Ever sat down and thought about what your priorities are?
Spouse, children and grandchildren, work or study, etc., etc.
What about God or church...?
John 12:1-11 - Martha, Mary, and Judas
Jesus is again in Bethany enjoying a dinner put on for him
Martha is serving the meal...
One of Martha's top priorities seems to be service to others, and by extension, service to God.
In Jesus' presence, her first impulse was to serve Him
Mary comes and kneels at Jesus feet to anoint him. John probably wants us to connect this anointing with the triumphal entry. Jesus is anointed then proclaimed King.
The cost of the ointment was worth about 300 denarii, about $55,000 U.S. dollars. Mary had probably spent her life savings for it.
Mary's priority was adoration of Jesus; receiving His teaching and showing Him extravagant worship.
Do you notice that neither Martha nor Mary's priorities had themselves as the object?
Remember Jesus saying: Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also? It also works the other way around. Where your heart is that’s where you’ll invest your treasure.
Judas is more worried about what might be done with the money that this jar would bring in the market place – particularly if he could get his hands on it. Judas doesn’t have kingdom priorities. He seems to be in it for what profit he can get out of it.
John 12:12-16 - The Chief Priests and the Crowd
The Chief Priests:
They’ve already decided Jesus, and now Lazarus, needs to die. They’ve closed their minds to the possibility that Jesus is the Messiah.
"All the world has gone out after Him!" The chief priests probably meant by this, "our world, our people, are going after Him, instead of us!" They were afraid of what He was going to cost them: power, prestige, control...
How different from Mary!
They cry out a royal welcome: “Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord— the King of Israel!”
"Save us, we beseech you, O Lord! O Lord, we beseech you, give us success! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord. We bless you from the house of the Lord." - Psalm 118:25-26 (NRSV)
But why did they praise Him? Was it adoration like Mary's? Was it self-interest, like Judas? What were their priorities?
Most likely a mix, which surely the Lord understands...
"For the Lord will remove his hand of judgment and will disperse the armies of your enemy. And the Lord himself, the King of Israel, will live among you! At last your troubles will be over, and you will never again fear disaster." - Zephaniah 3:15 (NLT)
Yet also, surely Martha's and Mary's priorities, committed service and extravagant adoration, are the examples for us to follow...
Closing thoughts and a Challenge
We have seen a range of responses to Jesus based on different priorities.
Where do our priorities lie when it comes to Jesus, to God, to God’s church?
A bit of "homework:" Prayerfully consider what are most important things in your life, and what you believe your priorities should be. Then consider, are those things which I believe are the most important things in my life, also those things that my actions proclaim to be the most important?