Rivers in the Dry Wasteland

Isaiah 43:16-21

 

 

Forget the Exodus, God would do a new thing, a far greater thing.  The Exodus would be a sign pointing towards this new and greater “pathway through the wilderness” (19).

There is no doubt that the immediate context is the LORD delivering Israel from their captivity in Babylon, something he’d already begun to do (18). Yet there is so much more to come.  Israel would honour God before the whole world.  Out of Israel would come the Saviour, the Source of “rivers in the dry wasteland” (20).

We meet him here in the Gospel reading which follows.

John 12:1-8

Questions:

  1. Why does John situate this event in time by telling us that it happened “six days before Passover”?

  2. Was Jesus not putting his life in danger by going back to Bethany (because they’d tried to kill him after raising Lazarus from the dead)?

  3. Why was Jesus being honoured with a meal?

  4. What did it mean for Mary to anoint Jesus?

  5. Why does John paint such a black picture of Judas?

  6. What can we learn from this Scripture?

Answers:

  1. In John’s Gospel, the events of the previous 11 chapters have all been leading up to this final week of Jesus’ life.  Right from it’s beginning, Jesus is described as “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). It was at Passover that the streets of Jerusalem would run red with the blood of animals sacrificed at the Temple, reminding Israel of their exodus from slavery in Egypt. The blood on the door-frames was a sign that protected the home and spared the families from death (Exodus 12).  John is telling us that Jesus’ death saves people and his resurrection brings them eternal life.

  2. Yes, but Jesus didn’t put his self above the mission for which he was sent.  He shows us the total self-giving nature of God.

  3. Because he’d raised Lazarus from the dead.  Lazarus’ family would probably have been followers of Jesus.

  4. John tells us it was to prepare the body for burial, a sign of his impending death.  The fragrance filling the whole house points to the way in which Jesus’ death would be for benefit of the whole world.

  5. John portrays his Gospel as a conflict between dark and light, good and evil.  Judas is marked as the hand of evil at work against the goodness of God.

  6. Jesus commends Mary’s extravagance.  Jesus is worth giving all we have to, including our whole lives.  What matters most is that, like Mary, we learn to see his love and respond with what we have whenever we can.

Any further thoughts anyone?

 

 

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