Read: John 12:1-11
“Television won’t matter in your lifetime or mine,” claimed Rex Lambert in his 1936 article in The Listener. This article was published nine years after TV was invented in 1927 and echoed many early critics. Television clearly did not make a great first impression. Nevertheless, it soared in popularity in the 1950’s. TV quickly became accessible and vastly consequential, surpassing radio as the most influential mass media. Lambert and the critics missed the signs of the times. They could not see the incredible shift of communication in the world that was developing right in front of them.
John 12 talks about two major signs of events that would define the future of the world. Jesus is at a dinner honoring Him for raising His friend Lazarus from the dead. At the dinner, Mary anoints Jesus’ feet with oil in love and worship. Judas objects to the apparent waste, but Jesus interprets Mary’s actions differently. In 12:7 Jesus says, “Leave her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of my burial.” He is saying that Mary’s act points to His imminent death; it is a sign that Jesus will die and be buried.
Lazarus is also at the dinner. As seen in John 11:40-43, Jesus raised Lazarus to unveil God’s glory and to invite belief that God sent Him. In 12:9-11, this is exactly what starts to happen. Many people put faith in Jesus after this miracle, foreshadowing what is to come. Soon, Christ himself will rise from the dead and draw people to faith. Lazarus’ life is a symbol of the swiftly approaching resurrection. Combining the meaning of these two signs tells an incredible story! Jesus will die, but He will also rise to life again.
Notice however the reactions of Judas and the Pharisees. Judas scorns Mary because he is greedy. The Pharisees plot to kill Lazarus in verses 10-11 because Jesus draws crowds that they covet. They saw Christ Himself before them, and they completely missed the act of redemption He was about to bring about! How much more unlikely are we to see who Jesus is and what God is doing in the world if we are greedy and self-righteous?
Many people, like Judas and the Pharisees, are unwilling to accept that Jesus died for their sins and rose again because of their pride or skepticism. Critics of TV failed to see how technology would cause a major cultural shift with lasting effects. Similarly, people often criticize the Christian faith because they cannot accept that a man could be fully God, die a criminal’s death, and come back to life. Do you have the faith and humility to see who Jesus is?
Pride and greed blind us to the amazing truth of who Jesus is. Have you put your faith in Christ? If not, ask yourself why. If you are a follower of Christ, consider what ways you may be tempted to serve yourself rather than Christ.