We all want to be accepted for who we are and for what we have to offer. What a blow it is, then, to be dismissed, ostracized, and rejected.

No one knew this experience more deeply than Jesus. Offering acceptance for so many, he was still misunderstood, feared, and ultimately put to death.

God offers this acceptance now to you. Open your heart to receive that love, as well as the one who came to show it to us.

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Six days before the Passover Jesus came to Bethany, the home of Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. There they gave a dinner for him. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those at the table with him. Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus’ feet, and wiped them with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (the one who was about to betray him), said, “Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and the money given to the poor?” (He said this not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief; he kept the common purse and used to steal what was put into it.) Jesus said, “Leave her alone. She bought it so that she might keep it for the day of my burial. You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.” When the great crowd of the Jews learned that he was there, they came not only because of Jesus but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. So the chief priests planned to put Lazarus to death as well, since it was on account of him that many of the Jews were deserting and were believing in Jesus.

John 12:1–11

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Jesus’ action compels a response.

Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. Jesus demonstrated that he is “the resurrection and the life,” the one sent from God to show us how much God loves us. Raising Lazarus showed that God’s love is more powerful than death.

Mary responded by taking a valuable possession and using it to bless Jesus with love and tenderness. Jesus defended her gift as appropriate extravagance.

The chief priests responded with plotting and scheming to do violence to Lazarus. They wanted to silence the message of Jesus. They didn’t want to lose their influence over the people.

Jesus’ action demands a response. Acceptance or rejection? Tenderness or schemes? Love and new life or violence and no life? Jesus shows us that God loves us. How shall we respond?

Jay Kieve

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Jesus, help me to accept your love for me. Show me how to respond with tenderness, love, and new life. Amen.

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Jesus is coming. Will you accept him?
You have a gift. Will you offer it?
There will be sacrifice. Can you make it?

The Gospel of Christ is scandalous,
Yet it contains the very bread of life.

The choice is yours to make.

Jay Kieve

Jay Kieve is coordinator for the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of South Carolina. His wife, Melanie, works for Clemson University. His son, Jesse (17), is a junior at Indian Springs School in Alabama and his daughter, Emma (13), is a 7th grader at McCants Middle School in South Carolina.

Reflections on the Way: Son of My Soul

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