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Daily Worship


April 29 | John 12:1-8





Who Does the Convincing?

by Pr. Dave Mann

This passage has some well-known characters: Lazarus, Mary, and Martha. Yes, this is the same trio of siblings who played parts in the dramatic events of the death and raising of Lazarus from the dead. (See John 11:1-44.) These were no doubt the same Mary and Martha who were featured in Luke 10:38-42. Martha, who was doing all the prep work for the meal, expressed her irritation to Jesus concerning Mary who was not helping in the kitchen, choosing rather to sit at Jesus’ feet, listening to his teaching.


In this event of John 12, Martha is preparing the meal again. Mary performs an extravagant expression of love and honor as she breaks open a pint jar of nard (expensive perfume), anoints Jesus’ feet, and dries them with her hair. Martha’s reaction to Mary’s unusual gift is not specified this time. Rather, it is Judas Iscariot who protests such an overly generous gift.


What is the message for us? We are not to judge or criticize others for their giving practices. There is not one sole way or one certain amount that we are to give to the poor or to the church. Each of us has unique circumstances in which we live. We are called to give sacrificially but not to judge others in what they give or fail to give. Ours is not to critique others; that is the task of the Holy Spirit. He—no human—will convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment. (See John 16:8-11.)


We often get confused about who should do the challenging and convicting. We think that others should listen more intently to the Spirit. Or perhaps, we think that the Spirit needs our help in chastising others for the size of their gift or the manner of the giving. On the contrary, we should ask the Lord for a pliable heart and a sensitive spirit.


The challenge is to go to the Lord regularly in prayer, asking him for guidance as to the amount of sacrificial giving that he is calling us to donate. We follow our Lord who gave his all for us. As we listen, confess, and follow him, we will sense his leading to become more Christ-like. The Holy Spirit will do his work within each of us—convicting, convincing, and challenging. We can trust the Spirit of Jesus to do this same work with others.



Lord Jesus, grant me an open heart so that I can hear what you want me to give to your Kingdom work. Grant me also a trusting heart so that as others follow your Spirit’s leading, I can rejoice in the many ways and means that you direct your people to give, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

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