John, a Man’s Man

I’m walking through the Gospel of John with my youth at my house and with that in mind and with the approaching Easter celebration, I’m reposting some thoughts I had last year at this time.

I was spending some time today reading the different gospel accounts of the Resurrection as I spiritually prepare for the Easter celebration.  Those who have read books or Scripture several times know what it is like to suddenly see something new in the words that were not obvious before or that you simply missed because you were looking for something else.

Today I had that experience with John, the one Jesus loved.  Now, I had never missed that statement before because John says it over and over again in the Gospel of John and it always strikes me as humorous when he refers to himself that way – “the one Jesus loved”.

Today I was reading and comparing the different account of the women trying to convince the men that Jesus had risen. [Note who comprehended the truth first. :) ] Anyway, in the gospel of John, note John’s description of what happened.

Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone was moved away from the entrance. She ran at once to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, breathlessly panting, ‘They took the Master from the tomb. We don’t know where they’ve put him.’ Peter and the other disciple left immediately for the tomb.  They ran, neck and neck.  The other disciple got to the tomb first, outrunning Peter.”  John 20:2-4

I was laughing out loud when I read this.  Of all that was going on – Christ’s body was missing from the tomb – John makes sure to mention that he and Peter were running neck and neck and he got there first – outrunning Peter.  Doesn’t that just sound like guys?  I mean, really who cares?  Women wouldn’t mention those facts. There would be a simple statement that they ran to the tomb (maybe a sidenote about what shoes were carrying them there so quickly) but other than that, we’d get to the point – JESUS isn’t there!!

John, “the other disciple” goes on to say in the next verse

“Stopping to look in, he [John] saw the pieces of linen cloth lying there,  but he didn’t go in. Simon Peter arrived after him, entered the tomb, observed the linen cloths lying there, and the kerchief used to cover his head not lying with the linen cloths but separate, neatly folded by itself.  Then the other disciple, the one who had gotten there first, went into the tomb, took one look at the evidence, and believed.”

Just in case you missed the point in the first few verses, John wants to remind you that he got there first.  He outran Peter.  Oh, and yes, he took one look at the evidence and believed. :) Way to go, John, the beloved, the one Jesus loved, the one who outran Peter.  This account sounds just like my high school guys.

John was a man’s man.

Happy Easter. Whether you can outrun John or not, I do pray that you will take a look at the evidence and believe.  Believe that you, like John, can lay claim as the one Jesus loves.

Crazy Sister Love

Today I turned in my devotion for our upcoming Lenten devotional book here at the church.  It is a wonderful treasure of writings and art from members of our church and it is a blessing to read the thoughts and hearts of individuals that often don’t get the opportunity to share.

My devotion was based on the John 12:1-11 passage where Jesus is anointed with expensive oils by Mary, Lazarus’s sister.

Growing up, my sister and I had your normal sibling love/hate relationship.  I can remember some fun times and I remember some passionate fights but when she left for college, our friendship blossomed and two years later when I followed her to college, we roomed together.  We often made trips to Springfield, Missouri, for some “culture” and that included shopping.  On one trip to Battlefield Mall, we walked past a store of paintings and prints and I was struck by one displayed in the window.  It was a large print of a painting titled Reflections by Lee Teter of a man leaning against the Vietnam Memorial with soldier images reflected from inside “The Wall”.  I fell in love with the print immediately and went in to see how much it cost.  It was $60.  It might as well have been $600 to this poor college student.

 

Several months later on my nineteenth birthday, I unwrapped the gift from my sister – still a college student herself.  It was the print.  I was in shock.  What an extravagant gift for her to give to me! Especially when I could be such a brat of a sister. It is one of the few gifts that I’ve ever cried over – not because of how much it cost (which I felt bad about) but because I knew she loved me.  She really loved me!

 

Mary loved Jesus.  She really loved Him.  So much so that she broke the alabaster jar and poured onto the feet of Jesus her most extravagant gift.  The disciples were shocked at the waste of such expensive oils but they missed the point.  This was a sacred moment with Jesus. Mary realized it. Mary sensed it.  And Mary responded giving all that she had – the precious oils and herself – in love to Christ. 

 

My sister broke the alabaster jar and gave me a cherished print – and her love.  Today, that print hangs in my living room in a prominent place.  When I look at it, I am moved not only by the story in the painting but by the story behind the painting as well.

 

What is in your alabaster jar?  What is in mine?  What is the most extravagant and sacrificial gift we can present to Jesus on this journey to the Cross to show our love for Him and Him alone?