Summary: A devotional for communion John shares with us what it means to be one with Christ through the extravagance of Mary's love. A love that gave Jesus her 1. Future 2. Her whole being
Scripture: John 12:1-8 (A brief devotional before Communion)
Theme: Oneness with Christ - the Extravagance of Mary's Love
Proposition: John shares with us a living example of what it means to be one with Jesus through the sacrificial love life of Mary towards Jesus. Mary gives Jesus 1. Her future 2. Her whole self.
Grace and peace to you this morning from the Father, Son and Holy Spirit!
This morning our passage of scripture is one of the greatest examples of extravagant love. It is the story of Mary and Jesus. It also invites us to experience the deepest of walks/relationships that we can experience with the LORD.
Let me start this morning by asking a simple question -
How deep of a walk does Jesus desire for all of us?
The answer to the question is simple, inviting and challenging.
A walk so deep that takes us into a relationship of being "One In Jesus".
It is this "oneness" that we see in the lives of John and Lazarus. And it is one that we see in Lazarus’ sister, Mary. In John chapter 12 we find Mary sitting at Jesus' feet, soaking in His very presence. Officially, she was not a part of the 12 disciples, or a part of the inner three (Peter, James and John) , but as you read her story you realize that she shared an "oneness in Jesus" that was shared with John, Lazarus and later on the Apostle Paul.
Let's turn to John 12 and share the story. Jesus had come to visit Lazarus, Mary and Martha. While it was not His first visit, it would prove to be His last visit. Perhaps more than anyone Mary sensed this fact. Maybe it was something she saw, something she heard Jesus say that told her that this visit was going to be different than any other that they had shared.
Perhaps as she met Him at the door she could see it in His eyes. For people who love each other can see and sense things that others are not able. Judas, for example, did not see anything. Judas did not have a clue what was about to happen, but then again, Judas did not love Jesus. To him, this was just another meal at Lazarus' house. He had no clue as to its importance.
John carefully lays out the story. At first, he only shares that Jesus came for a meal. Nothing more is alluded to or hinted. But sometime during the meal, Mary comes and sits down at Jesus' feet. It was not the first time she had done so, but never had anyone done for Jesus what she was about to do. Never had anyone displayed the type of extravagant love for Jesus that Mary was about to display.
She sits at Jesus' feet and instead of seeking what she can receive from Jesus, she pours out her life on Jesus. She uncovers the deepest parts of her heart and pours them out upon the LORD.
You may ask, now how did she do that? What did she do to make you think she was giving Jesus the deepest parts of her heart?
When Mary anointed Jesus at the banquet given in His honor, she was giving Him her very best.
I. Mary lays Her future at the feet of Jesus
For that is what the pound of nard was, it symbolized Mary's whole future. That pound of nard scholars tell us was her dowry. No father is mentioned in any of the stories involving Lazarus, Martha or Mary. It has always been assumed that by this time that both of their parents had passed away, and that both girls were living in their brother's house for his protection.
Verse five reveals that Mary's little bottle of perfume was worth over one year’s worth of wages. Now, don't read that and just go on, bypassing its significance. Meditate on that little fact for a moment. Mull it over. Allow it to speak to you. One year's worth of wages. Take whatever you make in a year, and visible put it into a little container -- $15, 000, $25,000, $40,000, $60,000, $100,000 or more. Take that amount and place it over to the side. Even today with our ability to get anything we want around the world, a pound of nard (imported usually from India) goes for about $30,000.00.
During this time, tradition stated that when a woman and man married it was with the idea that for the first year they would not have to spend their time working hard, but would spend the majority of their time getting to know one another and adjusting to their lives together. That was the main reason for having a dowry and for all the wedding gifts that were given throughout the week of their weeding. It was to provide for the family a first start; and with that first start, giving them the opportunity to begin life, being able to spend more time together for the first year and not for just the first few days.