Preparation for Resurrection Day
April 2, 2023
Some of the great adventures in the history of the world are the trips men have taken to the moon. While we look back at the ventures with a sense of awe because of the technology that was used to get astronauts there — the quests were filled with much uncertainty. There was so much uncertainty that prior to the safe arrival on and departure of Apollo 11 from the moon, presidential speech writer William Safire wrote a short memo to be read by President Nixon should astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin become stranded on the moon, unable to return to earth:
Fate has ordained that the men who went to the moon to explore in peace will stay on the moon to rest in peace. These brave men, Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin, know that there is no hope for their recovery. But they also know that there is hope for mankind in their sacrifice.
These two men are laying down their lives in mankind’s most noble goal: the search for truth and understanding.…
The men were graced to make it safely there and home. But we also appreciate that preparations had been made for every eventuality, including the possibility that they might not come home.
Of far greater significance is the preparation that Christ made for His crucifixion and resurrection. One week prior to His resurrection, and a few days prior to His crucifixion He was widely celebrated as the Messiah as He entered Jerusalem. That was a public proclamation and a public preparation for the following events. But one day prior to that grand entry, Jesus also prepared His followers for what was coming when He shared a meal with the 12 and a few others. In the privacy of that home, preparations for His crucifixion were underway as Jesus was anointed by Mary with “burial oil” — and along with that preparation, hearts were being exposed about how people perceived Christ. One writer has said:
The account of the anointing is at the heart a tale of contrasts: on the one hand is Mary’s lavish devotion to Jesus, on the other the looming prospect of Judas’s betrayal of his master. In another contrast, the man whom Jesus had raised from the dead, Lazarus, takes part in the dinner, while Jesus himself is anointed for burial. This is the time for devotion or antagonism toward Jesus to come to the fore. The narrative enters a crucial phase.” [Köstenberger, Encountering John, 136.]
Along with all the other details of the story and the preparations that are made for Christ’s crucifixion, we see what people really thought about Jesus. Here is the lesson of the story we want to be attentive to today:
When our lives intersect with Christ, the character of our worship is quickly revealed.
In the brief account of Jesus’ anointing, we see six pictures of varied responses to Christ.
Here are six pictures of people who worshipped in a variety of ways, each revealing the condition of their hearts toward God. Some were devoted to Him. Others were distracted away from Him. All were worshippers. But some were devoted and true worshippers while others were distracted and false worshippers.
As we consider these responses, we might ask ourselves, “What is the state of my worship of Christ? Am I devoted? (How deep is my devotion?) Or am I distracted? (What is keeping me from joyful devotion?)”
- Martha: A Picture of Grateful Service of Christ (v. 2)
- Mary: A Picture of Passionate Devotion to Christ (v. 3)
- Judas: A Picture of Angry Resentment Against Christ (vv. 4-6)
- The Twelve: A Picture of Wavering Sentiments for Christ (vv. 7-8)
- The Crowds: A Picture of Curious Belief in Christ (vv. 9-11)
- Lazarus: A Picture of Transforming Grace from Christ
Download the rest of this sermon on John 12:1-11.
The audio will be posted on the GBC website by tomorrow.