A costly example

So that you may believe - Gospel of John  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  54:56
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The day is coming

There are several significant dates in someones life, and that included Jesus.
What are some significant things, dates that you have had in your life?
What about significant events, dates in Jesus life?
How about the disciples, the apostles?
Jesus date is coming, but tonight we are looking at a significant event between Mary and Jesus that sets up passion week which is just ahead.
Jesus knew the day was coming that the Jewish leaders were going to arrest Him, and kill him. We have now entered the last week of His life. Yet, He still came to Bethany just 2-miles outside of Jerusalem.
A plan was about to be fulfilled. The Jews thought it was their plan, but in reality it is the fulfillment of God’s grand plan, God’s scheme of redemption that was foretold previously by the prophets.
John 11:53 NASB95
53 So from that day on they planned together to kill Him.
And add to that
John 11:57 NASB95
57 Now the chief priests and the Pharisees had given orders that if anyone knew where He was, he was to report it, so that they might seize Him.
Jesus had things to do before going into Jerusalem to be handed over. He wanted some time with friends. He loved to spend time with them. Martha is found serving, Mary is found at the Lord’s feet.
You may find parallel passages of this section in (Mt26:6-13; Mk14:3-9)

A passage to consider

Grab your bible or open your bible app to our section this evening and let us look together.
John 12:1–2 NASB95
1 Jesus, therefore, six days before the Passover, came to Bethany where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. 2 So they made Him a supper there, and Martha was serving; but Lazarus was one of those reclining at the table with Him.
John 12:3 NASB95
3 Mary then took a pound of very costly perfume of pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped His feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.
John 12:4–5 NASB95
4 But Judas Iscariot, one of His disciples, who was intending to betray Him, said, 5 “Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and given to poor people?
John 12:6 NASB95
6 Now he said this, not because he was concerned about the poor, but because he was a thief, and as he had the money box, he used to pilfer what was put into it.
John 12:7–8 NASB95
7 Therefore Jesus said, “Let her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of My burial. 8 “For you always have the poor with you, but you do not always have Me.”
John 12:9 NASB95
9 The large crowd of the Jews then learned that He was there; and they came, not for Jesus’ sake only, but that they might also see Lazarus, whom He raised from the dead.
John 12:10–11 NASB95
10 But the chief priests planned to put Lazarus to death also; 11 because on account of him many of the Jews were going away and were believing in Jesus.
Anything you find significant in this passage, keep it to the scripture, give verses?
Who are the characters in this passage?
There are a couple of themes you can see in this passage, what are they?
Think for a minute, what day of the week is it? (pay attention to verse 1)
Who was serving, who was reclining (v.2)
Who was anointing (v.3)?
Who was questioning (vv.4-5)?
Why was there questioning, the real reason (v.6)?
What is the purpose of the anointing (v.7-8)?
Not only did the crowd want to see Jesus, who/what else did they want to see (v.9)?
Why did the chief priests want to kill both Jesus and Lazarus (vv.10-11)?

Supper in Bethany

Jesus loved to spend time with Lazarus, Mary and Martha. Just the day before the triumphal entry He is in Bethany with them.
Interesting fact that Gospel of John spending just shy of 50% devoted to passion week. Matthew about 33% , Mark about 40% and Luke just over 25%. So some significant numbers leading up to God’s plan of redemption.
In looking at the other accounts of this event it is very likely they were in the home of Simon the Leper (Mt26:6; Mk14:3)
Martha working in kitchen but not the same attitude she had in (Lk10:38-42)
Turn there for a moment and see what is different, what is it?
Maclaren said:
“He (Jesus) would not pain His hosts by self-absorbed aloof at the table. The reason for the feast is obviously the raising of Lazarus, as it is suggested by his being twice mentioned in verses 1 and two.”
Maybe another thought about Martha; we need Martha’s today, but cannot lose the perspective. Oftentimes we invite people over, make fancy or elaborate dinner, dessert. Clean, dust and vacuum the house in preparation. When the people are only coming because they want to spend time with you. Don’t get so caught up the things that you miss out on the who.
OK, maybe another. The the previous time it was just Jesus as the guest and this time it is seventeen guests (Jesus, Apostles, Simon, Mary, Lazarus and herself). But yet this time she is not complaining but joyfully going about her work. So, if you are working, thank you, but don’t complain about it, do it willingly, joyfully and be sure to give time to the guest.

A costly example

Serving, showing devotion is not always not without sacrifice, without a cost.
Mary is unmarried and this costly example could have been, and many commentators believe that it was her “dowry.”
A pound (weight normally used for spices) of pure nard (a very fragrant plant that was much desired at this time?
Mary is a great example of worship, a beautiful example, and a costly one.
If we follow the example, willing, doing even when costly, as Mary was criticized, we too maybe.
Good company David when he danced.
Church people who look and find faults with each other instead of loving one another.
Mary’s gift was an act of love, an act of devotion. It was an act of worship that was public, spontaneous, sacrificial, lavish, personal and costly.
Jesus called her gift a “good work” (Mt26:10; Mk14:6).
We too can do a good work, what kind of good work can we do?
Mary had the true heart of a worshipper.
Devoted, listening, was there anytime she could. We too can be too, Sunday’s, Wednesdays and the days in between that there are things going on.
Devoted to personal bible time and prayer.
Devoted by sitting at Jesus feet and learned
Devoted by being at Jesus feet and was surrendered
Devoted by anointing Jesus feet in giving Him honor
Consider what does our devotion look like today?
Mary gave remarkable gift to Jesus
It was remarkably humble
How? By washing His feet and wiping with her hair
Remarkably extreme
It was costly nard (some say spike nard)
Remarkably unselfconscience
She did something out of the ordinary, she let down her hair to do it. That was very uncommon to do that in public.
Morris said on this:
“The act is all the more striking in that a Jewish woman never unbound her hair in public. That apparently was a mark of loose morals. But Mary did not stop to calculate public reaction. Her heart went out to her Lord and gave expression to something of her feelings in this beautiful and touching act.”

Judas objection

Mary was opposed, objected too by her gift. We as Christians maybe, are at times opposed or objected too.
John 12:4–5 NLT
4 But Judas Iscariot, the disciple who would soon betray him, said, 5 “That perfume was worth a year’s wages. It should have been sold and the money given to the poor.”
John 12:6 NLT
6 Not that he cared for the poor—he was a thief, and since he was in charge of the disciples’ money, he often stole some for himself.
Judas displayed the darkness in his heart. Mary displayed the light of her devotion to Jesus.
Many may claim the name of Jesus, all the while there is darkness in their heart.
Again turning to Morgan
“Judas, blinded in self-interest, criticized her action, and so revealed himself as utterly opposed to the very spirit of the Lord Himself.”
Is there too much love, devotion that we can give to Jesus? Is there something that is too costly?
Another worthy quote, this time from Maclaren
“When a man has gone so far in selfish greed that he has left common honesty behind him, no wonder if the sight of the utterly self-surrendering love looks to him folly.”
Money lost, money gain slide here
It is believed that Judas after loosing this income left to go set up the betrayal of Jesus for the 30 pieces of silver.
There should be no price on Mary’s devotion for Jesus, for the gift that was for his burial. There was no cost concern when it came to a burial.
Look what it says in Mark
Mark 14:9 NASB95
9 “Truly I say to you, wherever the gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be spoken of in memory of her.”
Mary took a place in history because of her love, her devotion, her costly gift to Jesus.

The plot to seize, kill Jesus

It’s not enough to plot to kill Jesus, they needed to get Lazarus out of the way too. For many were, well let’s look together.
John 12:9 NLT
9 When all the people heard of Jesus’ arrival, they flocked to see him and also to see Lazarus, the man Jesus had raised from the dead.
John 12:10–11 NLT
10 Then the leading priests decided to kill Lazarus, too, 11 for it was because of him that many of the people had deserted them and believed in Jesus.
The Jews here are mostly made up of Sadducees, for they did not believe in resurrection. And Lazarus was proof of one.
Spurgeon said:
“When men hate Christ, they also hate those whom He has blessed, and will go to any lengths in seeking to silence their testimony”.
Think about this, he had been dead for four days, and then was alive, Jesus made him alive. They had seen him, they could not deny it.
The raising of Lazarus had a result, many believed in Jesus
Not only were they believing for they saw it. They went and were still believing. Do you think they would be sharing this with others?
Have you had instances, things in your life that have aided in others coming to believe in Jesus?
Maybe you can consider a way to look at some of the characters in this passage.
Martha represents works
Mary represents worship
Lazarus represents witness
There are many different ways to evangelize, here are a couple out of the ordinary.
Lazarus used no words, but many believed and came to Jesus
John Baptist did no miracles but many believed and came to Jesus
You can do many things that can lead people to believe and then come to Jesus.
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