March 02, 2008


John 12:1-2

Six days before the Passover, Jesus arrived at Bethany.
John 12:1


As we walk with Jesus on his journey to the cross, we need to know that this is a journey he chose to take. Jesus set out for Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover because he knew that the time had come to complete his God-given mission. Matthew 16:21 tells us, “Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things … and … be killed and on the third day be raised to life.”

In order for the world to be redeemed from human sin, Jesus had to go to the cross to pay for sin. He knew this, and he went willingly because he loves us all.

Before he fulfilled this calling, however, Jesus himself needed encouragement. Along the way, he stopped at the home of his friends in Bethany to attend a dinner held in his honor. Jesus was fully God, but he was also completely human, with physical needs and emotions. When he suffered later in the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus needed his closest friends to be near him. Jesus’ stop in Bethany helped him connect with his friends too. Imagine the encouragement of his time spent with Lazarus, whom Jesus had raised from the dead (see John 11). What an assurance that he too would rise again!

We all need encouragement and love from friends. I hope you have good friends who can stand with you. Jesus is one of them.

Father, there are so many lonely people in the world. Please provide friends to console and stand by them. Help us to learn from our friend Jesus how to be a friend. Amen.

About the author — Jerry Hoytema

Pastor Jerry Hoytema is a retired minister living in Ontario. In his retirement he has served several churches as an interim pastor. He and his wife, Winnie, have four children and 13 grandchildren.

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