Summary: A call to Christians to render service to the Lord whenever they can, not waiting for a "better opportunity," nor seek men’s approval.
Supper at Bethany
Sacrifice of Mary
Slighting / Selfishness of Judas
Slave or Savior in Jesus
Support by Jesus
Setting for Jesus’ burial
Souvenir of Mary’s sacrifice
So much seems to be done out of love, yet it is only the love of one’s self (Good Seed 19/4/89). We are in a world full of distractions and conflicting desires claiming our loyalties. Hence the need for us to be reminded that it is an acquaintance with the LORD Himself that will bring us knowledge of the Holy. Our knowledge of Him should plant a deep sea of love in our hearts for the Master. It is what we do for the Master in love that will earn us His commendation(s).
Our service may be ridiculed by many. It might have cost us a life’s savings. Yet, our “sacrifice of love” will surely earn the Master’s support.
Today, we shall dwell on the text John 12: 1-8 to learn from Mary’s “SACRIFICE OF LOVE.”
KEY VERSE: “Jesus therefore said, ‘let her alone, in order that she may keep it for the day of my burial’.” John 12:7.
I. Supper at Bethany, v. 2
a. At Simon the leper’s house, Mt. 26:6
Simon was a leper but now healed (probably by Jesus). He probably might have organized the dinner in honor of Jesus (Williams) and could be a sign of gratefulness or gratitude by him, Lazarus, Mary and Martha, v.2
Simon is now a new man. He was a leper before. Leprosy is a ‘type’ of sin.
Tremendous changes occur when a person becomes a new creature in Christ. Evangelist D.L. Moody enumerated the major points in that life-altering transaction and wrote them on the flyleaf of his Bible.
1. Justification: a change of standing – before God.
2. Regeneration: a change of nature – from God.
3. Repentance: a change of mind – about God.
4. Conversion: a change of life – for God.
5. Adoption: a change of family – in God.
6. Sanctification: a change of service – to God.
7. Glorification: a change of place – with God (Adapted from ‘Our Daily Bread’ of June 6, 1986.)
These are what have taken place in Simon’s life – once an outcast (leper) but now a host.
b. Service of Martha
It was some days to the Passover, and a last-hour opportunity for Martha to render service in honor of Jesus. She did not know this could be her last opportunity to be at the Master’s service before His crucifixion. She made use of it.
II. Sacrifice of Mary, v. 3
“Mary therefore took a pound of very costly, genuine spikenard-ointment, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the fragrance of the ointment.” (NASV.)
a. “Mary took…”
Mary’s sacrifice involved taking of her possession.
b. “… a pound of very costly……”
What she took of her possession was costly. Like Abel in Gen. 4:4, she brought fat portions of her belongings. Little wonders Jesus took notice and had regard for her offering.
Love is costly.
Illustration (Our Daily Bread 24/4/86)
During the 17th century, Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector of England, sentenced a soldier to be shot for his crimes. The execution was to take place at the ringing of the evening curfew bell. However, the bell did not sound. The soldier’s fiancée had climbed into the belfry and clung to the great clapper of the bell to prevent it from striking.
When she was summoned by Cromwell to account for her actions, she wept as she showed him her bruised and bleeding hands. Cromwell’s heart was touched and he said, “Your lover shall live because of your sacrifice. Curfew shall not ring tonight!”
Love is costly. In fact, sacrifice is what makes it genuine.
Love is not blind, but looks
Abroad through others’ eyes,
And asks not, “Must I give?”
But “May I sacrifice?” - Anon
Application: What is the cost of your love for the Master?
c. “…a pound of very costly, genuine spikenard-ointment….”
Spikenard is a very costly ointment. However, as you can have genuine one, so likewise you can have “Aba made” type.
Aba is a town in the eastern part of Nigeria where they specialized in the production of imitation products. Hence “Aba made” means imitation or fake product.
Mary gave the genuine and pure one
d. “…anointed the feet of Jesus…..”
She (Mary) lavished and “wasted” her life’s savings – cost of her love – on Jesus’ feet.
Jesus’ feet of all places!
e. “…and wiped His feet with her hair….”
What a humility!
After giving her love and life’s savings, she gave herself.