Give the Devil Notice

“Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” The crowd that stood there and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not mine. Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” He said this to show by what kind of death he was going to die. So the crowd answered him, “We have heard from the Law that the Christ remains forever. How can you say that the Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?” So Jesus said to them, “The light is among you for a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you. The one who walks in the darkness does not know where he is going. While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.” John 12:27-36.

A voice speaks from the heavenly realm, but some only hear thunder. Likewise, Jesus says the ruler of this world will be cast out and they don’t realize He is speaking of Satan. When the price is paid for all our sin, Satan will lose his legal claim on man. Satan himself has no idea what he is getting himself into by stirring up the execution of the Son of God. “But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” (1 Corinthians 2:7-8).

Those of us who believe in Jesus, and what He’s done for us, are walking in the light. We understand that sin’s power has been wrecked by the blood of Christ, that is sufficient to save us for all time. Satan relies entirely on man’s unbelief to hold sway over the earth. He is a trespasser now, and we are able to overcome and remove him and his devils with a court order that claims our debt has been cancelled. We have been reinstated as children of God.

“His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.” (2 Peter 1:3-4).

The Rigged Election

The next day the large crowd that had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!” And Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, just as it is written,

“Fear not, daughter of Zion;
behold, your king is coming,
sitting on a donkey’s colt!”

His disciples did not understand these 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. The crowd that had been with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to bear witness. The reason why the crowd went to meet him was that they heard he had done this sign. So the Pharisees said to one another, “You see that you are gaining nothing. Look, the world has gone after him.”

Now among those who went up to worship at the feast were some Greeks. So these came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and asked him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” Philip went and told Andrew; Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. And Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.” John 12:12-26.

The people were so convinced, after Lazarus was raised from the dead, that Jesus was the new king of Israel. The religious rulers, looking at the crowds, feared that the people would declare Jesus king and bring on the wrath of Rome. Meanwhile, Jesus stayed on message: His glorification would come at the expense of His life. He was coming to His inevitable crucifixion and resurrection. And nobody voted for this.

It is only human nature to look with our natural eyes to understand what is happening. It is in our divine nature that we are able to see what God is doing. During the time of Jesus’s life that we now call Holy Week, no one saw what was really happening because the Holy Spirit had not yet been given. Today, we don’t have that excuse.

The king is on the throne. Satan has been defeated. We who believe in Jesus and what He has done for us are now a kingdom of priests, declaring the Good News that God is no longer holding our sins against us. The vote got counted already. We are looking for those who have been elected, those who will hear and follow Christ. Politics is irrelevant. The kingdom grows under the most adverse circumstances because the fix is in. The meek will inherit the earth, not the rich and powerful. The many will be called, but the few have been chosen.

Mary and Judas

Six days before the Passover, Jesus therefore came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. So they gave a dinner for him there. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those reclining with him at table. Mary therefore took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (he who was about to betray him), said, “Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief, and having charge of the moneybag he used to help himself to what was put into it. Jesus said, “Leave her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of my burial. For the poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me.” John 12:1-8.

Mary’s lavish display of love for Jesus was rather off-putting to Judas. He saw this as a frivolous expense. He criticized her and thought he knew better than to waste this expensive product on a display of affection. But Mary showed that she knew what was coming. She was anointing Him for burial. This would be a far greater gift to the poor than what a pound of spice would get.

Judas, who would eventually betray the Son of God, gets all indignant. He adopts the posture of one who is practical and a good steward, and even compassionate toward the poor. Mary adopts the posture of a servant, dropping her dignity along with gift of great price.

It is possible to be cheap and tight-fisted, believing yourself to be a good steward, and miss the opportunity to be generous toward God. Material things have a role to play, but it’s not the starring role.

Jesus is Now

Now when Jesus came, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days. Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles off, and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them concerning their brother. So when Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, but Mary remained seated in the house. Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” She said to him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.” John 11:17-27.

Martha had faith enough to believe that Jesus could have healed her brother. But when Jesus tells her that Lazarus will rise again, she responds with the equivalent of, “yeah, someday.” But Jesus tells her, “I am the resurrection and the life.” This is another “I am” statement from Jesus. Jesus is the eternal God. He always was, and always will be.

Jesus talks her off the ledge of unbelief and asks her if she believes. She renews her faith in Him, and now He is ready to pray.

If we only believe that Jesus was and someday will be, we will miss who He is now. If we hold fast to our modern ideas that miracles and healing have past away, we will be like the disobedient Hebrews who forgot that they had just seen the hand of God deliver them. “Yea, they turned back and tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel.” (Psalm 78:41).

Even though I believe those things are for today, I know that too many of His miracles in my own life are something that “used to be.” I must continually renew my own faith, because the gravitational pull of unbelief is a constant that never rests.

We Are Gods

At that time the Feast of Dedication took place at Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the colonnade of Solomon. So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me, but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”

The Jews picked up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you going to stone me?” The Jews answered him, “It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you but for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God.” Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I said, you are gods’? If he called them gods to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be broken— do you say of him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me; but if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.” Again they sought to arrest him, but he escaped from their hands. John 10:22-39.

Jesus was accused of blasphemy because He claimed to be the Son of God. But what makes one a Son of God? Jesus quotes the Psalms, which say, “You are gods, sons of the Most High, all of you;
nevertheless, like men you shall die, and fall like any prince.” (Psalm 82:6). Men, destined to die, are called gods. It is not the only time that men occupy this dual identity. In Luke 3:38, in the genealogy of Jesus, Adam is identified as the son of God. And it is a New Testament staple that those who believe in Jesus are called sons of God.

The Pharisees did not dare call themselves sons of God. They said they were sons of Abraham. They kept their God at arm’s length. They chose a lower standard. So Jesus had corrected them when He told them they were actually children of the devil, who is the father of lies. We are the children of the one we follow.

It is popular to say that all human beings are God’s children, but this is not true. All humans are made in God’s image, but not all humans have God’s nature. Peter wrote to us this: “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.” (2 Peter 1:3-4). Only those who believe God’s word and apply it to their lives are gods among men.