20 Red Cupcakes

Linda is currently on maternity leave. Here is one of her most popular posts from the gospel of John.

I sent the same instructions to all the cake shops

John 12:1-11

Reference: “Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.” ‭‭John‬ ‭12:3‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Explore: I recently had to buy cupcakes from 4 different locations. I sent the same instructions to all the cake shops – 20 cupcakes with red icing.

The first shop did an amazing job. They provided 20 mud cake cupcakes with beautifully piped red icing.

The next shop lifted the bar even higher by having a selection of chocolate, caramel and white mud cake with beautifully piped red icing.

When I entered the third shop I waited with great anticipation. Would they have all the same type of cakes or would there be a variety again? How had they lovingly decorated each one of the cakes?

When I opened the cake box I was taken by surprise… and not in a good way!

The cakes were all just plain butter cakes, which was okay.  The icing, however, was just plain runny icing that had been slapped on and was dribbling all over the cupcake paper. But what stuck out the most was the icing was so bright red, it looked like something you would find in a kindergarten craft box!

Who would have thought that the same instructions could result in something so completely different!

Application: I wonder whether God feels the same way when He looks at how people respond to Jesus.

We are all given the same Bible to read and the same Holy Spirit to connect with and yet we still express our faith in multiple different ways.

This was evident even when Jesus was standing in front of people a couple of thousand years ago. Everyone had heard that Jesus had raised Lazarus from the dead, and they could see Lazarus alive, and yet you got three very different responses.

Firstly there’s Mary who lavishly adored Jesus by washing His feet with expensive perfume. Then you have Lazarus who, even as a disciple of Jesus, didn’t think He was worth the cost of the perfume.

Lastly, there’s the chief priests who not only want to kill Jesus but start to plan on killing Lazarus as well. One Jesus, three very different responses.

It is still the same today. You only have to look across your church congregation during a worship service to see the different responses people have to Jesus.

Sometimes it is clear what the correct response should be, but at other times it doesn’t seem so crystal clear. That’s why it’s always good to reflect on our expression of faith.

The chief priests probably felt more justified about their actions than Mary did about hers. And yet her actions came from love and adoration, the same response we should have towards Jesus too.

Prayer: Lord, may my actions come from a place of love and adoration of You, not selfish ambition or religious justification. Amen.

What different responses to Jesus do you see?

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This article was written by Linda Bailey

Linda started theological studies in 1999 in Australia. After working for ten years in various church ministries, she now works as the breakfast producer at 89.9 LightFM - the Christian radio station in Melbourne, Australia. She writes blogs every day about passages she is currently reading in the Bible. Follow her on Google Plus +Linda Bailey or Facebook by clicking the like button on the right of this page.