Summary: Exposition of Worship
Text: John 12:1-7, Title: Cold vs. Bold, Date/Place: NRBC, 2.3.13, AM
A. Opening illustration: “Why American churchgoers like to shop around”
B. Background to passage: I am planning to try to cover the teaching section that Jesus leaves to the disciples
between chapters 12-17. This is moving into the last week of Jesus life, immediately following the
resurrection of Lazarus. So lots of people believed, and yet the religious leaders were pretty stirred up. In
fact, in the previous verse they had issued a charge that if anyone knew were Jesus was, they were to let them
know so they could seize him. And by the end of the passage we are reading, they are ready to kill Lazarus
too in order to stop “Jesusmania” from spreading.
C. Main thought: I want us to see the juxtaposition of Mary and Judas, and evaluate our extravagance and
devotion to Christ.
A. Worship is Bold (v. 1-3)
1. This is the boldest, most costly (financial and social) act of worship ever recorded. I have tried to think
of a few more examples of this kind of worship, and there are few with the possible exceptions of the
triumphal entry and the burial in Joseph of Arimathea’s tomb. 1) It was bold in terms of potential civil
cost. Having this dinner at all and not turning Jesus in was criminal. They didn’t even go underground;
they threw a party in honor of the most wanted man in Jerusalem! Do you know what this could have cost
them? Know what it cost Jesus? 2) It was bold in terms of financial cost. Explain the estimate of the cost
of this ointment. Spikenard of N. India, 12X the normal volume kept on hand, 100s or 1000s of times
what would have been used in a single sitting. Note the purity. Use of the entire bottle, anointing in the
entire body. Cost of 1 year’s wages; approximately $16,000-$18,000 for worship that lasts a few hours.
Maybe up to half of her net worth, maybe a family heirloom, her most valuable and sentimental thing. My
Egyptian gift of perfume. 3) It was bold in terms of social cost respectable Jewish women never unbound
their hair (it was always long BTW J) in public in the presence of men. This was a sign of a lack of
morals and rebellion. She was probably single, He was single, this was completely unacceptable. A
collective gasp would have come from anyone who saw her do this. And on top of that they all witnessed
her do what only a lowly slave would be expected to do. Her reputation would have been destroyed.
2. BTW Jesus endorsed this act. He said 1) leave her alone, 2) she did it for my burial, 3) the world will
know of this sacrifice. Jesus endorsed bold, sacrificial, public worship. He was worth it!
3. Illustration: "There is a great gulf between Christianity that wrestles with whether to worship at the cost of
imprisonment and death, and the Christianity that wrestles with whether you should play soccer on Sunday
morning…modern, western Christians have come to see safety and ease as a right. We move away from bad
neighborhoods. We leave hard relationships. We don't go to dangerous, unreached people groups…If the Christian
life has become the path of ease and fun in the modern West, then corporate worship is the place of increasing
entertainment. The problem is not a battle between contemporary worship music and hymns; the problem is that
there aren't enough martyrs during the week" -Piper
Most of us will never have to weigh the consequences to our lives, livelihoods, or families regarding if
we go to worship. We should probably more wisely weight the consequences of not going. Give some
examples of children and grandchildren forsaking the faith. It is hard for us to answer, but what if you
lived in a country that could/would put you in prison for public worship? I read this week about Pastor
Sayeed’s place of residence for the next 8 years in Iran being a death sentence, and an assurance that his
wife and two children will never see him alive again. Wonder if Iranian Christians will go for her/them to
let them know he is OK? Would you?
5. Some of mankind’s greatest contributions have come from people who decided that no sacrifice was too
large and no effort too great to accomplish what they set out to do. Most of us will not spend $16,000 on
the worship of Christ in a lifetime (not tithing, just extravagant public worship), let alone in 30 minutes.
David was unwilling to worship with something that cost him nothing – 2 Sam 24:24 “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