesus as He glorifies Himself. Read the verse carefully and see if you can make sense of it. Why do you think Jesus words it this way?

3. John 13:33, this is the only time in the Gospels that Jesus refers to His disciples as “little children”. Why do you think He chose to do so here?

4. When did Jesus speak this way to the Jews (see verse 33)? What connection might Jesus be making when He links these two sayings?

5. The commandment to love one another is a wonderful sentiment… but what exactly do you think Jesus means by that? All of us have been “loved” by another sometimes in ways that, frankly, we wish they wouldn’t. So, what does Jesus mean?

6. What is “new” about this commandment? After all, wasn’t the command to love others also present in the Old Testament?

7. What do you think about the predictive outcome mentioned in John 13:35? If you don’t know what I mean here… come! Let’s talk about it on Sunday!

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Feelin' Queasy - Henry Knapp

Normally, I have a pretty settled stomach. I have been known to react poorly to eating a few things, but in general things don’t affect me too much. Food things, that is. There are other things that will indeed make my stomach twist around, things that make me feel nauseous, groggy, or unsettled.

I’ll confess to not being a fan of certain medical thingys—if I’m ever visiting you in the hospital, do not feel compelled to show me your incision. Slimy bugs, creepy-crawly sea creatures, and sappy love stories don’t do much for me either. (Ok, I lied. I like the sappy love stories).

Having my feet washed by someone else, though I have never had the experience, seems to qualify as “queasy producing”. I’m just not sure how I’d feel about that. Not that I have special feelings about feet or anything—it’s just that someone touching my feet would be so, well, demeaning, so uncomfortable! I can imagine my mind screaming: “Egads, don’t touch my feet! They are too… worldly, too earthy for you to touch; you are too good to go playing with my feet.”

Kelly grew up in a church tradition where once a year the congregation would gather for a foot washing ceremony. They would sit in a large circle, men in one area, women in another. The person next to you would remove your shoes, wash your feet, wipe them dry, then pass you the water basin and towel and you would then wash the next person’s feet. The idea of serving another this way sounds pretty cool; the idea of someone washing my feet, on the other hand, makes me feel queasy.

So, I’m kind of sympathetic to Peter. In the biblical account when Jesus washed the feet of His disciples, Peter is dumbfounded. He can’t imagine that Jesus would stoop to do that. We’re not told exactly what so mystified Peter; but I wouldn’t be surprised if he was queasy at the thought that His Lord, Jesus, would be touching his feet, would so humiliate Himself and “lower” Himself to do that. Jesus is simply too, way too, good for that!

I also feel for Peter in how he responds to Jesus’ rebuke. After pulling away in queasy shock and semi-horror at the thought that Jesus would wash his feet, Jesus explains that He must do this if Peter is to be counted as one of His own. And Peter, full of enthusiasm and passion for his Lord, now wants Jesus to wash every part of him! If feet connect me to Jesus, then wash even more, wash it all so I can be even more connected! Peter’s reacting exactly like I would react! “No, never, Lord… OK, then EVERYTHING, Lord!”

Once again, Peter has misunderstood what’s happening. Jesus tries to explain: I have made you clean, and if I have made you clean, you need not keep trying to be clean; I’ve already done the job. Washing the feet is just reminding, restoring the relationship. Jesus has a goal—that we would be clean. Of course, the “clean” Jesus is talking about here is not “clean from dirt”, but a real clean, a cleanliness of spirit, of intimacy with God. We have been cleaned by the Master Washer, and we need never fear uncleanness again. When Jesus washes the disciples’ feet, He is demonstrating for them what He has come to do—to serve, to give of Himself in this amazing way. And, once clean, we are clean forever!

As you prepare for worship this week, read John 13:1-20.

1. The opening verse here seems to cover a lot more than just Jesus washing the disciples’ feet. What might “loved them to the end” imply and/or cover?

2. In this passage (and down through the next section), how is the role of Satan described? It would be easy to blame it all on him… yet, does John do that?

3. Verses 4 and 5 are wonderfully descriptive. You can really “see” it all happening, no? Why do you think each detail is included?

4. You’ve read my thoughts on Peter’s reactions above… read verses 6-10 again. What motivates Peter here?

5. In verse 12, Jesus asks: “Do you understand what I have done for you?” Well? Do we? What is the purpose of Jesus’ actions here?

6. In verse 14, one purpose is fairly clear—to provide a model we should follow. But how? Is a literal foot washing ceremony in view here? What characteristics should be reflected in one who takes this seriously?

7. Reflect on the promise of verse 17. Wow, huh? 

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

How to Spend a Life - Doug Rehberg

The man writes, “There was a time in my life when I thought the church talked too much about money. So, I stayed away. But in 1991 it all changed for me. It was then that I determined that I’ll never belong to a church that doesn’t ask me for money. And I’ll tell you why. On July 23, 1970, my wife gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. For three years we had tried unsuccessfully to start a family, and now he was here. I’ll never forget hearing his first cry. It was right before the hospital was allowing fathers in the delivery room, so I had to wait outside in the adjoining room. When the nurse came in to tell me, I spoke first. I said, ‘Is that my baby?’ The nurse smiled and said, ‘Yes, your wife has just given birth to a beautiful baby boy.’ I was on cloud nine. I had always wanted a boy, and here he was. I could hardly wait to get him home. But the rich glow of fatherhood soon dimmed when I was asked to go to the business office. It seems that my insurance coverage was less than advertised, and there was a big bill to pay. In fact, it seemed like they were going to hold my wife and son hostage until the bill was settled. So, I drove home, grabbed my checkbook and wrote out the biggest check I had written in years. But you know what? That was only the first check I’d write on my son’s behalf.

“I quickly learned that children are expensive. There’s food to buy and formula to get. And then there are all those diapers. There are doctor visits and booster shots. There are toys and trips and clothes to assault the checkbook on a regular basis. I quickly learned that by the time you build a wardrobe, he’s put on another inch or two and you have to start all over again. And as his size increased, so did the expenses. Soon, it was baseball gloves and hockey sticks. Soon, it was dress shoes, then gym shoes, then running shoes, not to mention the glasses and the braces. And then disaster hit. My son became a teenager. Now it was cars and dates and brand names. All my son ever wanted to be was an architect. It seemed like he’d be in school until my retirement. Talk about expensive! There was tuition and books, drawing tools and drawing tables. But, like most parents, we were happy to do it. We never saw our financial sacrifice as a bitter burden. He was growing up. He was pursuing his potential. He was living out his dreams, and it was a joy to help. In fact, my wife and I felt like that’s what we were there for.

“Then one day it all changed. On a bright, sunny, horrible day in October we buried our son, Lance, in a small country cemetery. And that afternoon, as we walked away from the grave, I had an interesting thought. We’d never spend another dime on him. Death is cheap. Death can be sustained without any expense. The dead have no need of money, only the living do. Life’s expensive. Growth costs. That’s why I’ll never belong to a church that doesn’t ask me for money.”

You know, the man’s right. There are churches that have no vision. There are churches that have no dreams and no plans. They set no goals and reach them all the time. There are churches that never challenge their people to see what the Lord has in store for them. They’re headed to the cemetery. They’re headed to the place where there are few expenses. For you see, its only growth that requires a cost. It’s only life that requires a sacrifice for a fuller future. And that’s exactly what we see in Sunday’s text: John 12:20-28.

For three years Jesus has been saying, “My time has not yet come.” Not only has Jesus been saying it, so has John. During his description of Jesus’ three-year ministry John has repeated the same message, “His time had not yet come.” But it all changes in John 12:23. This verse is the fulcrum on which the entire gospel of John rests. Everything to the left of it refers to Jesus’ three-year ministry before the final Passover, and everything to the right of it refers to what He does during and after it. And it’s in the immediate verses after His pronouncement that His time has come that Jesus gives us four secrets to getting the most out of His call on our lives. They are four principles of living that reflect what it means to follow Him. And this Sunday we will examine them together.

As you prepare for our study this Sunday, you may wish to consider the following:

1. What is it that triggers Jesus’ turnaround from, “My time has not yet come”, to “It’s here!”?
2. Why do many call verse 23 the watershed of John’s gospel?
3. What does the Greeks’ presence at the Passover mean to Jesus and to John?
4. How does loving your life cause you to lose it?
5. What does hating your life mean?
6. How does Romans 6:1-11 inform us?
7. Why would Paul, Peter, & John have a problem with the ubiquitous diagnosis in the church today that someone is “hurting”?
8. What’s Jesus mean in verse 24? What other Scriptures come to mind?
9. What does it mean to see where Jesus is at work and then joining Him?
10. How does that man who lost a son exemplify what Jesus is telling us in this text?

See you Sunday!  

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

His Royal Highness - Doug Rehberg

As a Methodist circuit preacher came riding into town on an old, broken-down horse, a young boy sat at the corner with rolled-up pants and his shirttails hanging out. The preacher said, “Son, which one of these roads will take me to Stoughton, the one to the right or the one to the left?” The boy said nothing. He just sat there.

The preacher said, “Son, which way to Stoughton?” The boy just sat there. Finally, the minister got down off his horse and walked over to the boy and tapped him on his shoulder, “Which way, son?” The young boy looked up and asked, “Who are you?” The preacher said, “I am a follower of the Lord!” The boy said, “Well, it don’t matter which way you take, you’ll never catch him on that hoss.”

When Jesus rides into Jerusalem to begin the last week of His earthly ministry it’s not to catch anybody. It’s the opposite. He’s there to be caught. He’s riding to His death. With this entrance the die is cast, and no gospel-writer comprehends this fact any better than John. Indeed, chapter 12 marks the great divide in his gospel. Chapters 1 to 12:11 detail the first 155 weeks of Jesus’ earthly ministry. Chapters 12:12 through chapter 21 detail the last week. Among the four gospel writers, no one is more thorough in his treatment of Jesus’ final days than John, and he starts where they all start, with this ride.

Now the truth is that John’s account of the Triumphant Entry is the leanest of all accounts. In fact, John’s 8 verses are rarely read or preached on Palm Sunday. While his words describing this event are often overlooked, that’s a mistake. For here in 8 verses he gives us a glimpse into the Kingship of Jesus that everyone there that day misses, and many still miss. In fact, John seems to highlight the extent of the blindness in verse 16 when he says, “His disciples did not understand things at first, but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things had been written about him and had been done to him.”

This Sunday, the first communion of the decade at Hebron, we will dig deeply into John’s 8-verse-account of this famous ride. We will look at four “D’s”: the DESIGNATION (verse 13), the DETERMINATION (verse 14), the DELUSION (verse 18), and the DECLARATION (verse 19). In preparation for Sunday’s message, “His Royal Highness” you may wish to consider the following:

1. How does Jesus prove He’s in charge of the events of Palm Sunday?
2. Why does He wait for Lazarus to be raised from the dead before riding into Jerusalem?
3. How does this ride reflect the words of Isaiah 53:4-5?
4. What does John mean in verse 16 when he refers to his own blindness to the events of this day?
5. What is the importance of Zechariah 9:9 to John?
6. Why do the crowds cry out what they do?
7. What’s the meaning of a king riding a donkey in the First Century?
8. How do they miss Jesus’ clear, visible message?
9. What’s the primary motivator for the crowd that day? (See verse 18)
10. What do the Pharisees mean in verse 19? Are they right?

See you as we prepare to come to His table on Sunday!

Thursday, January 9, 2020

A Gift for the One I Love - Henry Knapp

What do you get someone who has everything? The perpetual birthday/Christmas question. What gift can we find for someone who really doesn’t need anything we might be able to give?

My parents are now in their 80s, and we have long ago exhausted every possible gift idea. It helps that my father responds to anything chocolate like it’s manna from heaven, and that if it has a Steeler emblem on it, it should be treated as gold. But even so, how many Steeler ties can you wear to church each week? My mother is a bit easier, but only because she is classy enough, and kind enough, to act like, yes, really! THIS dishtowel is actually the best one ever!

Of course, at its best, we are not giving gifts to actually give the other person something, but to express to them our love and care. And this paves the way for us to ask—What can we give to Jesus our Lord? We well know that Jesus doesn’t NEED anything. We can’t give Him something that He doesn’t already have. We can’t give Him any more glory than is already His. We can’t give the Lord of creation our money, it’s His to begin with. We can’t give Him our lives—He already owns them. But, that doesn’t mean we don’t have that drive to give to Him, that yearning to show Him our love and devotion by offering Him… well… what He already owns!

Now, some people will distort this—many people have distorted this—so that our giving is somehow a way of making God pleased with us. Our offerings, our gifts to the Lord, are seen, not as a free expression of adoration, but as a means of currying favor. We do things for our God with the hope that He will do good things in return. What a horrid relationship that is! Can you imagine voicing that out loud on Christmas morning—“Here, mom, here’s my gift to you; but just so you know, I’m only giving it to you so you feel compelled to give me something good in return.” AHHHH! Sure, it’s wonderful to get gifts. Sure, I want to give gifts to those who give them to me. But, not because they give me gifts, but because our relationship is marked by love, respect, and devotion.

So, if not to win God’s approval or His blessings, why do we so desperately want to give something, anything to Him? Because, that’s what you do when you love someone—you give, and give, and give to another. Every birthday, every Christmas, we dig and dig, seeking the right gift—the gift that will not provide them something they don’t already have, but to give them the gift that expresses the depth of our relationship.

In our text this week, Mary, the sister of Lazarus, gives an extravagant, wonderful gift to Jesus. Never once is there a hint that she is doing so to earn His pleasure, or that she is trying to get something from Him. Her gift is motivated from her desire to express her adoration, her love, her devotion to Jesus her Lord.

It is my prayer that we too will give all we have out of love to our Savior, Jesus Christ.

As you prepare for worship this week, read John 12:1-11.

1. Give a quick scan at the verses immediately before this story. How do they shape the storyline here?

2. In verse 1 we are told that the Passover is coming. What implications are present from that statement?

3. Notice how they describe Lazarus—we just left him, I don’t think the author needed to mention this… but he did. Why?

4. Both Martha and Mary make an appearance here. Notice that they are “in character”. Is this a good thing or bad?

5. Just like there is a description of Lazarus, there is a description given of Judas. Why do you think the author describes him thus?

6. In verse 5, Judas questions the value of anointing Jesus as Mary has done, drawing the contrast with using the money to help others. What current church debates might follow this same pattern?

7. Jesus’ comment that the poor will always be with us means what? What attitude is Jesus trying to bring forth in His followers?