Get comfortable, with Bible, journal, pen, and some fragrant lotion (optional) nearby. As you prepare for this scripture reading, remember that Jesus had recently been to Bethany to visit Mary and Martha and during that visit he raised Lazarus from the dead. The week before the Passover, when this story takes place, was the week before Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem for the last days of his life.
READ John 12:1-11 with this context in mind. As you read, think about the atmosphere in the house based on the events of the last few weeks and the anticipation of the Jewish celebration of Passover. Note any questions or observations in your journal.
READ the passage from the perspective of Mary. Consider your emotions toward Jesus, Lazarus, and Judas Iscariot. IMAGINE Jesus on a reclining couch in front of you. In the role of the Mary, ACT out what transpired (use the fragrant lotion if helpful).
READ as if you are Judas Iscariot. You have already been talking with the religious rulers who oppose Jesus. Your heart is divided. What are your thoughts and feelings as you see this scene develop before you? How do you hear Jesus’ response to you?
READ the passage through the heart of Jesus. Observe his actions in response to Mary and to Judas. Imagine his emotions. What do you wonder about?
Your image of God, your de facto, operative image of God, lives in a symbiotic relationship with your soul and creates what you become. Loving people, forgiving people have always encountered a loving and forgiving God. Cynical people are cynical about the very possibility of a coherent loving center to the universe. So why wouldn’t they become cynical themselves? Of course they do. Richard Rohr
What phrase, attitude or action in this text speaks to your life and community? What have you learned about your image of God through this passage?