I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “guilty by association”. It’s a term my mom used to whip out if she felt I was hanging around the wrong crowd.
We don’t want to be known by someone else’s poor choices and bad acts. We need to choose the ones we surround ourselves with wisely.
I’ve been reading through the book of John in a new way. A speaker I heard challenged us to read through each chapter three times and make the following notations in a journal. The first time, it should be with this question in mind: “What does Jesus want me to learn?” The second time, a different question: “What does Jesus want me to do?” The third time through, we were simply to write down all the words Jesus spoke in that chapter.
When we read the Bible, it’s often easy to skim through the parts we know.
Or we think we know.
C’mon, I can’t be the only one. You know, that story you’ve heard endless sermons on; that piece of scripture everyone quotes…sometimes you just don’t really read it word for word.
But you should.
Because God’s Word is alive, the truth is, there’s always something new to learn. Some truth that jumps out at you that you somehow never saw before.
And that’s how it was for me reading the 12th chapter of John several times through. Verses 9-10 say this: Meanwhile a large crowd of Jews found out that Jesus was there and came, not only because of him but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead.
You are probably well acquainted with the story of Lazarus. He was sick. His sisters, Mary and Martha, sent word to Jesus hoping he’d come heal their brother. But instead, Jesus waits a few days and Lazarus dies. When Jesus finally arrives to find everyone grieving, he and the crowd of mourners walk over to the tomb, and the command is given to remove the stone from the grave. Martha’s not so sure about this. Her brother’s been dead four days and “by this time he stinketh.” Gotta love the KJV for keeping it real. Undeterred, Jesus tells Lazarus to come out. And Lazarus, grave clothes and all, comes out of the tomb.
It’s the miracle of the century. Everybody’s talking about it. Who wouldn’t want to be associated with a man like Jesus? He’s doing some pretty awesome things!
So back to chapter 12…Jesus is back in town in advance of Passover and the gang at Lazarus’ house is throwing a dinner party in his honor. We see Martha back in the kitchen doing her cooking thing, Lazarus reclining at the table with Jesus, and Mary back at Jesus’ feet honoring him by pouring perfume on his feet and wiping it with her hair.
All this while a large crowd of Jews hear about Jesus’ arrival and decide to crash the party to check him out. BUT…it’s not just because of Jesus. They are also there to see Lazarus who was raised from the dead.
Lazarus now has star status because of his association with Jesus.
But it wasn’t all sunshine and roses.
Verse 11 goes on to say: So the chief priests made plans to kill Lazarus as well, for on account of him many of the Jews were going over to Jesus and believing in him.
So let me get this straight…Lazarus suffered illness and death, got a second chance at life, and then was going to die again, all because he was the recipient of a miracle. I had honestly never read that detail before and it got me thinking.
It was all because he was guilty by association.
And in this case, that’s a good thing.
My friends, when it comes to Jesus, are you guilty by association? Have others heard about the things He’s done in your life to the point where they want to check Jesus out because of you?
There may be those who dislike you because of that association. They miss the miracle and the message because their beef is with God, not you. That’s not your problem – it’s between them and God. But if Jesus is doing powerful things in your life, you need to share the story. Many may “go over to Jesus and believe in Him” because of what you share.
Sometimes it’s good to be guilty by association.