Summary: Resurrection, Truth vs. Deception, Life
OBITUARIES – An Obituary Written Too Soon
Matthew 27:57-28:7 (p. 698) April 13, 2014
After Jesus raises Lazarus from the grave we’re told that some of the witnesses head immediately to the Pharisees and “tell them what Jesus had done.”
It’s almost like the gossip that can’t wait to get home and get on the phone...it reminds me of the 3 ministers who went on a fishing trip with each other...
[And after a couple of days while they were out in the boat together...one minister said “I feel really close to you guys and the Bible says we’re to confess our sins to one another...and I’ve got to tell you every once in a while I like to take a little drink of whiskey. The second preacher said, “I feel the same and every once in a while I like to put a bet or two on the horses.” And the 3rd minister got really excited and said, “Men you don’t know how much I appreciate your honest, because I like to gossip and I can’t wait to get home.”]
These folks that go from Lazarus’ resurrection to the Pharisees know exactly what will happen when this news is conveyed...for over 3 years the Pharisees have progressively gotten more hostile toward Jesus. His blunt honesty and popularity cause jealousy and hatred to flow from almost every question and conversation He has with them. So, when these Pharisees call a meeting of the Jewish leadership called the Sanhedrin, here’s what their leader proposes...
JOHN 11:48-53 (p. 749)
The obituary Caiaphas had in mind for Jesus of Nazareth: ”Carpenter dies suspicious death so that all the nation of Israel can be united.”
In fact the word was put out: “Anyone who finds out where Jesus is should report it so He can be arrested!” (John 11:57)
And then the plot thickens...
I. LET’S KILL THEM BOTH
It’s six days before Jesus eats the Passover meal with his disciples...six days before he washes their feet, and Judas leaves to betray him...
It’s just a short time after Lazarus’ resurrection and Mary, Martha, and Lazarus have a dinner in Jesus’ honor at their house in Bethany. Martha is serving, of course. Lazarus is reclining around the table with Jesus (I love the N.T. guide to eating)...laying down...and Mary takes a jar of expensive perfume – she pours it on Jesus’ feet and wipes it with her hair. The house is filled with the fragrance of perfume.
[It’s an act of absolute humility and worship. Mary sacrifices something of great value to her (perfume) for something she values far more...Jesus. And if you want to humble yourself as a woman worshipping Jesus can you think of anything that would do that more than kneeling at his feet, then bowing even further so you can wipe and wash his feet with your hair?]
I promise you Mary decided in her heart to sacrifice and humble herself in worship of Jesus long before she came into the room. And I would encourage every worshipper, whether traditional or contemporary, to prepare yourself...surrender your heart in sacrifice and humility before you enter this room. If you do that, you glorify the Son of God, and humble your heart. And you will be in the right posture to be a “real worshipper” in Spirit and in truth. Not everyone in Jesus’ presence will do so...Listen:
JOHN 12:4-8 (p. 750)
Judas was a thief. He wanted to steal what belonged to Jesus’ ministry for his own needs. To disguise it, he offers his concern for poor people. The problem is Mary’s motive wasn’t to rob from the poor. Mary’s motive was to honor Jesus. And Jesus said “Leave her alone...There will always be poor people...I’ll only go to the cross once!”
A large crowd gathers around the house. Spectators coming to see the guy raised from the dead and Jesus...So
JOHN 12:10-11 (p. 750)
This week is all about death and resurrection. Lazarus was somewhat the warm up act in preparation for Calvary and the empty tomb. The Pharisees are plotting “kill them both. Stop it now!” Little did they know, nothing was going to stop God’s plan. That boulder was already picking up speed as it headed down the hill,
But Pharisees and those that plot against Jesus aren’t dictating the agenda. Jesus is.
II. THE MOST AMAZING WEEK THIS WORLD HAS EVER SEEN
After Bethany’s meal the leaders of the plot to kill Jesus have a pleasant surprise.
MATTHEW 26:14-16 (p. 695)
Was the perfume the final straw for Judas? Who knows, but Judas goes to the plot leaders and trades Jesus for money. I’ve met folks like that. 30 pieces of silver (It’s the price paid for a slave) and Judas starts to watch and plan for the best time to sell Jesus out.