Seeing is believing
"Jesus said to him, "Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe."" (John 20:29)
Last week we spoke about if we believe what do we believe. This week I want to ask you about explaining, or telling about what you believe, know For instance we live on the prairie -- I love it here, on the prairie, but I can't tell you how many times I have tried to explain "rolling hills," not "flat." Or the wind -- have you been asked (or told) about the wind? I know a few people who had to be here, experience "our" wind, before they believed me that 20mph winds were "calm."
Our Gospel reading, in John, is Jesus appearing "again" to the Disciples. He has now appeared to quite a few -- Mary, on the road to Emmaus, the Disciples in the upper room and now he is there again. This time, a week after the first time everyone, including Thomas, are there. Remember Thomas is the one called "the twin." (v. 24) He has probably been mistaken for Jesus on a number of occasions so, understandably(?), he questions if the others really saw Jesus or just "thought" they saw Jesus. We can believe because we both "know the rest of the story" and because we have seen, know and believe the changes that happened in these believers' lives.
As we are sharing our faith do people see the difference in our lives? As we are encouraging others to follow where God is leading do people see us following where God is leading, doing what God is asking us to do? A sign, given me by a friend, says "Live in such a way that those who know you but don't know God will come to know God because they know you......." Do we? Something to think about.....
"Jesus said to her, "Mary." She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, "Rabboni!" (Which means "Teacher"). John 20:16
Who do you believe? What do you believe? What do you do with what you believe? I don't know about you but I believe the sun will come up in the east and go down in the west. I believe my niece's "dog-o-meter." If the dog comes back in wet - it's raining, white - it's snowing, warm - it's sunny out (all of which is more accurate than the weather prediction). The question is what do we do with what we believe?
We are in the Gospel of John for the reading this morning. In Luke several women have gone to the tomb with the spices to anoint the body. (Luke 24) In John we are told about one of the women, specifically, Mary Magdalene. We are told she finds the stone "rolled away." (20:1) We are told she "ran" (v. 2) and found Peter and "the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved." (v. 2) We are told the two men go to the tomb, find the stone rolled away, the tomb empty - everything Mary said. We are told "the went home." (v. 10) Mary, however is standing there crying, talking to two angels (v.12), and the person she thinks is the gardener. Then, when Jesus calls her by name, she "turned." (v. 16) The Greek word for "turned" means changing direction or action. We see, hear and can feel Mary's reaction as she believes. And Mary goes and shares with the disciples. (v. 18)
Which brings us back to what do we believe? Do we really believe the tomb was empty? IF we believe who are we telling?
"saying, "Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest heaven!"" (Luke 19:38)
Have you ever been in a parade? I have on several occasions. I actually played in the high school band and have, in the years since, been "in the parade" for different reasons. We all like to watch parades, too -- right? Think of the Thanksgiving or New Year's Day parades with all the beautiful floats. What about a "pick up" parade - where someone starts the parade and people just seem to join in? Have you ever been in one? Have you ever seen one? I don't remember ever being in one or, when I think about it, even seeing one.
The Gospel reading, today, is a parade. Jesus is entering Jerusalem with people participating in, and watching, the "parade" as it goes by. There are a LOT Of people, doing both, from all over. People are gathering for Passover, the Sabbath has ended and quite a few have figured out who Jesus is. There are some, however, who would have come from other countries, or from other parts of the area, who would not have known not only who Jesus was they wouldn't have known anything about the ministry (and miracles) Jesus had been doing. There would have been several reactions to what people were watching..... The ones who were familiar with Scripture would have understood the importance of Jesus on a donkey - they would remember the Scripture reference. There would also be some who would react like Nathanael when told Jesus came from Nazareth: "Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?" (John 1:46)
What is your reaction? Where are you in the story? Are you a part of the crowd but don't really know what is happening or why? Are you some of Jesus' followers excited and joining in? Can you answer who Jesus is and WHY you are shouting and waving palm branches? Something to think about......
give what?! How much!?
"Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, annointed Jesus' feet, and wiped them with her hair." (John 12:3a)
Has this ever happened to you? Some one asks you to help with something, you have agreed and then you find out how much it will cost? You find out instead of a quick help it is going to take time - time to organize, time to do and time to clean up. OR..... you say yes, only to find out how much money is going to be needed. Now what is your reaction? For the last few weeks we, during Lent, have been wondering what God is asking - where is God leading. So what is God asking you to do?
The Gospel reading today is taking place at Lazarus' house in Bethany six days before the Passover. Mary, Lazarus' and Martha's sister, is annointing Jesus' feet and drying his feet with her hair. We are also told "the house was filled with the fragrence." (12:3b) Mary is wanting to do something, give something to the Teacher, Master, friend she has been following and learning from. We are not told if she is following what God is asking her to do. What we are told, in just a few verses, is how much the perfume costs - "a year's wages." (John 12:5) We know, because we know the 'rest' of the story, Mary is annointing Jesus in preparation for his coming death.
So...... What is your reaction when you find out the cost? When you find out how much time and, or, money is going to be involved? As Caregivers, what is our attitude as we are "giving"? Definitely something to be thinking about.......
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.