April 10, 2017

Isaiah 42:1-7


Here is my servant, whom I uphold,

my chosen, in whom my soul delights;

I have put my spirit upon him;

he will bring forth justice to the nations.

He will not cry or lift up his voice,

or make it heard in the street;

a bruised reed he will not break,

and a dimly burning wick he will not quench;

he will faithfully bring forth justice.

He will not grow faint or be crushed

until he has established justice in the earth;

and the coastlands wait for his teaching.

Thus says God, the Lord,

who created the heavens and stretched them out,

who spread out the earth and what comes from it,

who gives breath to the people upon it

and spirit to those who walk in it:

I am the Lord, I have called you in righteousness,

I have taken you by the hand and kept you;

I have given you as a covenant to the people,    

a light to the nations,

to open the eyes that are blind,

to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon,

from the prison those who sit in darkness.



Psalm 27:1-3, 13-14


The Lord is my light and my salvation;

whom shall I fear?

The Lord is the stronghold of my life;

of whom shall I be afraid?

When evildoers assail me

to devour my flesh—
my adversaries and foes—

they shall stumble and fall.

Though an army encamp against me,

my heart shall not fear;

though war rise up against me,

yet I will be confident.

I believe that I shall see the goodness of the Lord

in the land of the living.

Wait for the Lord;

be strong, and let your heart take courage;

wait for the Lord!



John 12:1-11


Six days before the Passover Jesus came to Bethany, the home of Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. There they gave a dinner for him. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those at the table with him. Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus’ feet, and wiped them with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (the one who was about to betray him), said, “Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and the money given to the poor?” (He said this not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief; he kept the common purse and used to steal what was put into it.) Jesus said, “Leave her alone. She bought it so that she might keep it for the day of my burial. You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.”

When the great crowd of the Jews learned that he was there, they came not only because of Jesus but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. So the chief priests planned to put Lazarus to death as well, since it was on account of him that many of the Jews were deserting and were believing in Jesus.





Sometimes religion gets a bad name. People who want to justify atheism declare that ‘religion’ starts many wars. We see something like that with the reaction of the Pharisees toward Lazarus. They wanted to kill Lazarus because many Jews believed in Jesus after he raised Lazarus from the dead.


We see a different reaction from Martha and Mary who honored Jesus with a dinner and anointed his feet with costly perfume.


Then there was Judas who was stealing. If he had loved Jesus more than money, he would not have said the nard was wasted on him.


In the separate accounts in this short reading, we see people are segregating themselves based on their reaction, not to religion, but to their relationship with Jesus. Jesus became the line of separation that brought out the Pharisees’ envy and Judas’ false charity.


We certainly can find in our own churches people who are territorial or envious like the Pharisees, or selfish and greedy, even outright thieves like Judas. The virtue of religion does not protect us from such things. But if we love Jesus and the new life he brings to us, like Lazarus and his sisters, our focus will be on honoring him and making him the center of our lives and not our religion, our agenda, or our personal advantage.


Prayer: Heavenly Father, I am grateful for your love and the gift of eternal life through Jesus. I desire to serve Jesus with a sincere heart. Help me to examine myself fearlessly, confess wrong attitudes, and be free from anything that could keep me separated from your everlasting love.

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