Summary: Although we find it easy to be distracted by a thousand voices calling in our world, it is crucial that Christians be focused on serving Jesus in intentional ways. Mary of Bethany is a wonderful example of this!
Although we find it easy to be distracted by a thousand voices calling in our world, it is crucial that Christians be focused on serving Jesus in intentional ways.
This is a story of celebration and worship that takes place in the home of a man who had an amazing experience. Lazarus had been raised from the dead! At his home with his sisters and the disciples there was quite a celebration. Martha is serving, Lazarus is reclining with Jesus. Mary has worship and adoration on her mind. All of this is in the shadow of the cross … “Six days before Passover…” Read Text. This passage is “an introduction to Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem and the beginning of his passion and death.” - George W. Stroup, FOTW
Vs. 7-8 remind us of a few things. Mary of Bethany has some grasp of the impending death of Jesus. Mary has prepared for the death of Jesus by buying this perfume and setting it aside. She thought that since it was intended for Jesus, it was better to demonstrate love and worship for him now, rather than after he had died. “It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial.”
As a disciple of Jesus, what is your intention?
1. We Are Intended To Celebrate! (1-2)
This was quite a scene of celebration. Lazarus was back from the dead - amazing! Martha was doing what she loved to do most. Jesus was in the home of people he loved. “Here is a prelude to the passion, a beautiful domestic scene wth a family where the one who had no place to lay his head experienced as much home as anywhere in his ministry.” - H. Stephen Shoemaker, FOTW. With Jesus we all have reason to celebrate! We’ve been redeemed from our own sins! Jesus comes to live within us! We live with the knowledge of His promises. We are blessed with the church for fellowship & support.
We have to be intentional in our celebration because there are many things in life that try to steal our joy. When we experience the work of the Lord in our life, we are intended to rejoice in that. That rejoicing comes in spite of circumstances that may be hard.
2. We Are Intended to Worship! (3)
What Mary Did was extraordinary! Note: There are accounts of an anointing of Jesus by a woman in all four Gospels, and the question of the relationship between the accounts is complicated. - Leon Morris, The Gospel According to John, NICNT.
*An extraordinary gift. “Pure Nard” - about a pint - “This would be a scented oil that might be poured on the head as a mark of festivity. ‘Perfume’ gives the sense of it. The quantity Mary used is quite a large one and this perfume was expensive, so that Mary’s was a very costly action.” -Morris.
*An extraordinary act of worship. An extraordinary humility “Anointing the feet is most unusual, to say the least. In neither incident is a reason given for such an anointing, but it appears to indicate the taking of a very lowly place.” - Morris
The fragrance filled the room. We do not normally associate acts of witness with the sense of smell, but why not? The smell of freshly baked bread given to another, of a Sunday school classroom full of young children after recess, of a room prepared for a guest. Anne smith, who began Charlotte Food Rescue, was hauling a station wagon full of donuts to a food shelter. She stopped off to make a pitch to executives of what is now Bank of America. As she rode the elevator to the top floor, someone said, “You smell like donuts!” She laughed and told why, and by the time the elevator door opened, she had recruited another. The fragrance of love's actions is carried on the wind to places we never see. - Shoemaker, FOTW
"A good name is better than precious ointment," says Ecclesiastes 7:1; and Mary had both. ~ Warren Wiersbe
B. We are here to Worship Jesus - are we intentionally meaning it in our hearts?
*By using what we have to His Glory
*By counting Him worthy of our very best
*By serving him humbly, without credit or pretense.
*By filling our world with the fragrance of His love.
*We are intended to celebrate and worship.
3. We are Intended to Turn Away From the Judas Spirit (4-6)
Judas was someone who takes but never gives.
Judas was someone who judges but never worships.
“Tenney remarks that his words here ‘revealed that he had a sharp sense of financial values and no appreciation of human values.’” - Morris
Judas is someone who criticizes but never serves. He thought Mary offered up wasted worship!