Summary: In this powerful scene in John’s gospel we each will be forced to answer the question,’what is Jesus ’really worth to me.’
"WHY THE WASTE?"
TEXT: JOHN 12:1-8
Last week as we closed out our study of the book of Judges, with a study of the life of Samson and the message was entitled, "What a Waste". Today’s sermon is entitled "WHY THE WASTE." During the month of June we will be studying the Gospel of John, and during our time together on Sunday mornings, we will be looking at what I call "Jesus Encounters," these are passages of scripture that show Jesus interacting with people, passages that show the response they had towards Jesus and effect he had on them, many times changing their lives, forever.
[READ - John 12:1-11}
Jesus was in Bethany (a small village about 2 miles east of Jerusalem) He was there with Mary, Martha, Lazarus and His disciples and according to Matthew 26 they are meeting in the home of a man named Simon the Leper (probably because the home of Lazarus, Mary and Martha was too small). And this crowd of people had gathered this night, had gathered for one reason, to have a dinner in honor of Jesus.
This was the night before Jesus’ triumphal entry, the night before Jesus would ride into Jerusalem on a donkey to the praises and shouts of the multitudes, "Hosanna (which means save us now), Hosanna! blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the King of Israel!"
The days before this dinner had been days full of turmoil, energy and excitement that was bringing the ministry of Jesus to it’s dramatic climax. Only a few days earlier Jesus had raised Lazarus from the dead, calling him forth from the tomb after 4 days. The news of this miracle spread and many people were looking to Jesus as the Messiah, as their King.
The Jewish leaders however had quit a different reaction to the miracle and the growing popularity of Jesus, we read in John 11 that they called an emergency meeting of the Sanhedrin (the Jewish ruling body) and they said, "IF WE LET HIM GO ON LIKE THIS, EVERYONE WILL BELIEVE IN HIM, AND THE ROMANS WILL COME AND TAKE AWAY BOTH OUR PLACE AND OUT NATION."
And the High Priest and his cronies decided that it was to their best interest to kill this man, Jesus, rather than let him ruin everything that they cherished and worked so hard for. And the scripture says, "SO FROM THAT TIME ON THEY (THAT IS THE JEWISH LEADERS) PLOTTED TO TAKE HIS LIFE."
After 3 years of preaching, rebuking, teaching, healing and caring -- Jesus ministry had reached the boiling point. There were people who loved Him AND WANTED TO FOLLOW HIM and there were also people who hated Him and wanted to see Him dead. And everyone regardless of which side they stood on knew that something was going to happen, they knew that something had to give, but they were not quit sure what it would be.
It was like Gary Cooper and High Noon... The clock was ticking and the time was now at hand.
But that’s tomorrow and this is tonight.
And Jesus is spending time with and having a meal with His closest and dearest friends before that final week began.
They are reclined at a table, actually 3 tables arranged like a horse shoe. Those at the table would be leaning on their right arm and eating with their left. Their feet would be pointing out away from the table.
Martha who was serving would serve from the middle area of the tables. And while they were there reclining at the table Mary the sister of Lazarus, broke open an alabaster jar (this was a jar with thick non porous sides so that the fluid that was on inside could not escape permeating the sides) It was an alabaster jar of expensive perfume. And Mary took the perfume, walked over to Jesus, she broke the jar, filling the room with the aroma. And then she anointed the feet of Jesus, drying his feet with the only towel that she had brought, her hair.
Judas who knew the price of everything but the value of nothing, seeing what Mary had done and smelling the expensive perfume said, "WHY WASN’T THIS PERFUME SOLD AND THE MONEY GIVEN TO THE POOR? IT WAS WORTH A YEARS WAGES?" And the disciples joined in agreement according to the other Gospel accounts.
Not only was it decision making time for the Jewish leaders (who were plotting to kill Jesus), the scribes,priests and Pharisees -- it was decision making time also this very night, in that very room, now filled with perfume.
The reactions and actions, taken that night as they reclines at the table will reveal just what they really thought of Jesus, and what he was really worth to them.