Alêtheia Christian Fellowship ~ Palm Sunday ~ 031608
Peter, John and James had seen Jesus in His glory on the Mount of Transfiguration and had naturally wanted to stay – But we must all come down to the gutters in order to reach those still there!
1- Luke 9:51 ~ And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he steadfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem (KJV).
They reached Bethany 6 days before the Great Passover.
Of course the next day Jesus made His triumphal entry into Jerusalem and the crowds went wild with enthusiasm!
A few days later many of these same people demonstrating the fickleness of emotion cried out, “Crucify Him!”
2- John 12:1&2 ~ 1Jesus, therefore, six days before the Passover, came to Bethany where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. 2So they made Him a supper there, and Martha was serving; but Lazarus was one of those reclining at the table with Him.
We know from Matthew and Mark it was the home of Simon the Leper and we know from Luke he was a wealthy Pharisee. We assume he was married to Martha. Therefore, Lazarus and Mary are siblings-in-law of Simon.
3- John 12:3 ~ Mary then took a pound of very costly perfume of pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped His feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.
We meet Mary of Bethany in all four Gospels and in different circumstance, but in every single case she is found at the feet of Jesus, even when her brother died…
3- John 11:32 ~ Therefore, when Mary came where Jesus was, she saw Him, and fell at His feet, saying to Him, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.”
3- Mark 14:9 ~ “Truly I say to you, wherever the gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be spoken of in memory of her.”
An Oriental Alabaster vial holding a pound of pure nard was worth one year’s wages.
Slide World & Slide Western Asia
The bottle was ajla>bastron, the name of a quarry outside of Thebes in Egypt.
Pure Nard comes from a plant found on the slopes of the Himalayan Mountains 3,000 miles away.
Many different people or groups interact in this story. Let’s look at the various reactions to Mary’s act of worship.
Mary breaks the costly bottle demonstrating wholehearted commitment to the project.
She pours some on His head and the rest on His feet.
She further washes His feet with her tears and then wipes His feet with her hair.
This was a gift worthy of a King
It was used to anoint the High Priest
It was used to perfume the dead for Burial
Jesus the King and Great High Priest who was the sacrificial Lamb of God that had to die.
Did Mary actually understand what Jesus had been saying about His imminent death?
Mary’s devotion focused attention on Jesus – everyone in the house could smell the wonderful fragrance of our Lord.
Mark 14:4 ~ But some were indignantly remarking to one another, “Why has this perfume been wasted?
Notice the word, “but,” stressing the contrast of everyone else.
The generosity of others embarrasses us and we quickly save face by dismissing the act as a foolish waste.
The implication of their thinking is that Jesus the God who became flesh didn’t deserve the enormity of the gesture – why? Because it didn’t come from them!
John 12:4-6 ~ 4But Judas Iscariot, one of His disciples, who was intending to betray Him, said, 5“Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and given to poor people?” 6Now he said this, not because he was concerned about the poor, but because he was a thief, and as he had the money box, he used to pilfer what was put into it.
How typical that the dude that ends up with the money bag is a money-lover.
Judas, like all self-righteous hypocrites quickly spins the complaint to be super-spiritual.
How many poor starving kids could have been fed with this money?
The Bible confirms that he wasn’t genuinely concerned about the poor.
Judas turns the whole thing from focus on Jesus by a devoted follower to something else.
Jesus rebukes Judas and it is the final straw – the verses immediately following this story tell of him making the deal to betray Jesus.
That’s where pride will eventually lead – because Jesus will not be who we want Him to be.
Luke 7:39 ~ Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet He would know who and what sort of person this woman is who is touching Him, that she is a sinner.”
Simon is rich – he couldn’t care less about the monetary waste, but he’s in the same boat as the rest.
His dumb sister-in-law has used what may actually have been a gift to Mary from he and Martha.
His self-righteous religious piety made him look down on Mary and therefore on Jesus because He accepted her.
Luke 10:40 ~ Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.”
Martha rebuked Jesus for monopolizing Mary’s time!
Many folks misunderstand this story.
Work needs to get done – that’s not the problem. The problem was Martha’s attitude.
She wants to put on a big event so everyone will admire and respect her. She wants Jesus and the other guests to be overwhelmed with her hospitality to enhance her reputation!
She resents her sister spending time with Jesus during the meal when she should be working tirelessly to make the evening even better all so Martha’s stock will go up!
The principle person she’s trying to impress may not even have been Jesus. Some big shots from Jerusalem may have been visiting.
Jesus was a friend and that familiarity could have actually caused Martha to lose sight of Him.
John 12:9 ~ The large crowd of the Jews then learned that He was there; and they came, not for Jesus’ sake only, but that they might also see Lazarus, whom He raised from the dead.
We always have those who run from one emotional high to the next, one experience to the next, one new thing to the next.
The “What Have You Done for Me Lately,” crowd.
The vultures gather where the corpse is and Jesus knowing men did not entrust Himself to them. He knew the fickleness of men’s hearts and would not succumb to their flattery.
6- Religious Leaders:
John 12:10&11 ~ 10But the chief priests planned to put Lazarus to death also; 11because on account of him many of the Jews were going away and were believing in Jesus.
People are leaving my ministry to join in with another ministry or this ministry is not conforming to the way I want things done – I’m losing authority, power and prestige – I will therefore destroy the other person.
Matthew 26:10-13 ~ 10 But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why do you bother the woman? For she has done a good deed to Me. 11“For you always have the poor with you; but you do not always have Me. 12“For when she poured this perfume on My body, she did it to prepare Me for burial. 13“Truly I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be spoken of in memory of her.”
A selfless act of devoted love achieved an eternal monument for Mary’s discipleship.
In a fallen world we will always have problems and we should be concerned and take appropriate action, but we must primarily be concerned about the Gospel.
8- Luke 7:44-47 ~ 44Turning toward the woman, He said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has wet My feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45“You gave Me no kiss; but she, since the time I came in, has not ceased to kiss My feet. 46“You did not anoint My head with oil, but she anointed My feet with perfume. 47“For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little.”
Sad reality that so many people have no concept about the Grace they actually need!
Every single human being requires the exact same amount of Grace, i.e. the death of Jesus.
9- John 12:41&42 ~ 41But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; 42but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”
What are you doing with Christ?