Day 159: June 8, 2013

Today's Reading(s)

John 11:45-54 Read Online


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Today's Reflection

Key Verse(s)

But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done.

—John 11:46

Missing the Holy
by Denise Hildreth Jones, Member of Brentwood Baptist, Brentwood Campus

Lazarus had just been raised from the dead. That they celebrated is an understatement. You could hear the screams and cheers and worship six villages away.

In that moment, many people gave their hearts to Jesus. I mean, wouldn't that be enough? And there were a few more this moment impacted, but not as you’d think. I wonder if they even uttered a sound—at least there.

Why? Because the power Jesus possessed threatened them and their rules. That kind of power will always either be threatening or liberating, depending on the state of our hearts.

They ran to the Pharisees to announce what Jesus had just done, knowing what would happen. The Pharisees were never recognized for their subtlety. Yet, it’s not the following actions of the Pharisees or Caiaphas that leaves me stuck.

I’m stuck here. I’m stuck at a person's ability to see the manifest power of something as great as Lazarus being raised from the dead and yet not see the holy in it. And this is where I find my own heart in its struggle.

How many times have I missed the holiness of God? How many times, in the things that surround me—the beauty of nature, a child's baptism, a kind word from my husband, the nearness of a friend, the hurting world that surrounds me calling for the Jesus in me—has my heart missed the holiness of such moments?

Missing it can be for so many reasons—my prejudices, skepticism, doubt, pride, disconnect, or distraction. Of all the players on this stage, in this moment of history, the saddest to me are these.

The Pharisees were what they were. Caiphas, the high priest, was so clueless that God had used the words that came out of his mouth. But these people saw the miracle.

The people watched a man who had been dead for three days walk out of a tomb without a stench on him. And yet, something in their hearts was so hardened, so wrecked, that they not only missed the holy, they accused the Healer.

Oh, what an enemy we have. To think, we can not only miss the holy moments. He can shut our hearts down to such degrees that we also accuse the Healer of not doing it right, of getting it wrong, of threatening something that matters to us, of not performing according to our picture or the way we thought our life should unfold.

In life's holy moments, I’ve seen everyone in the room celebrate. But I’ve also noticed the one or two who don't only miss that holy moment, but also find it abase in some way. They see it as a set-up, a missed opportunity, or as something unholy. They think God either got it wrong or everyone else in the room did.

Would they have rather seen Lazarus stay in the grave? Would they have rather seen Mary and Martha continue to grieve? Would they have rather watched Jesus hold back His plan and purpose to fulfill their arrogance—an arrogance that only they get it right and have sole reign on what’s of God and what isn't?

Look who they took their accusation of Jesus to. They took it to the Pharisees, a group so attached to the spirit of the law that they missed the fulfillment of the law when He stood in front of them.

Rules are good. The Ten Commandments are a gift. But without the love of Jesus, we miss the beauty of His holiness.

There are many people who never miss a tithe check, a Sunday School class, or a Sunday service, but they’ve missed Jesus time and time again. Why? Because their hearts have believed the lie that God wants us to get it right.

If this were true, there would’ve never been a need for Jesus. He came because God knew how exceptionally wrong we would get it—time and time and time again.

So if this is our belief, and it’s based in a lie from the enemy, then the measure of what is right is a measure we created. And no one, not even us, will ever be able to live up to our own standards.

In this season, as we greet summer, as we head off to mountains or beaches, as we watch our children ride bikes and hear their laughter, as we take a respite from the distractions of this world, may we not miss the holy moments Jesus offers.

May we surrender our pride, pictures, and desire to get it right and discover that He died because we’re incapable of ever being right enough. Somewhere a Lazarus is being raised. May we rejoice in it—loudly.

Reflection Questions

  1. When’s the last time you saw something God did that should’ve taken your breath away? What was your response?
  2. Do you have a picture of what your life needs to look like? Of how God should move? What would it be?
  3. Are you willing to surrender your picture for His? Your way for His? Your thoughts for His thoughts? What would surrendering those things look like?

About the Author

Denise Hildreth Jones
» Blog/Website

Denise Hildreth Jones has been a member at Brentwood Baptist since 2012. She’s married to Philly Jones and is the bonus-mom to their five active children. Author of ten books, she leads a ministry called Reclaiming Hearts and blogs in her Monday Musings column at www.reclaiminghearts.com. Her best days are accompanied by a cold Coca-Cola, a good book, SEC football, and backyard soccer games with her five kiddos.