This passage contains the infamous dinner at the newly resurrected Lazarus’ house where Lazarus’s sister anoints Jesus’ feet with very expensive Spikenard. Judas sees the “waste” of such an expensive product and complains, mostly because he loves money.
Then the scene shifts as Jesus decides to go into Jerusalem for Passover. It was already well known that folks in Jerusalem wanted to kill him and He had been strategic about coming publicly (“Rabbi, now were the Jews seeking to stone thee, and again thou dost go thither!” John 11:8 ; “And Jesus was walking after these things in Galilee, for he did not wish to walk in Judea, because the Jews were seeking to kill him.” John 7:1) As His followers came our to welcome their coming King Jesus their must of been an air of awkwardness as He rode a colt of a donkey and not a beautiful horse. This not only fulfilled prophecy about Christ (Zech. 9:9) but it spoke prophetically of how His Kingdom was NOT of this order. He was not coming to make Himself the physical King, He was coming to be made much much more than that. King of All Creation, things seen and unseen.
Then in this chapter Jesus teaches one a topics that still baffle most and liberates others. The concept of laying down one’s life. “I say to you, if the grain of the wheat, having fallen to the earth, may not die, itself remaineth alone; and if it may die, it doth bear much fruit; he who is loving his life shall lose it, and he who is hating his life in this world — to life age-during shall keep it; if any one may minister to me, let him follow me, and where I am, there also my ministrant shall be.”
John 12 <—Link here
Prior to the coming of Jesus most everyone pursued the common measures of success- money, power, and respect. But when Jesus came proclaiming the Kingdom of God He turned that whole system on it’s ear. He taught to give stuff away and to not expect anything in return, He taught to forgive and forget, to lay down your life, to take the last and least important seat, to be humble and lowly. In other words what use to be the most valuable things, become irrelevant. It would be like the US government falling and us trying to use paper money that had that government’s name on it. The love and dependency on money and self became incompatible.
It was and still is a shocking concept. Jesus confronted a Godly young man that we call “the rich young ruler” and asked him to go and give up his possessions and come and follow Him (Mark 10:17-27<—link). The young man was conflicted, he was attempting to live out of both economies, as to have two different leaders. Jesus says in Luke 16:13, “No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.”
Jesus didn’t confront the rich young ruler because He wanted the young man to be poor and destitute. Jesus confronted him because He wanted to show the young man a new way of being. A way that was dependent upon God’s economy and not his own. Where the core of the young man’s value system was converted. Many many people through out history have gone most of the way to being in Christ and yet have failed in this one area. Do you know why? The Bible says that the LOVE of money is the root of all evil. Loving money and even money itself is a denomination of self dependency. “If I collect as much of this valuable stuff as I can I can take care of myself and do what I want.” But the freedom cry is Christ saying, “come and depend upon me, look at the birds of the sky and the flowers of the field!”
To say this is easy for any of us would be a lie. Mostly because we have been so convinced by our environment and even peers in the faith that there is some other Gospel, one that includes your own lordship over your own life. We want a Gospel that isn’t as demanding and forthright as the one we read about. It just doesn’t exist, because He loves us and wants us free from this world’s bondage.
Believe God, read and believe Jesus’ words, in His Lordship you are free.