Religion & Spirituality:Christianity
JOHN 12:1-3 THEN MARY TOOK A POUND OF VERY COSTLY OIL OF SPIKENARD, ANOINTED THE FEET OF JESUS, AND WIPED HIS FEET WITH HER HAIR.
John 12:1 Then, six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was who had been dead, whom He had raised from the dead. 2 There they made Him a supper; and Martha served, but Lazarus was one of those who sat at the table with Him. 3 Then Mary took a pound of very costly oil of spikenard, anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil.
We are looking at a passage today that is very familiar to us, but as always we need to make sure we don’t think that we know it all, none of us do. Jesus is down to the last week of His life and He is having supper with Lazarus and the sisters Mary and Martha. Martha is serving as usual and Lazarus is being honored by being at the table after having been raised from the dead. The keystone of this passage is Mary takes a very costly perfume, breaks the bottle and pours it all out on Jesus and wipes His feet with her hair. First of all, she gave her best and greatest gift when she poured out her costly perfume, probably worth $20,000 - $25,000 at our rate of exchange today. Also, this was her whole wealth and all her savings she had in this world. Then, she also used her hair which speaks of a woman’s glory. She humbled herself and anointed Jesus for His burial with her perfume and her hair. How about you, are you giving Jesus your best and your all and humbly bowing down and worshipping Him?
Mt 26, Mark 14, Luke 19.
Here in this little incident in Bethany in the first eleven verses we see it. We see love like we haven't seen before. We see love that is extravagant. We see love that is unbounded. We see love that knows no limits. We see love that's totally self-sacrificing. And at the same time that we see that, we see the hatred of those who were His enemies and it reaches its depths. It penetrates even the inner circle of the Twelve and one of His own spews out venom on Christ. So here in response to the miracle of the raising of Lazarus, love blooms and venom of hate brews its poison and the contrast is just as wide as two individuals...Mary, on the one hand, and Judas on the other hand. And that's a mystery. How you can take two people who lived with the same Christ, walk the same steps, heard the same message, experienced His same love and all of His miracles and out of that same experience have a Judas and a Mary is mystery. And it must indicate to you something of the depth of sin that must have been in the life of Judas. Out of the same sphere they both came.
And the result of these three years is that among His own, first of all, there has been a deepening awakening to who He really is. And after the climactic raising of Lazarus from the dead, those that are His beloved, the sheep of His fold, have come to the convincing awareness that this is indeed the Son of God. But on the other hand you have the steady hardening of unbelief, the same three years that melted the heart of those who were His own hardened the hearts of His enemies and you have increasing hostility until both of them come to a gigantic climax in chapter 12. You have the love that has been growing for those years in full bloom and you have the hatred that has been festering for years throwing out its total poison here in chapter 12.
A good-sized group of Jews have come to Bethany from Jerusalem to mourn the death of Lazarus with his surviving sisters, Martha and Mary. These folks are at the grave of Lazarus when Jesus summons him from death and the grave. It is a most amazing thing, and it does not take long for word of this miracle to spread throughout Jerusalem and Judea. As the time for the Passover draws near, there is an air of excitement and anticipation, fueled greatly by out Lord’s raising of Lazarus:
John's point in writing this gospel was to show the world that Jesus is God in a human body. His sub-theme then was to show how men reacted and responded to that claim, you see. So his theme is Christ is God, his sub-theme is how men reacted. And on every page we've seen him presenting Christ as God again and again and again and again and right along with it we've seen how men reacted, haven't we? And we see the softening of the hearts of those who love them and the hardening of the hearts of those who hate Him until they have reached the extremities and we come to the climax of love and the climax of hate in this chapter.
1 Then, six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was who had been dead, whom He had raised from the dead.
it was Saturday, that puts the next day, which is in verses 12 and 13, commonly called Palm Sunday on Sunday when we feel it should be and then Christ's death on Friday.
But it is six days until Passover, according to John...six precious days. Christ had spent three years giving Himself to the world and now He's got six days to give Himself to His own. Now during the time He was ministering to the world He was ministering to His own as well, but here are six concentrated days with His own. Six days to tie their hearts together. Six days to build their faith. Six days to teach them what to do and how to respond when He dies. Six days to be with them. And the first of those six days He also includes His beloved friends at Bethany. And so we find Him at Bethany.
You notice that the village is identified because of its relationship to the power of Jesus Christ.
Lu 13:14 But the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath; and he said to the crowd, "There are six days on which men ought to work; therefore come and be healed on them, and not on the Sabbath day."
6 Days for man to do his work, his worst to kill Christ, the Sabbath will be God’s day to do His work of redemption?
And for one of those days, at least, He seeks the warmth and the love of His friends at Bethany. But sadly, even in the midst of the love and the warmth of the scene, He is stabbed by the sharp, hurting spear of hell as Judas comes to the fore and reveals himself as the traitor. And as you read this story and you can almost feel in the heart of Christ the desire for the warmth and the fellowship and for just a day, at least, to escape the hatred, but the hate is relentless at this point, it doesn't give up. Everywhere He goes and every turn He makes, the hate is there, even to the extent of penetrating His own disciples. So He arrives in Bethany.
2 There they made Him a supper; and Martha served, but Lazarus was one of those who sat at the table with Him.
So Matthew and Mark tell us it occurred at the house of Simon the leper and even Martha, not even in her own house, is busy serving. Simon may have been their father who was a leper, but was now healed.
There wasn't anywhere to go, no hurry, nothing was happening, no activity. In those days people just got to know people. They just shared together. They weren't in a hurry to get everywhere and this meal would be a lengthy meal as they would share and talk.
Re 19:9 Then he said to me, "Write: 'Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!'" And he said to me, "These are the true sayings of God."
There are really only two things that make service worth anything. Number one, if it's in love and number two, if it's in the glory of Christ. And her's was. She did it for Jesus and she did it because she loved Him. That's the kind of service you like. That's the kind that God honors. Simple service.
Mt 20:26 "Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. 26 "If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor.
Ac 20:19 "serving the Lord with all humility, with many tears and trials which happened to me by the plotting of the Jews;
3 Then Mary took a pound of very costly oil of spikenard, anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil.
Martha Serves, but Mary Worships.
Her Extravagance – Nard may have been her dowry or rainy day money, sometimes used like a bank fund.
The word charity in the old days charity used to mean love, nowadays it means giving something...giving someone something valuable. But let's be real honest about it, if you love somebody, that's what you wind up doing, right? It's no wonder the word came to mean that, donating or giving something which is an expression of love
The Holy Spirit goes into all these details as if the Holy Spirit wants to measure the act of Mary's love, you know, just line it out in every little detail so that the mention of her love is visible. It's almost like the divine Holy Spirit is putting a stamp of approval on this deed, and, in fact, that's exactly what He's doing.
Now she gave spikenard, now the essence of this kind of ointment came from nard and that's something that grew up in the Himalayas between China and Tibet and it had to be brought out of there on the backs of camels and brought all the way down the Himalaya mountains and all the way to Israel and then put together in some kind of an ointment and put in some kind of an alabaster box or jar, as the other writers tells us and then sold. Well that's a costly operation for a little bit of ointment. And it was a very, very expensive commodity, a luxurious possession, one of those things you have and you never want to use it. You realize if you use it it's costing you a fortune so you just sit it there and it still costs you a fortune and it doesn't do you any good.
1Co 11:15 But if a woman has long hair, it is a glory to her; for her hair is given to her for a covering.
Then in shocking disregard for Jewish tradition, she knelt down at His feet and she had poured it on His feet and it was beginning to drip and she let her hair out, and you never did that, that was strictly a no-no. No Jewish woman ever let her hair down in front of men and she did that. And not only did she do that, but still allowing her heart to do the speaking, she took her hair and began to wipe that which was dripping off His feet. Now you don't plan something like that. She was just wrapped in the emotion of the thing and she poured this all out and it started to drip and she didn't know and she just started to wipe His feet and it was all just love gushing everywhere. That's real love.
2 Samuel 24:24 Then the king said to Araunah, "No, but I will surely buy it from you for a price; nor will I offer burnt offerings to the LORD my God with that which costs me nothing." So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver.
His heart was just full of joy at her love, He could measure her love by that, couldn't He? She had just tried to find some way that she could pour out everything she had in terms of love and relieve herself of that love that wanted to do something. And so she poured it all over Christ, a burst of love.
She loved Jesus so much she could have cared less what anybody else thought.
Boy, what could be done if we all had that kind of uncontrollable love to pick out the most precious commodity we have in the world that we're saving up for some rainy day and just say, "Here, it belongs to You, Jesus, all of it." How sweet it must have been and how Jesus' heart must have been filled with that love that Mary was giving Him.
John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. Have you trusted Him as your Savior? He can Save you if You ask Him based on His death, burial, and resurrection for your sins. Believe in Him for forgiveness of your sins today.
The world is trying to solve earthly problems that can only be solved with heavenly solutions.
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