Religion & Spirituality:Christianity
JOHN 12:4-10 THEN SAID JESUS, LET HER ALONE: AGAINST THE DAY OF MY BURYING HATH SHE KEPT THIS.
John 12:4 Then one of His disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, who would betray Him, said, 5 "Why was this fragrant oil not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?" 6 This he said, not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and had the money box; and he used to take what was put in it. 7 But Jesus said, "Let her alone; she has kept this for the day of My burial. 8 "For the poor you have with you always, but Me you do not have always." 9 Now a great many of the Jews knew that He was there; and they came, not for Jesus' sake only, but that they might also see Lazarus, whom He had raised from the dead. 10 But the chief priests plotted to put Lazarus to death also.
In This message we will see Mary and Jesus rebuked by Judas and the disciples for her anointing the feet of Jesus for His burial. Judas speaks for the first time in the Scriptures and shows his true nature. He pretends to care for the poor, but God through the pen of John tells us this he said, not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and had the money box; and he used to take what was put in it. Here we see Jesus tells them you need to get your priorities in order because I always come first in everything. Mark 12:30 'And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.' This is the first commandment. Have you given Jesus first place in your life today? If not, why not?
4 Then one of His disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon's son ?, who would betray Him, said,
Why Father mentioned
5 "Why was this fragrant oil not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?"
The cold, calculated, deadly hatred of Judas
He needed some money to compensate for three wasted years so when he sees the love of Mary, it activates his love for money and he bursts out and reveals his feelings by belittling the waste of money. And it's interesting that the other gospels tell us that the other disciples joined in with him. Evidently he was a very persuasive person, that's probably why he got elected treasurer and had been embezzling the money all along.
The first words ever in the New Testament recorded from his mouth are verse 5, "Why was not this ointment sold for 300 denarii and given to the poor?" What a waste, 300 denarii was a lot of money, I mean, that was 300 days wages, a denarius a day. He was ready to get 300 denarii and take away the gift of Mary's love, but that's not unusual, he just turns right around after this and sells Jesus for 30 pieces of silver which amounts to about twenty dollars. He lived with money on the brain. The first words he ever said indicated the rottenness of his heart, the last words he ever said, remember them in Matthew 27:4 where he says in total remorse, "I have betrayed innocent blood." Went out and hanged himself
One can hardly read the Gospel accounts of this incident without concluding that, while these men are rebuking Mary for her reckless waste of resources, their words are also intended as a rebuke to our Lord. First, if this is truly a “waste,” then Jesus must not be worth the value of the perfume. Second, it is our Lord who is being anointed. If it is wasteful and unnecessary, He should make her stop.
6 This he said, not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and had the money box; and he used to take
what was put in it.
John tells us a very important detail, not revealed to us by either Matthew or Mark: the one who incites the disciples to anger is Judas. Now things start to make sense. John not only informs us that Judas is behind all this reaction, he also informs us as to why. Judas, John indicates, is a thief. Now here is a bit of information we find nowhere else in the New Testament; yet this one bit of information causes all of the other pieces to fall into place. Judas was never a believer. He does not know the love of God, nor does he show it. In this sense, Judas is very different from the other eleven disciples. But in another way, Judas is really very much like the rest of the disciples, at least up to this point in time. The truth is that they do not understand what our Lord is about, either. Like Judas, they do not expect Jesus to die on the cross of Calvary. They do what they can to prevent it (e.g., Peter rebukes Jesus for talking about such things, and he slices off the servant of the High Priest’s ear with his sword.) Over and over again, we see the disciples preoccupied with their own selfish ambitions. They hope our Lord’s kingdom will enhance their status and power. They argue amongst themselves as to who is the greatest. No wonder Judas does not stick out like a proverbial sore thumb. In fact, Judas fits right in! No wonder they trust him with the money bag and are even inclined to follow his lead in attacking Mary for being wasteful.
Judas follows our Lord. He witnesses His power and hears His teaching. He is even given the power to perform miracles himself! (see Matthew 10:1ff.; Luke 9:1-2).
If this nard were sold (instead of “squandered on Jesus”), it would have meant a very tidy commission for Judas. He is angry. In his mind, a part of what she is “wasting” on Jesus is his. She has no right! She must be stopped!
Judas is without question the tragedy of history and thus the tragedy of eternity. And the reason he's a tragedy, listen to this, is because he lived three years of his life in proximity to truth like no other man except eleven more had ever lived. That man for three years lived every day with Jesus. And I imagine the remorse in his soul as he's in hell right now must be unbelievable because of the proximity to the truth. And only his history remains and it's not to be a discouragement, it's to be a warning to men who live in the proximity to truth to be sure that they apprehend that truth, lest they spend an eternity in hell and remorse like Judas. Judas lived in the sunlight of the very Son of God and his life ended in the blackest darkness of hell.
Judas is no solitary monster standing alone in the world, there have been a million-million Judases, all the time there are Judases, many men who sell Jesus.
You say, "I never sell Christ. I never betrayed Christ." Oh yeah, for anybody who doesn't receive Jesus Christ as Savior, you're selling Him. Whatever it is that keeps you from inviting Christ into your life is the price that you're selling Christ for.
It would have been bad enough if Jesus had only been kissed by one Judas, He's been kissed a thousand-thousand times the same way.
Jesus’ response in Mary’s defense is a rebuke to His disciples, and particularly to Judas, who instigated their protest. John does not tell us about Judas’ meeting with the chief priests, but both Matthew and Mark do. Judas is still the entrepreneur par excellence. He seizes upon any opportunity to make money. Has Mary “cheated” him out of his commission? Has Jesus taken her side? Well, Judas is about finished with Jesus anyway. His “kingdom” is not Judas’ kind of kingdom. There will be no real money in it for Judas, and besides, Jesus is on a collision course with the Jewish religious leaders. His days are numbered; His kingdom doomed to fail. Such seems to be the thinking of Judas.
So Judas decides to “swap horses in mid-stream” as we say. Judas decides to sell Jesus out and to join forces with His enemies.
7 But Jesus said, "Let her alone; she has kept this for the day of My burial.
Let her alone. Stern, that's imperative in the Greek, let her alone. "For the day of My burial hath she kept this." And there's almost a pensive tragic prophecy of His death. "Let her alone, she's doing this because of My burial." Oh she loved Him so much and yet Judas fosters this kind of animosity and Jesus rebukes Judas and in the statement He unmasks Judas' hypocrisy. He doesn't even answer the issue.
And isn't it sad that even in the expression of her love is inherent in that is His death? She was preparing Him for burial while Judas was preparing in his mind to betray Him.
8 "For the poor you have with you always, but Me you do not have always."
Jesus had a lot to say about caring for the poor and rightly should we care for the poor.
In other words, He says, "Can't you see priorities, friends?" He says to His disciples, "Can't you see priorities? I'm not going to be around very long. Poor people are important, we want to care for poor people, but I come first. I mean, which is more important, the poverty program or the glorification of the Son of God? And you've only got six days for Me, the poor you're going to have with you always."
Do you really love Him? Do you understand priorities? What do you spend your time doing? Worrying about politics or loving Jesus?
Here was his decisive moment. Christ had unmasked him in Christ's mind, Judas knew he was discovered. Now Judas had a choice. First of all, he could cast himself at Jesus' feet in penitential tears. He could confess his lost condition and his sin and he could seek mercy at the throne of grace. That's one option. Second option, his pierced pride could swell up to greater pride and he could go the opposite direction, becoming willfully hardened by Satan himself to betray Jesus. He chose the latter.
Mary of Bethany is in fact another of the timeless, representative figures so wonderfully portrayed in this Gospel. She is a type of the true Christian worshipper, even as the sinful woman in the very different anointing story in Luke vii. 36-50 is a type of the true Christian penitent.
When you stop to think about it, Mary’s act of adoration and worship looks a lot like what we will be doing in heaven, for all eternity. There, we will cast the most precious things we have at His feet:
In the light of our expectation of worshipping Him for all eternity, we would do well to imitate Mary, and thus to practice our worship in the present.
I would suggest that we may not have much time left either, until He comes again. We should make good use of our time, even as Mary does in our text, and employ ourselves in doing that which pleases Him, since ministry as we know it presently will no longer be possible.
First, her worship is spontaneous, and not commanded. Mary’s worship is her own spontaneous response to our Lord, given that moment in time and her love for Him. The Old Testament law has many commandments related to worship, but what Mary does goes above and beyond them all. Love prompts what law can never produce.
Second, Mary’s worship is selfless, sacrificial, and even extravagant. If “worship” is about our Lord’s “worth-ship,” as indeed it is, then nothing we can ever do will be worthy of the person and work of our Lord Jesus Christ. Here is a woman whose worship reflects her grasp of the majesty and greatness of our Lord Jesus Christ. She gives the finest thing that she has, willingly, cheerfully, and eagerly. Her giving is no mere duty, begrudgingly carried out; this is her delight. Had she something of greater value to give, I have no doubt she would have given it to her Lord.
Third, Mary worshipped her Lord extravagantly, by giving something that she had to give.
Fourth, I must reluctantly point out that Mary’s worship is criticized and even opposed by those who know and love the Savior. Let us be very careful about hindering the worship of others, as the disciples are doing with Mary.
Fifth, I call to your attention that Mary’s worship is not something she does in a way which attracts attention to herself, but something privately done at our Lord’s feet. I am impressed that almost every time we find Mary in the Gospels, we find her at Jesus’ feet. She is learning from Jesus, at His feet, in Luke 10 (see verse 39). When Jesus comes to Bethany after Lazarus dies, Mary falls at His feet (John 11:32). Now, in chapter 12, she is once again at our Lord’s feet, anointing them with her precious oil. How the disciples push and shove to be beside our Lord, at His right hand or His left (see 13:1-11), but no one wants to be at His feet—except Mary, and perhaps a few other women. There is always room at Jesus’ feet, room to do humble, menial, yet needful things. And there is no place better suited for service and worship than there, at His feet.
Our Lord teaches that those things we do publicly, when done for public acclaim and approval, receive man’s approval, but not His. He also indicates that those things done privately, but done for His praise, are those things that please Him, and bring about His praise (Matthew 6). Mary’s worship is consistent with our Lord’s instruction about acts of worship.
Sixth, I cannot help but wonder if Mary’s sacrificial worship does not have an impact on the Apostle Paul. I wonder if Paul’s words here have any relationship to this act of worship by Mary:
Philippians 4:15-18, 15 And as you Philippians know, at the beginning of my gospel ministry, when I left Macedonia, no one shared with me in this matter of giving and receiving except you alone. 16 For even in Thessalonica on more than one occasion you sent something for my need. 17 It is not that I am seeking a gift. Rather, I seek the credit that abounds to your account. 18 For I have received all things, and I have plenty. I have all I need because I received from Epaphroditus your gifts, a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, very pleasing to God
Finally, Mary’s worship of our Lord in our text has something important to say to us about the ministry of women. Our Lord made a point of breaking some of the cultural taboos regarding women (see John 4:27). none of the truly biblical restrictions on the worship or service of Mary hinder her from knowing Jesus well or worshipping Him. Indeed, she does better at this than His disciples do, it seems! Mary seems to be more in tune with our Lord’s teaching than the men who follow Him.
The sacrifice she made
The example she portrayed
The fragrance she produced
The message she preached
A message of love
A message of grace
I am not at all shocked or surprised that Mary willingly sacrifices her most prized possession in her worship of the Lord. He is worthy of the best we can offer. In fact, the best we can offer is not worthy of Him. What causes me to wonder is how God could give His most precious possession to save unworthy creatures like us. He gave His own Son, the most precious gift of all, so that we might be saved. Our Lord gave His most precious gift—His priceless blood—so that He might forgive our sins and give us eternal life. That is the great wonder, which inspires worship like that of Mary. May it also inspire our worship as well. Have you received His gift, His precious gift the Lord Jesus Christ? To reject that gift—to reject the saving work of Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary—is to spurn the most precious gift God has given to us.
If you had only one week to live and knew it how would you spend your time? Look at what Jesus did, He spent it with His closest friends.
9 Now a great many of the Jews knew that He was there; and they came, not for Jesus' sake only, but that they might also see Lazarus, whom He had raised from the dead. Says this three times
There they are again, the Jesus watchers, same ones. Back in verse 55 of chapter 11 doing the same thing. Where is He? Oh let's see Him. That's where it's at, Jesus always provides so much entertainment at the Passover and they wanted to see Jesus and they wanted to see Lazarus, this guy who was raised from the dead. Curiosity. Thrill-seekers, sensation-seekers, careless, indifferent, could care less really about the person of Christ, they just swung with the crowd, the mood of the mob just carried them whichever direction.
The vast majority of people who attend churches in America today are Jesus watchers and nothing else. They're spectators. They don't hate Him, they're not hostile Judases and they don't love Him, they're not Mary’s. They're watchers and they sit there and look. And it's a sad thing because the crowd that sits and watches became the crowd that crucified Him.
In Acts chapter 3 this kind of a crowd is designated to us by an illustration. In Acts chapter 3 verse 6 Peter says to this particular man who was lame, "Silver and gold have I none, but such as I have I give thee in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk." And he did and he was leaping and praising God, you know, and it was really exciting, all the things that he was doing. And then you come to verse 14 of chapter 4 and you read an astounding statement. Now the man is jumping around and having a great time and the people are there and they see him. It says in verse 14 of chapter 4, "And beholding the man that was healed standing with them, they could say nothing... against it." Now isn't that interesting? What did they want to say? They wanted to say something...what?...against it. You see, they didn't want to believe. They never wanted to believe. Even when they watched they were only looking for some way to disprove it. You see the negative of it? They saw that the guy jumping around leaping for joy who had been lame and they said, "Um, now how can we say something against that?" see. That's looking at it with the evil eye.
They really like Him." Yeah, well you want to meet them again? Look at them in chapter 19 verse 14, it says this, "And it was the preparation of the Passover about the sixth hour and he saith unto the Jews...Pilate says...Behold your king. And they cried out, 'Away with Him, away with Him, crucify Him.' Pilate saith unto them, 'Shall I crucify your King?' The chief priest answered, 'We have no king but Caesar.'" Hypocrites. They hated Caesar. But you see the same crowd watched Him, threw palms at His feet, crucified Him. The mood of the mob. The Jesus watchers. They don't have any thoughts of their own, they just sway along with whichever way the theology goes, knowing nothing. And the tragic comment on them is in Matthew 27:36, they all gathered around the cross and you know what it says? It says this, pathetic, "And sitting down they watched Him there." Still doing the same thing.
Don't just sit there and watch Jesus. That's deadly. Receive Him into your life.
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.
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