Thursday after Judica
Scripture: St. John 12:1-19 (NKJV)
1 Then, six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was who had been dead, whom He had raised from the dead. 2 There they made Him a supper; and Martha served, but Lazarus was one of those who sat at the table with Him.
3 Then Mary took a pound of very costly oil of spikenard, anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil. 4 Then one of His disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, who would betray Him, said, 5 “Why was this fragrant oil not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” 6 This he said, not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and had the money box; and he used to take what was put in it. 7 But Jesus said, “Let her alone; she has kept this for the day of My burial. 8 For the poor you have with you always, but Me you do not have always.”
9 Now a great many of the Jews knew that He was there; and they came, not for Jesus’ sake only, but that they might also see Lazarus, whom He had raised from the dead. 10 But the chief priests plotted to put Lazarus to death also, 11 because on account of him many of the Jews went away and believed in Jesus.
12 The next day a great multitude that had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, 13 took branches of palm trees and went out to meet Him, and cried out: “Hosanna! ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!’ The King of Israel!” 14 Then Jesus, when He had found a young donkey, sat on it; as it is written: 15 “Fear not, daughter of Zion; Behold, your King is coming, sitting on a donkey’s colt.” 16 His disciples did not understand these things at first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things were written about Him and that they had done these things to Him. 17 Therefore the people, who were with Him when He called Lazarus out of his tomb and raised him from the dead, bore witness. 18 For this reason the people also met Him, because they heard that He had done this sign. 19 The Pharisees therefore said among themselves, “You see that you are accomplishing nothing. Look, the world has gone after Him!”
“But the chief priests plotted to put Lazarus to death also.”
Down to the present day, zealots of false religions persecute the Christian faithful, even unto death. Often hatched by its chief teachers, the plot to destroy Christians becomes part and parcel of the religion itself. Out of hatred for the Christ, Whom they cannot destroy, and on account of the testimony to Christ’s gracious work that the Christian manifests in his daily life, the purveyors of false religion plot the demise of the faithful. Sometimes the aim is to rob the Christian of one of the greatest gifts that Christ gives—the very gift of life—but the ultimate goal of every false religion is to steal from the Christian the greatest of all gifts: eternal life through faith in Christ alone.
By God’s grace the chief priests were foiled in the effort to kill Lazarus. And, by God’s grace, we who are yet alive in this world have been preserved from hostilities at the hands of our enemies. Yet we must remain vigilant, for we Christians, like our brother Lazarus, have been raised from the dead by the Word of Christ. We stand as those in whom the work of Christ is manifest, having been baptized into Him and having been filled with Him when we feast upon His very flesh and blood. By our life of faith and love we are a living testimony to Him and to the one true faith, even to the end of our lives in this world—and the beginning of eternal life with Him!
We pray: We beseech Thee, Almighty God, mercifully to look upon Thy people, that by Thy great goodness we may be governed and preserved evermore both in body and soul; through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord. Amen.