Faithlife
Faithlife

The Beautiful Fragrance of Death

Seeing Jesus Through the Eyes of a Friend  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Mary's Gratitude to Jesus for raising Her brother from the dead is expressed in an extravagant gift. This gift raises questions and shows the hearts of those involved in this continuing saga.

Notes & Transcripts
Introduction
Text:
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Introduction
Attention Getter: Several years ago when our kids were small and we lived in our first home over in Muskegon, as we were watch TV we noticed a slight odor, nothing to bad but noticeable. We couldn’t locate the source so we went on with our show. As the days went on, the slight odor evolved into a wretched stench! We started tearing the house apart in an attempt to locate the source. We finally had the idea to move the couch. Much to our disgust, we found a partially liquified mouse plastered into our carpet. It smelled so bad! I still want to puke just thinking about it. Blech!!
DEATH STINKS!!!
Significance: And when we think about death we can’t help but realize that death is a waste of so much....
But Jesus came to change this. Jesus came to “waste” His life so we could have true and lasting life. And because of this reality, for the believer, anything we do for Christ is not a waste, but a sweet smelling aroma of praise that pleases the heart of God!
And this leads us to the main thought from the text this morning...
Only God can take the stench of death and make is smell s
Main Idea: Giving Everything To Jesus is Never a Waste!
Don’t Waste Your Life on Yourself
Preview:
Transition into Main Point:
1. Giving Jesus All Your Stuff is Never a Waste (vs. 1-3)
John 12:1–3 ESV
1 Six days before the Passover, Jesus therefore came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. 2 So they gave a dinner for him there. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those reclining with him at table. 3 Mary therefore took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.
Yes, it is counter intuitive. In fact, from a human perspective, it just doesn’t make sense! Giving all your stuff is never a waste? Of course it is a waste because I do not have it anymore. And folks, therein lies the problem, “I” or “me”! When our focus is squarely set on self, everything done for others is a waste. And then it becomes easy to live out the worldly mantra, “He who dies with the most toys wins!” Well there is one person in our text that understood the value of giving her stuff to Jesus...
John 12:1–3 ESV
1 Six days before the Passover, Jesus therefore came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. 2 So they gave a dinner for him there. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those reclining with him at table. 3 Mary therefore took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.
Explanation –
Explanation
Getting Closer to the Crucifixion (vs. 1) -
John 12:1 ESV
Six days before the Passover, Jesus therefore came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead.
The Passover is now just six days away. This is an important feast in the life of the Jewish nation because it celebrates when God unleashed His final judgement against Egypt in order to free the children of Israel. God’s death angel would passover Egypt and any household without the blood of an innocent lamb on the doorposts, the firstborn son would die. But for those that obeyed God’s Word and spread the blood, they would be spared and death would pass them over.
It is ironic that God’s own Son, in a short time would die and His blood would be shed in order that death would pass over them that, by faith believe God.
A Celebration at Simon the Leper’s Home (vs. 2) -
The party isn’t being held in Lazarus’ home. Rather it
A Celebration at Simon the Leper’s Home (vs. 2) -
John 12:2 ESV
So they gave a dinner for him there. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those reclining with him at table.
An Extravagant Gift to the Amazing Jesus (vs. 3) - Nard - An ointment (Heb. nērd; Gk. nárdos) extracted from the Nardostachys jatamansi plant found in the Himalayas of India. The distance required to import the ointment to Palestine added to its value. The roots and stems of the plant are used to produce an aromatic oil that serves as a cosmetic, a perfume (; ), and a stimulant. This expensive ointment was often stored in alabaster boxes and opened only on special occasions, e.g., to anoint people of honor, as seen in the anointing of Jesus (; ). Nard is often referred to as “spikenard” due to the shape of the plant. In the NT the Greek adj. pistikós means “genuine” or “pure,” though often translated “spike” based upon a Sanskrit derivative.
What does this mean? - Mary was so overcome with gratefulness for what Jesus had done for her brother and for them, the only thing that could think of that would come close to to being an appropriate gift of thanks was the most expensive item she had at her disposal. Her perfumed ointment made from pure nard. And I do not believe for a minute that she looked at this as a waste. She was happy to break the seal and pour it all over her Lord. She was happy to give extravagantly to the One who had given to her more than she could have asked or thought.
and Jesus is going to a party in His honor. What are they honoring Him for? Raising Lazarus, of course! This monumental event calls for a celebration! The dead has been brought back to life!
The party isn’t being held in Lazarus’ home. Rather, according to Mark’s Gospel (14:3) the party is Simon the Leper’s home.
Mark 14:3 ESV
And while he was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he was reclining at table, a woman came with an alabaster flask of ointment of pure nard, very costly, and she broke the flask and poured it over his head.
Nard - An ointment (Heb. nērd; Gk. nárdos) extracted from the Nardostachys jatamansi plant found in the Himalayas of India. The distance required to import the ointment to Palestine added to its value. The roots and stems of the plant are used to produce an aromatic oil that serves as a cosmetic, a perfume (; ), and a stimulant. This expensive ointment was often stored in alabaster boxes and opened only on special occasions, e.g., to anoint people of honor, as seen in the anointing of Jesus (; ). Nard is often referred to as “spikenard” due to the shape of the plant. In the NT the Greek adj. pistikós means “genuine” or “pure,” though often translated “spike” based upon a Sanskrit derivative.
Mark 14:1 ESV
It was now two days before the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. And the chief priests and the scribes were seeking how to arrest him by stealth and kill him,
Mark 14:1–3 ESV
It was now two days before the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. And the chief priests and the scribes were seeking how to arrest him by stealth and kill him, for they said, “Not during the feast, lest there be an uproar from the people.” And while he was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he was reclining at table, a woman came with an alabaster flask of ointment of pure nard, very costly, and she broke the flask and poured it over his head.
Mark
Simon opened his home for the celebrations and surprisingly Jesus came and accepted their gesture of thanks. But what was most surprising is what happens next.
Simon opened his home for the celebrations, people came to celebrate what Jesus did. Surprisingly Jesus came and accepted their gesture of thanks. But what was most surprising is what happens next.
An Extravagant Gift to the Amazing Jesus (vs. 3) -
An ointment (Heb. nērd; Gk. nárdos) extracted from the Nardostachys jatamansi plant found in the Himalayas of India. The distance required to import the ointment to Palestine added to its value. The roots and stems of the plant are used to produce an aromatic oil that serves as a cosmetic, a perfume (; ), and a stimulant. This expensive ointment was often stored in alabaster boxes and opened only on special occasions, e.g., to anoint people of honor, as seen in the anointing of Jesus (; ). Nard is often referred to as “spikenard” due to the shape of the plant. In the NT the Greek adj. pistikós means “genuine” or “pure,” though often translated “spike” based upon a Sanskrit derivative.
John 12:3 ESV
Mary therefore took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.
Mark 14:3 ESV
And while he was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he was reclining at table, a woman came with an alabaster flask of ointment of pure nard, very costly, and she broke the flask and poured it over his head.
Mark
So from the perspective of both John and Mark, Mary covered Jesus’ head and feet with her application of her gift.
By the way...
Nard - An ointment (Heb. nērd; Gk. nárdos) extracted from the Nardostachys jatamansi plant found in the Himalayas of India. The distance required to import the ointment to Palestine added to its value. The roots and stems of the plant are used to produce an aromatic oil that serves as a cosmetic, a perfume (; ), and a stimulant. This expensive ointment was often stored in alabaster boxes and opened only on special occasions, e.g., to anoint people of honor, as seen in the anointing of Jesus (; ). Nard is often referred to as “spikenard” due to the shape of the plant. In the NT the Greek adj. pistikós means “genuine” or “pure,” though often translated “spike” based upon a Sanskrit derivative.
Nard - An ointment (Heb. nērd; Gk. nárdos) extracted from the Nardostachys jatamansi plant found in the Himalayas of India. The distance required to import the ointment to Palestine added to its value. The roots and stems of the plant are used to produce an aromatic oil that serves as a cosmetic, a perfume (; ), and a stimulant. This expensive ointment was often stored in alabaster boxes and opened only on special occasions, e.g., to anoint people of honor, as seen in the anointing of Jesus (; ). Nard is often referred to as “spikenard” due to the shape of the plant. In the NT the Greek adj. pistikós means “genuine” or “pure,” though often translated “spike” based upon a Sanskrit derivative.
L. Thomas III Strong, “Nard,” ed. David Noel Freedman, Allen C. Myers, and Astrid B. Beck, Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans, 2000), 948.
We are not privy to where Mary received this 12oz jar of perfume. It might have been a family treasure or a gift or just that they were a well-to-do family. But what we do know it that she was very generous in her giving to the Lord.
We are not privy to where Mary received this 12oz jar of perfume. It might have been a family treasure or a gift or just that they were a well-to-do family.
In verse 5, Judas gives us an idea of the value of her gift. He said it could have been sold for 300 denarii. A denarius was equivalent to a days wage. Do the math! We are talking about a gift that equalled nearly a years worth of wages. Wow! What a waste! Or was it?
Mary was so overcome with gratefulness for what Jesus had done for her brother and for them, the only thing that could think of that would come close to to being an appropriate gift of thanks was the most expensive item she had at her disposal. Her perfumed ointment made from pure nard. And I do not believe for a minute that she looked at this as a waste. She was happy to break the seal and pour it all over her Lord. She was happy to give extravagantly to the One who had given to her more than she could have asked or thought.
Application – Are you a Christian? How did that happen? Were you born a believer? No! You were lost and God purposed to find you! You were blind and now, because of Him, you see! You were not born a Christian, you had to be born again to become a Christian! And what made this impossible transaction a possibility? Jesus.
Yes, Jesus! Jesus is the satisfaction of God’s wrath that is set against you. Yes, God is wrathful against you! Why? Because you are sinful and you have broken His law more times than we can count. And God must punish you, eternally, because you are a law breaker. But, He doesn’t want to thrust you into an eternal Hell, so He provided a substitute for you. Some who is willing to stand in your place and take your punishment. He is willing to substitute not just anyone, but Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Jesus is willing to step into your place - in fact, he has already done this on the cross. His death on the cross is sufficient to pay off you time in Hell. God is willing to accept Jesus sacrifice on the cross instead of you paying your sin debt in Hell for all of eternity.
How do you acquire such an amazing deal? Well you can’t earn it. You couldn’t possibly do enough. You can’t buy it, you couldn’t possibly afford it! What do you need to do? Believe!
John 6:29 ESV
Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.”
You must believe that Jesus is God and that His willing sacrifice on the cross, His death, burial and resurrection are sufficient to pay your sin debt . And by faith you must repent of your sin and believe that He is your only hope for rescue.
Once this transaction has taken place, you are free from sin and guilt.
Romans 8:1–11 ESV
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.
Folks, is there any other, better act God, though Jesus could do for you? Raising Lazarus from the dead was amazing, powerful and mind-blowing!
Raising you from the spiritual dead was even better!
b. Promise to claim?
Ephesians 2:1–10 ESV
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Ephesians 2:1–2 ESV
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—
Ephesians 2:1–3 ESV
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.
c. Example to follow?
d. Command to obey?
e. Knowledge to know?
Mary’s response was to “waste” her expensive ointment on Jesus because He gave her brother life. Her devotion to Jesus cost her financially. Was it a waste? No, no, no. How can it be a waste when it is lavished on the lover of her soul?
Matt
Matthew 6:19–21 ESV
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
What’s your plan? What is your response to Jesus for giving you eternal life? Is your devotion to Christ costing you finically?
Now, we don’t like to be challenged when it comes to money. And you know I purposely do not ride this hobby horse very often. But the fact is your love, devotion and appreciation for what the Lord has done for you, if you truly believe it, will cost you financially.
Illustrations - One of my love languages is gift giving! I love to give gifts! It expresses my heart to those I love. It lets them know how much I value them.
My bank account should then reflect how much I love my Jesus.
Isaac Watts penned some convicting words in his beautiful Hymn so many years ago, “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross”
Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small:
Love so amazing, so divine
Demands my soul, my life, my all.
Your relationship with Christ will cost you financially! The question is, is it a waste?
Transition - Main Idea: Giving Everything To Jesus is Never a Waste!
Give Him all your stuff! What might be holding you back?
2. Giving Jesus All Your Desires is Never a Waste (vs.4-8)
2. Giving Jesus All Your Desires is Never a Waste (vs.4-8)
Our desires are tricky things. If we are not careful, they can lead us down a path of harm and pain. Our desires must be subservient to the truth. The old saying, “If it feels good, do it!” is terrible theology. However, allowing our desires to be molded by the will of God? Now that is never a waste! Take a look at the text with me and see if you can see the desire of Judas’ hear.
John 12:4–7 ESV
4 But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (he who was about to betray him), said, 5 “Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” 6 He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief, and having charge of the moneybag he used to help himself to what was put into it. 7 Jesus said, “Leave her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of my burial.
John 12:4–8 ESV
4 But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (he who was about to betray him), said, 5 “Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” 6 He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief, and having charge of the moneybag he used to help himself to what was put into it. 7 Jesus said, “Leave her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of my burial. 8 For the poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me.”
Explanation
The Betrayer’s Desires were Squarely Rooted in Self (vs. 4-6)
John 12:4–6 ESV
But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (he who was about to betray him), said, “Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief, and having charge of the moneybag he used to help himself to what was put into it.
What a dirtbag! Judas is throwing Mary and her extravagant gift under the bus! And he does so by sounding so sanctimonious and self-righteous. But he also shows his perspective on Jesus. He is making the poor more important than the Lord! No one, nothing is more important than Christ.
Philippians 2:9–11 ESV
Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Besides we are all poor (spiritually) and He became poor that we might be rich ()!
Judas was not concerned about the poor, he was concerned about his pocketbook!
Mary’s Desires Pointed Directly to the Gospel (7-8)
John 12:7–8 ESV
Jesus said, “Leave her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of my burial. For the poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me.”
John 12:7–8 ESV
Jesus said, “Leave her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of my burial. For the poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me.”
Apparently while she was generous with the perfume but there was some left that Jesus said she could use for His burial. Jesus scolded Judas and defended the generous actions of Mary.
Can you imagine the look on Judas’ face? And according to Mark’s version of the story, Judas wasn’t the only one thinking ill of Mary.
Mark 14:4 ESV
There were some who said to themselves indignantly, “Why was the ointment wasted like that?
The Lord’s stinging rebuke pushed Judas over the edge and he went to betray Him. When you harmonize John’s account with Mark’s, you can see the terrible choice Judas made...
Mark 14:5–10 ESV
For this ointment could have been sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor.” And they scolded her. But Jesus said, “Leave her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you want, you can do good for them. But you will not always have me. She has done what she could; she has anointed my body beforehand for burial. And truly, I say to you, wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her.” Then Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve, went to the chief priests in order to betray him to them.
The incarnate Christ would not always be with them. The poor would. And whether she knew it or not, Mary was preparing for the necessary death of Jesus. Jesus came to this earth to die so you do not have to. Oh sure, you are going die. The question is must you spiritually die for all eternity in Hell? And the answer is a resounding NO! Not if you Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ! Her expensive gift points to the even more costly gift of our salvation through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
What does this mean? - Two people with contrasting desires. One is sincere in her thanks, extravagant in her giving and has prioritized her Jesus properly. She is determined to give of herself in a meaningful, tangible way. Her desire was for her Lord.
B. What does this mean? -
The other, Judas, desires to please himself even if it means being a dishonest thief…a liar who would say whatever is necessary to fulfill the wicked desires of his heart.
1 Timothy 6:10 ESV
For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.
C. Application –
“...all the evils in the world come not because our desires for happiness are too strong, but because they are so weak that we settle for fleeting pleasures that do not satisfy our deepest souls, but in the end destroy them. The root of all evil is that we are the kind of people who settle for the love of money instead of the love of God ().” ― John Piper, Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist
Application –
Application – Desire is a good thing! It can drive us to do many great things throughout the course of our lives. Life would be terrible without desire! We would sit around like apathetic lumps of laziness without the fire of desire burning in our souls. Desire caused me to pursue Angie to be my wife. Desire pressed me to become a follower of Jesus! Desire pushed me into the ministry...
1 Timothy 3:1 NKJV
This is a faithful saying: If a man desires the position of a bishop, he desires a good work.
Desire is a wonderful emotion, but for all the good it can drive us toward, it can also lead us down a dark road...
Ephesians 4:20–22 ESV
But that is not the way you learned Christ!— assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires,
Ephesians 4:21 ESV
assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus,
Ephesians 4:21–22 ESV
assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires,
Deceitful desires are desires that long for something contrary to God. Deceitful desires promise that if you give into them, they will give you joy and happiness! They will fulfill you and make you complete. They problem is, then never deliver on their guarantee! They simply can’t! And the law of diminishing returns kicks in. In other words, the first time is the best time and all other times continue to pale in comparison.
This is why the man engaged in pornography goes back for more and more and more - The first time was tantalizing and exciting. All the gratification without the commitment. But it is a deadly trap...
This is why the woman engaged in gossip and slander continues to do so because the first time made her feel superior to others and in order to continue to fulfill that desire, she must go back and back and back...
Pick you sin. Whatever it may be, it promises to make you happy. And it does for a while but ultimately it costs you more than you could ever imagine!
Illustration
Sin will always take you farther than you wanted to go...
Sin will keep you longer than you wanted to stay...
Sin will cost you more than you intended to pay!
This is the picture of sex-trafficking and smart phones...
o Sin to avoid?
o Promise to claim?
b. Promise to claim?
c. Example to follow?
o Example to follow?
d. Command to obey?
o Command to obey?
o Knowledge to know?
e. Knowledge to know?
Two choices, two examples. Mary and Judas. Mary loved Jesus with all of her heart and it showed up in her actions. She gave to her Lord. And her gift points us to the Gospel of life.
D. What’s your plan?
Judas gave to his own deceitful desires. And those desires point us to the inevitability of death! Eternal separation from God in Hell!
E. Illustrations -
Illustrations -
Giving Him all your desires is NEVER a waste! In fact, if you do, you will never lack for anything for all eternity!!!
Transition -
Transition - Main Idea: Giving Everything To Jesus is Never a Waste!
Give Him all your stuff! What might be holding you back?
Give Him All Your Desires is Never a Waste...
3. Giving Jesus All Your Control is Never a Waste (vs.9-11)
Ladies and gentlemen, I am a recovering CONTROL FREAK! As long as everyone does what I want, I am happy and easy to get along with. Change my plans? Well, let’s just say it is not an easy thing for me. I like to be in control. However, what is the irony in this desire? Ultimate control in in the hands of God and when I fail to submit this reality, in my desire for control, I am trying to be God. And this is exactly what we see in the heart of the Pharisees. Check out verse 9...
John 12:9–11 ESV
9 When the large crowd of the Jews learned that Jesus was there, they came, not only on account of him but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. 10 So the chief priests made plans to put Lazarus to death as well, 11 because on account of him many of the Jews were going away and believing in Jesus.
Explanation
B. What does this mean? -
Jesus and Lazarus are Rock Stars (vs. 9)
John 12:9 ESV
When the large crowd of the Jews learned that Jesus was there, they came, not only on account of him but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead.
C. Application –
The news was spreading like wildfire! Jesus, who can raise the dead and the dead who is now alive, are both in the same place enjoying a dinner party. People had to see them. They wanted to see these two men with their own eyes!! And so to sought them out…And while this act made Jesus (and Lazarus) popular with the masses, it infuriated the Jewish leadership.
Another Target in Addition to Jesus (vs. 10-11)
John 12:10 ESV
So the chief priests made plans to put Lazarus to death as well,
John 12:10–11 ESV
So the chief priests made plans to put Lazarus to death as well, because on account of him many of the Jews were going away and believing in Jesus.
a. Sin to avoid?
Can you believe this? Not only did they want to kill Jesus. Remember...
Can you believe this? Not only did they want to kill Jesus. Remember...
Mark 14:1 ESV
It was now two days before the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. And the chief priests and the scribes were seeking how to arrest him by stealth and kill him,
But now they wanted to knock off Lazarus as well! The dead one raised back to life, they wanted dead again! I’m not sure what they were thinking and how they were going to pull this off and what they would say about his death, but they wanted Him DEAD! Why? The text tells us...
John 12:11 ESV
because on account of him many of the Jews were going away and believing in Jesus.
They wanted Lazarus dead because people were coming to faith because of him!
The Jewish leadership wanted control. They wanted to be in power. They wanted the pre-Jesus days, when everyone fawned and fussed over them. When they were the center of attention. They were the ones people came to for all answers pertaining to life and godliness. Jesus since, on multiple occasions, had bested their arguments for legalism and publically humiliated them. Jesus had show the people that He and His way were far superior to the way they had been promulgating (spreading) for years. He had claimed to be the long awaited Messiah and He certainly was demonstrating to be so. They, in their judicial hardening would see no other option than to reject Him. Astounding as it is from our perspective two thousand years later, but they were willing to kill Him to maintain their control of their little world.
b. Promise to claim?
Mark 3:6 ESV
The Pharisees went out and immediately held counsel with the Herodians against him, how to destroy him.
Matthew 12:14 ESV
But the Pharisees went out and conspired against him, how to destroy him.
c. Example to follow?
John 11:53 ESV
So from that day on they made plans to put him to death.
As if this were not bad enough, their evil desires for control descended even deeper when they mad the decision to off Lazarus as well. Why? It’s hard to understand their rational, but there is no question that they did not want more people to come to believe the One who raised Lazarus from the dead.
d. Command to obey?
Ladies and gentlemen, their behavior is breathtakingly arrogant. They are climbing the heights of pride by plunging into the depths of their own depravity! These are steps of desperation to cling to their naively perceived power-hold. God is in control, not them.
Application – Is there anything we can learn from this unbelievable scenario? Yes! Give your “control” over to the Lord. Ultimately it is there anyway, but until you realize it and turn it over to Him, you will be under the delusion that you are in charge. From God’s perspective, this is laughable!
e. Knowledge to know?
What is God’s ultimate goal for you? To conform you to the image of Jesus. To have His character be clearly evident in your life so that when the pressure mounts and the trials crush in, Christlikeness spill out of your cup rather than the characteristics of the flesh...
D. What’s your plan?
Galatians 5:19–24 ESV
Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
Galatians 5:19–22 ESV
Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
G
E. Illustrations -
Where are you at on the continuum? When the pressures hit, how do you respond? Your response indicates your level of spiritual maturity...
Your response indicates whether you believe you are in control or God it. If you believe you are in control you will tend to manipulate those around you to get what you want. You will use anger, tears, guilt, shame, or whatever power you have to attempt to control people and the circumstances to your advantage. You will function like your own god.
But giving up this ludicrous pursuit of control and truly trusting the One who ultimately has all control leads one to rest.
Matthew 11:28 ESV
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Matthew 11:28–29 ESV
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
A yoke was an instrument of control. The farmer would place a yoke on the neck of a beast so as to direct the animal for plowing a field or whatever the farmer willed the Ox or bull to do. The yoke was a burden, no doubt but the greater burden was on the farmer. He was directing. He was planning. He was the one in control. All the Ox would need to do if obey and trust the directives given from the farmer.
My friends, there is great rest available to you when you give up control and rest in the trustworthy wisdom of the ultimate farmer, God Himself. Don’t fight His yoke, rest in it! No matter what you are facing, no matter the trial or tribulation you are in the throes of at this very moment, it is not too much for Him to handle. He will guide you through it! It may be hard, but He knows where He is going. He knows the plowing plan! You and I just simply need to follow His commands and trust His direction.
And Christian, in this you will find rest for your weary souls!
Transition -
A. Explanation –
b. Promise to claim?
B. What does this mean? -
C. Application –
a. Sin to avoid?
c. Example to follow?
b. Promise to claim?
c. Example to follow?
d. Command to obey?
e. Knowledge to know?
d. Command to obey?
D. What’s your plan?
E. Illustrations -
Transition -
e. Knowledge to know?
5. Point 5 (vs.00)
A. Explanation –
B. What does this mean? -
What’s your plan?
C. Application –
a. Sin to avoid?
b. Promise to claim?
c. Example to follow?
d. Command to obey?
e. Knowledge to know?
Transition - Main Idea: Giving Everything To Jesus is Never a Waste!
D. What’s your plan?
Give Him all your Stuff!
E. Illustrations -
Give Him All Your Desires...
Transition -
Give Jesus All Your Control! Not only is it not a waste, it is your only way to truly rest!
Conclusion
A. Review of main points
You have been given the precious gift of life. By God’ grace you have lived 10, 20, 50 years or beyond. Each day is a day to live like Mary, Judas or the Pharisees. Judas and the Pharisee were focused on self and from their limited, finite perspective, it was the way they could keep all their stuff, fulfill their desires and maintain control. But it was all an illusion. It was all based on a lie.
Mary on the other hand, chose wisely. She gave everything she had to the Lord. She spared no expense for the One she love with her whole heart. She gave it all away and, as it turns out, that was the wisest investment of all! Mary made the good choice. What choice will you make?
“But whatever you do, find the God-centered, Christ-exalting, Bible-saturated passion of your life, and find your way to say it and live for it and die for it. And you will make a difference that lasts. You will not waste your life.” ― John Piper, Don't Waste Your Life
Response - What difference does this passage mean to me?
Response - What difference does this passage mean to me?
The title of this sermon is kind of strange. “The Beautiful Fragrance of Death” It’s an ironic title because we all know that death stinks. It has a disgusting stench that is not easily forgotten.
What difference does this passage mean to me?
But I will tell you, there is no more beautiful a smell than the fragrant death of Jesus. His death is the beautiful aroma of life. And as we waste our lives for Him, as we die to self, that my friends, is a sweet smelling savor for our beloved Savior.
Death is a waste until Jesus changed everything!
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