Summary: Message 23 from our journey through John's gospel. This message explores Mary anointing Jesus' feet as an example of extravagant devotion deserving of an extraordinary Savior.
Pastor David Welch
Chapter 2 – Lord over nature and the temple
Chapter 3 – God’s gift of love for salvation
Chapter 4-- Living water springing up to eternal life
Chapter 5 – Father’s obedient Son
Chapter 6 – Bread of Life out of heaven offering life to the hungry
Chapter 7 – Master Teacher and dispatcher of the rivers of water
Chapter 8 – Eternal (I AM) Light of the world who reveals truth that sets the captive free
Chapter 9 – Restorer of sight to the blind
Chapter 10 – the Door and the Good Shepherd who sacrifices his life to offer abundant life and security to the sheep
Shepherd knows the sheep by name.
"Can a woman forget her nursing child, and have no compassion on the son of her womb?
Even these may forget, but I will not forget you.
"Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; your walls are continually before Me. Isaiah 49:15-16
Chapter 11 – Resurrection and the life who offers us the sure hope of a resurrected life
Chapter 12 – Anointed King of Israel who comes in the name of the Lord
What is the appropriate response to such a great and wonderful God as we have? John 12 records the marvelous response of one of the devoted followers of Jesus.
This morning I want to explore her worthy example and come to grips in our life with the principle of extravagant devotion. We are in an age when sacrificial devotion to a cause does not bring admiration but criticism for being too fanatical. Don’t take things so seriously. Don’t go overboard. We need to be reminded once again of a most vital Biblical principle.
A magnificent God deserves extravagant devotion.
The degree of sacrifice demonstrates the degree of devotion that determines the degree of eternal reward.
Six days before the Passover ceremonies began, Jesus arrived in Bethany, the home of Lazarus—the man he had raised from the dead. A dinner was prepared in Jesus' honor. Martha served, and Lazarus sat at the table with him. Then Mary took a twelve-ounce jar of expensive perfume made from essence of nard, and she anointed Jesus' feet with it and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with fragrance.
But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples—the one who would betray him—said, "That perfume was worth a small fortune. It should have been sold and the money given to the poor." Not that he cared for the poor—he was a thief who was in charge of the disciples' funds, and he often took some for his own use.
Jesus replied, "Leave her alone. She did it in preparation for my burial. You will always have the poor among you, but I will not be here with you much longer." John 12:1-8
This was a meal to express honor to Jesus. How do you properly honor someone like Jesus? He has everything. He can do anything. He has no needs. He has done so much. He is God. He is the great I AM. He is the resurrection and the life. He is the bread of life. He is the water of life. He is the good shepherd.
Mary took the lead. Mary was unwilling to wait until after death to honor Jesus. It was her desire to demonstrate her deep devotion while she had opportunity. She took a jar filled with very expensive perfume. The estimated value was 300 days wages or just short of a year’s wages. As she broke it and anointed the body of Jesus, the others, beginning with Judas, reacted. The other accounts say they became indignant. What a waste of resources. A year’s wages wasted for one moment in time, one simple gesture. Jesus immediately defends her actions as noble and right. She alone acted on her devoted heart. Jesus announced to the indignant disciples that her devoted act would be remembered wherever the gospel was taught through all time.
How do you justify such extravagance? When its intent is to honor such a magnificent Lord. I would venture to conclude from this and other scripture that until giving becomes sacrificial it remains inconsequential.
Jesus taught the disciples this principle in the temple one day as they were watching a widow come to give her offering to God.
And He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury. And He saw a certain poor widow putting in two small copper coins. And He said, "Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all of them; for they all out of their surplus put into the offering; but she out of her poverty put in all that she had to live on." Luke 21:1-4