Daily Devotions


Day 155

A quick review of Jesus and His ministry in Judea

Text: John 12 : 1 - 8


The approach taken by John in the writing of his Gospel was distinctively different from that of the synoptic Gospel writers. We may delineate some of these differences in their approaches along the following lines:-

1. Ministry in Galilee versus Ministry in Judea

Whereas Matthew, Mark and Luke covered the ministry of Jesus in Galilee, with some references to Jesus teaching in Judea, John wrote about His ministry in Judea. The challenge of course is to appreciate both the similarities and differences between John’s approach and that of the synoptic Gospel writers.

2. Miracles of Jesus and their symbolic significance

John of course knew all about the many mighty miracles Jesus performed. However, he chose to mention only seven of them in his Gospel. The miracles of Jesus were seen and described as “signs”. All the Gospel writers had their own special way of applying the meaning of the significance of Jesus performing miracles!

3. The Teachings of Jesus

While all the Gospels recorded the invaluable words of Jesus, John seemed to have recorded the words of Jesus most of all. We are deeply indebted to John for the deep observations he made concerning what Jesus taught His Disciples when they were by themselves.


The Jews were quite anxious to the point of being agitated as the Passover drew near once again. Jesus was obviously far more popular than they were among the multitudes. They were afraid of the growing popularity of Jesus and where that might lead. Thus the Jews had made plans to arrest Jesus should He show His face in Jerusalem once again.

“Then they sought Jesus, and spoke among themselves
as they stood in the Temple,
‘What do you think – that He will not come to the Feast?’
Now both the chief priests and the Pharisees
had given a command, that if anyone knew where He was,
he should report it, that they might seize Him.”
John 11:56-57

While John recorded the agitation of the Jews on the one hand, he also noted the absolute sense of calm in the composure of Jesus. He was not concerned in the least concerning the threats of the Jews. Of course He knew all about their plots. However, He was not perturbed at all. His hour had not yet come. However, He knew that soon His hour would come. He would face that hour with great composure of heart and soul.


Jesus had planned to go up to Jerusalem. However as His custom was, He stayed in the town of Bethany. His favourite home seemed to be one owned by Lazarus, Martha and Mary. This time round, John made a quiet but significant note concerning the timing of this visit of Jesus to the home of Lazarus.

In an earlier account recorded in Luke’s Gospel, we are told that Jesus came to the home of Martha and Mary.

“Now it happened as they went that He entered a
certain village; and a certain woman named Martha
welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister
called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard
His word.”
Luke 10:38-39

John noted that Jesus once again came to their home. He noted,

“Then, six days before the Passover, Jesus came to
Bethany, where Lazarus was who had been dead,
whom He had raised from the dead.
There they made Him a supper; and Martha served,
but Lazarus was one of those who sat at the table
with Him.”
John 12:1-2

We must look at another notation, this time from the hand of Mark. He wrote,

“And being in Bethany at the house of Simon
the leper…”
Mark 14:3
(Matthew 26:6)

Jesus had not only raised Lazarus from the dead, He appeared to have healed Lazarus from his leprosy. He was formerly known as “Simon the leper”. Perhaps after he was raised from the dead, he was called Lazarus. (The name Lazarus is a variation of the name “Eleazar” which in turn means, “One whom God helps”).

Once again, there was the familiar scene where Martha busied herself serving Jesus and His Disciples! Lazarus who had been raised from the dead was at the supper table, living proof of the power of Jesus to raise the dead! But where was Mary?


Luke described Mary as one who had sat at the feet of Jesus. This was both a literal and figurative expression to describe her as a Disciple. Jesus had once commended her for sitting at His feet. His words of commendation to her then were aptly preserved in Luke’s Gospel.

“Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled
about many things, But one thing is needed, and
Mary has chosen that good part, which will not
be taken away from her.”
Luke 10:41-42

Where was Mary now that Jesus was in her home?