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Truth in Palmyra

By Wally Fry

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John

The Prophecy of Isaiah

John 12_40.JPG

John 12:39-41

Here, things get a bit complicated, as we see the almost incomprehensible balance of God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility. The prophet Isaiah had foretold the massive rejection of Jesus by His own people; in fact, in the eternal plan of redemption, this rejection was actually absolutely necessary. This is a difficult thing, for sure. It might even seem that God caused the Jewish nation to reject Jesus, as we see hinted at in the above passage. Yet, we see clearly the idea throughout Scripture that men make choices about God our Father and Jesus.

The eyes of the Jewish nation certainly did become blinded, rendering them unable to see. They absolutely made choices not to see the clear evidence before them. Friends, these non-believers hardened their own hearts, and God certainly allowed them to do that, and even knew that they would.

Despite our nature and tendency to reject and harden our hearts, God still reveals Himself to us all and offers all men and women the opportunity to come to Him. Jesus came as God in the flesh not for a few, or a pre-selected group of humanity; He came to extend His offer to all humanity. The choice is ours and ours alone. As you take a look at your own relationship or lack of with Jesus always remember that. If you have that relationship always remember it as well as you move through a largely non-believing world.

Lazarus a Living Testimony

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John 12:7-11

John 12:17-23

The non-believing world in the day of Jesus was hostile to our Lord, and got more and more hostile as His ministry continued. It seems fairly amazing that, in light of the clear and evident fact that Jesus raised Lazarus that the Pharisees still refused to believe in Him. Instead of believing, they were angry that others were choosing to believe in and follow Jesus. The solution of the Pharisees was to eradicate the evidence! Clearly, many of these men had seen the miracle of the raising of Lazarus and that many of those who chose to believe also had; yet, their response was to not simply ignore the evidence but to attempt to make the evidence go away. “If we only kill this guy Jesus raised from the dead, then our problems are solved;” this seemed to be the rather convoluted logic of the non-believing Pharisees.

Guess what, friends? Not a thing has changed. Even today, the non-believing world thinks if only they can erase the evidence of God, then God will cease to exist. Eternally sadly for them, that simply will not work. Just like the Pharisees could not actually erase the fact that Lazarus died and came back, the clear evidence of God and our Lord Jesus Christ likewise can never be erased. The only question is: who will we choose to believe?

The Evil Heart of Judas Iscariot

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John 12:4-6

Martha was not the only guest at this gathering who had something to say about what Mary was doing for Jesus. First, it seems beyond doubt that Martha loved her Lord, but was just somewhat distracted by the things going on; she had simply lost sight of priorities. Judas Iscariot, clearly, did NOT have good intentions in his heart. In fact, we know he rejected our Lord, and even today is eternally separated from Him in the torment of Hell.  What we see here is the posturing and preening of a man pretending to be righteous while really hiding evil in his heart.

Friends, that is true for many today. Of course not all are hiding overt evil in their hearts while pretending to do good as Judas was. Many are simply convinced that they can actually do enough proper and good things to warrant the favor of God. It simply does not matter, as the end result is the same. We cannot earn the favor or our God, nor can we even do enough to balance the scales in our favor eternally. We may not be hiding the level of evil in our hearts as Judas was, but the fact remains that our hearts are evil due to the fact that we have all fallen short of the perfection of God’s glory.

We have a choice. Will we rely on empty posturing and good works, or accept the full payment Jesus made on our behalf?

The Precious Gift of Mary

John 12_3

John 12:1-3

Many of us are very, very busy. Many of us are Marthas, so wrapped up in the things that we are “doing,” that we lose sight of many things more important. If we take a look at this story in Luke Chapter 10 we can see that Martha was “cumbered about much serving;” one translation says “Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made.”

In the middle of all of the excitement and preparations we see Mary seemingly doing nothing. If fact, in the Luke account, Martha calls out her sister for just that! To paraphrase, Martha more or less asks Jesus to make Mary get up and get busy doing something useful. Jesus quickly points out to Martha that Mary is actually doing the one thing that is important.

Friends, if you are one of the “busy” people, maybe it is time to take a step back and figure out if what we are “doing,” is the needful thing. Sometimes, let us just be a Mary, and spend some time with our Lord devotedly loving, worshiping and fellowshiping with Him. In this story, Jesus was heading quickly toward the appointed time at which He would allow Himself to be sacrificed as a payment for the sins of mankind. Today, this is finished and the sacrifice has been made. Will we respond like Mary, or will be get so busy running around “doing” things that we forget what really matters?

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