Summary: At the feast in Bethany, we can see a beautiful picture of the Church and a contrast between a worshiper and one who was selfish.
* Jesus had been staying a Ephraim.
* As the Passover approached, people began to wonder if Jesus would show up for the feast.
* He shows up in Bethany at a feast to honor him, sponsored by the family of Lazarus, Mary and Martha.
* In this setting, we get the most beautiful picture of a healthy, functioning Church.
1) Lazarus was there, one raised from the dead.
* One of the main things a church does is offer life to the lifeless.
* Jesus had said, ?I am the resurrection and the life.?
* He had said, ?In me is life.? ?I am the way, the truth and the life.?
* ?I have come to give you life and that life is more abundant.?
* Jesus is life, and the Church is the body of Christ.
* I Corinthians 12:27, ?Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually.?
* As members of the body of Christ, each of us are responsible for dispensing life to our community.
* The lost souls, people who have not placed faith in Jesus Christ and called upon Him for salvation, are dependent upon us to give them the message of truth.
* That is a key function of the Church.
* That what Lazarus represents to us today.
* Paul called us Christ?s ambassadors for the reconciliation of lost souls (II Cor. 5:20).
* We must make sure that we are reaching for souls corporately and individually.
2) Martha was there, serving the guests.
* Another function of the church is to give people opportunities to serve using their gifts and talents.
* Martha was gifted in service and details, a great host.
* When it says, ?They made Him a supper and Martha served,? you can just about picture that she was supervising the preparations, can?t you?
* There are three sides to service, and all three are seen here.
A. Martha supervised and served.
B. Mary and Lazarus served under supervision.
C. Jesus and the other guests were served (submitted to the service of others.)
* To me, it is easier to be a Martha.
* It is harder to be a Mary and Lazarus, and serve under the leadership of others.
* Some people say, ?Well, I won?t help if I am not in charge.?
* We served at one church where there was a constant battle over the kitchen.
* One who was usually an exemplary church member would puff, and pout, and say, ?That?s so-and-so?s responsibility. She?s in charge, ask her.?
* The first qualification for leadership in Jesus? organization is servantship.
* Matthew 23:11-12 ? ??But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. 12 ?And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.?
* It is hardest to be like Jesus and be served.
* Now some can be served easily and naturally.
* For others of us, that is the hardest thing. It feels unnatural.
3) Mary was there to worship.
* The third function of the church is Christ-centered, heart felt, sacrificial worship.
* Spikenard, our pure Nard oil, was made in Northern India, high in the Himalaya Mountains.
* It was sold by traveling merchants and was very popular to purchase for one?s funeral preparation.
* It was sold in sealed alabaster boxes or flasks.
* It was expensive, about a year?s wages for a laborer, or a lifetime of savings for most people (Thru the Bible with J. V. McGee, Vol. 4, pg. 444).
* She took the oil and anointed Jesus? feet, drying them with her hair.
* This was not the first time this had happened. The first time was in Simon the Pharisee?s house and was performed by a woman of adultery. (Luke 7:36-50).
* Though some believe and teach this is the same woman, the house was different, the description of the woman was different, the feast was different, the complaints were different and Jesus? response to the complaints was different.
* No doubt, Mary had heard about the first incident and said, ?I want to do that.?
* Worship styles and actions do not have to be original. It does have to be sincere.
* And it does have to be sacrificial.
* Let?s look at two more things here.
1. First a contrast. The self-less, sacrificial worship of Mary and the self-serving greed of Judas.
* Judas saw the anointing of Jesus with expensive perfume and said, ?Hey, that is a waste of money. That could have been donated to the cause. I could have sold that for a years? wages.?
* John is careful to point out, in retrospect, the deception, greed and false motives of Judas.
* Our lesson? Not everyone thing that a person says reveals the motive of the heart.