What Jesus Did! 'Putting Poverty in Perspective' — John 12:7-8

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Jesus answered, "Don't stop her. It was right for her to save this perfume for today—the day for me to be prepared for burial. The poor people will always be with you. But you will not always have me."
— John 12:7-8
Illustration of John 12:7-8 — "Don't stop her. It was right for her to save this perfume for today—the day for me to be prepared for burial. The poor people will always be with you. But you will not always have me."

Key Thought

Scripture is clear: we are to help the poor, feed the hungry, and care for widows, orphans, and aliens among us. Yet there will always be a tug of war about our priorities in how to give—what do we give specifically and extravagantly to help the poor among us and what do we give to support other facets of the Lord's work. Each is important. Each can honor God. So let's not be critical of those who give extravagantly to any of God's work. God knows the heart of the giver and we need to rejoice in their generosity to honor him. Even more, we need to be generous with the Lord and those in need! After all, Jesus himself reminds us that when what we do to care for those less fortunate, we are actually doing it for him! (Matthew 25)

Today's Prayer

Loving and gracious Father, mold my heart to be more like yours. Bless me with graciousness, generosity, thankfulness, and a forgiving spirit. Open my eyes to all that Jesus has done, is doing, and will do for me so that I will more freely share with others my love, possessions, money, and time. In Jesus' name, and because of Jesus' love, I pray. Amen.

Today's Verses in Context

Six days before the Passover festival, Jesus went to Bethany. Bethany is the town where Lazarus lived. (Lazarus is the man Jesus raised from death.) In Bethany they had a dinner for Jesus. Martha served the food. Lazarus was one of the people eating with Jesus. Mary brought in a pint of very expensive perfume made from pure nard. Mary poured the perfume on Jesus' feet. Then she wiped his feet with her hair. And the sweet smell from the perfume filled the whole house. Judas Iscariot was there. Judas was one of Jesus' followers. (He was the one that would later be against Jesus.) {Judas did not like what Mary did.} Judas said, "That perfume was worth 300 silver coins. It should have been sold, and the money should have been given to the poor people." But Judas did not really care about poor people. Judas said this because he was a thief. Judas was the one that kept the money box {for the group of followers}. And Judas often stole money from the box. Jesus answered, "Don't stop her. It was right for her to save this perfume for today—the day for me to be prepared for burial. The poor people will always be with you. But you will not always have me." Many of the Jews heard that Jesus was in Bethany. So they went there to see Jesus. They also went there to see Lazarus. Lazarus was the one Jesus raised from death. So the leading priests made plans to kill Lazarus too. Because of Lazarus, many Jews were leaving {their leaders} and believing in Jesus. That is why the Jewish leaders wanted to kill Lazarus too. The next day the people in Jerusalem heard that Jesus was coming there. These were the many people that had come to the Passover festival. The people took branches of palm trees and went out to meet Jesus. The people shouted, "'Praise Him! Welcome! God bless the One that comes in the name of the Lord!' God bless the King of Israel!" Jesus found a donkey and rode on it. This was like the Scripture says: "Do not be afraid, city of Zion ! Look! Your king is coming. He isriding on a young donkey." The followers of Jesus did not understand at that time what was happening. But after Jesus was raised to glory, they understood that these things were written about him. Then the followers remembered that they had done these things for him. There were many people with Jesus when he raised Lazarus from death and told him to come out of the tomb. Now those people were telling other people about what Jesus did. Many people went out to meet Jesus, because they heard that Jesus did this miracle. So the Pharisees said to each other, "Look! Our plan is not working. All the people are following him!"

John 12:1-19

Related Scripture Readings

You are rich in everything—in faith, in speaking, in knowledge, in truly wanting to help, and in the love you learned from us. And so we want you to also be rich in this gift of giving.

2 Corinthians 8:7

Remember this: The person who plants little will harvest only a little. But the person who plants much will harvest much. Each person should give what he has decided in his heart to give. A person should not give if it makes him sad. And a person should not give if he thinks he is forced to give. God loves the person who gives happily. And God can give you more blessings than you need. Then you will always have plenty of everything. You will have enough to give to every good work.

2 Corinthians 9:6-8

"The Son of Man will come again. He will come with great glory. All his angels will come with him. He will be king and sit on his great throne. All the people of the world will be gathered before the Son of Man. Then the Son of Man will separate all people into two groups. This is like a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. The Son of Man will put the sheep (good people) on his right and the goats (bad people) on his left. "Then the king will say to those good people on his right, 'Come. My Father has given you great blessings. Come and get the kingdom God promised you. That kingdom has been prepared for you since the world was made. You can have this kingdom, because I was hungry and you gave me food to eat. I was thirsty, and you gave me something to drink. I was alone and away from home, and you invited me into your home. I was without clothes, and you gave me something to wear. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you came to visit me.' "Then the good people will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and give you food? When did we see you thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you alone and away from home and invite you into our home? When did we see you without clothes and give you something to wear? When did we see you sick or in prison and care for you?' "Then the king will answer, 'I tell you the truth. Anything you did for any of my people here, you also did for me.'

Matthew 25:31-40

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About This Devotional

What Jesus Did is a one-year devotional guide through the gospels, using one short passage each day and following the Gospel in consecutive order. Each devotional consists of a passage, reflection and a prayer which opens up the day's scripture and shows how it challenges you to live for Jesus.

What Jesus Did! is written by Phil Ware.

Easy-to-Read Version copyright © 2001 by World Bible Translation Center. All rights reserved.