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31st December 2014

John 11.12-14

12 Then the disciples said to Him: “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will be saved.”

13 Now Jesus had spoken about his death, but they thought that he was speaking about the sleep of rest.

14 Then Jesus told them plainly; “Lazarus has died.

The phrase ‘the penny has dropped’ comes from the 19th century and relates to arcade machines that were worked by a penny slot machine. Some of these were faulty and the inserted penny would stick half-way down. The user had either to wait for the penny to drop, or give the machine a thump to get the penny to drop.

The term came to be used of someone who suddenly understood something that had escaped them up until that point.

When Jesus told the disciples that their friend, Lazarus, was asleep the ‘penny had not dropped’, in their understanding of what Jesus meant. They were of the understanding that Lazarus was literally sleeping a natural sleep and would therefore, recover. The penny did not drop for them until Jesus plainly told them that Lazarus had died. This time Jesus used the word ‘to die’, so there could be no misunderstanding about the state of Lazarus.

How well do we understand what Jesus is saying to us?

How long does it take for the ‘penny to drop’ in our spirit as we hear what Jesus says to us.
I have experienced those times when all of a sudden a verse of Scripture has come to light in a new way, times when ‘the penny has dropped’ as to what a familiar verse may mean for me personally. Actually it is the Holy Spirit who keeps nudging my spirit so that He brings my understanding into line with what God wants me to understand.

Sometimes I can be quite slow, and ‘the penny’ may seem to have got stuck somewhere in my spirit. However, all of a sudden the illumination of the Holy Spirit causes the ‘penny to drop’ within me.

Perhaps it may have been a little bit like that with Joseph when he learnt that Mary was pregnant with Jesus. It is most probable that Mary had shared with him her encounter with the angel Gabriel, but it was only after the angel visited him in a dream and told him not to be afraid to take Mary as his wife that the ‘penny dropped’.

Are there any pennies waiting to drop in our spirits? Is God saying things to us that we have not yet understood?

As we approach the New Year let us allow the Holy Spirit to cause the ‘pennies to drop’ so that we can understand what God is really saying to us and leading us into.

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