Summary: One of the most important qualities that makes us a good friend is the ability to listen and then understand what our friends feel.
When Your Friends Don’t Get It
1. A woman goes to a bank in NYC and takes out a loan for $5,000. She leaves her Rolls Royce as collateral. They carefully park it in their garage, confused as to why a millionaire would take out a loan for only $5,000.
Two weeks later, she returns. She pays off the loan plus $15.55 interest.
The banker’s curiosity gets the best of him. He asks, “Mam, you have millions. Why would you take a loan for only $5,000?”
“Well,” she replied, “where else in NYC can you safely park a car for two weeks for only $15.55?”
2. Some people don’t get jokes — maybe even this one. Others do. There is not necessarily a moral right or wrong to this — our brains work differently.
3. Cultural ways of thinking differ. Just as we differ from one another, so ancient times differ from modern times in thought patterns and organization of material.
4. This creates a problem when we try to understand Scripture. Americans and Westerners think in a very linear fashion, everything in sequence. The ancients, on the other hand, would switch from sequence to theme to sequence to them, freely.
5. Mark is giving us a thematic rather than sequential presentation here, as he leads us into the Passion narrative. The events documenting His anointing happened a week before the Lord’s Supper, though in the same location of Bethany.
Main Idea: One of the most important qualities that makes us a good friend is the ability to listen and then understand what our friends feel.
I. Enemies: They Understood His Death Was INEVITABLE (1-2).
A. They had plotted for some time, and their patience was wearing THIN.
B. They UNDERSTOOD Jesus’ claims better than many of His disciples.
1. They understood He claimed to be the Messiah and the Son of GOD
2. They understood He claimed He would RISE AGAIN
3. They sort of understood that He had to die for the benefit of the JEWISH people (John 18:14)
John 11:49-53, “But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all. Nor do you understand that it is better for you that one man should die for the people, not that the whole nation should perish.” He did not say this of his own accord, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, and not for the nation only, but also to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad. So from that day on they made plans to put him to death.”
C. Passover was noted for RIOTS and disorder: they did not want to escalate that.
1. A few decades later, one riot was so bad that 30,000 people were trampled
2. The idea: to put Jesus to death while most were preoccupied
D. Strangely, sometimes outsiders have a better perspective than INSIDERS.
1. Who can best spot blight in our church buildings?
2. Who can best note dysfunctional people in our family?
3. Who can best spot inefficiencies at our place of employment?
4. I Timothy 3:7 says, “Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil.”
5. Outsiders are great at pointing out problems, but their proposed solutions are often off base…. E.g., your spouse is dysfunctional, divorce. Your kids are ill-behaved — beat ‘em to a pulp…bad advice!
6. Jesus is causing a ruckus… kill Him!
II. Friends: Only One Knew How to LISTEN and Understand (3-9).
A. This woman is identified as Mary, sister of Martha and Lazarus in JOHN’S Gospel
1. Lots of Marys (Miryam) and several Simons [Sh’mon] in the Bible….
2. Somewhat similar events: Jesus had been anointed once before by a repentant sinful woman in Galilee (Luke 7:36-39)
3. These were Jesus’ best friends, a spiritual family
4. Perhaps she was Miryam Bat Sh’mon? Or a neighbor/relative? Still a leper?
B. Mary LISTENED while Martha worked (Luke 10:38-42).
C. Mary knew EXACTLY what she was doing.
1. The perfume was costly — maybe equal to 30 or 40K/family wealthy?
2. Kind of like pre-paying a funeral…used some on Lazarus
3. anointing a rabbi’s hands/ feet often at a great social event…but not costly
D. The Irony: Jesus, the ANOINTED One!
• This is the day before Palm Sunday — the nation would not anoint Jesus as their King, but Mary would!
E. First stage in BURIAL
• Would not be enough time to do this on Good Friday…
F. Mary, IMMORTALIZED in history because she could listen
• She alone understood that Jesus was going to die a horrid death, as He said