LIFE OF CHRIST

 

John 12:1-8

GUESS WHO CAME TO DINNER?

LIFE OF CHRIST #45

 

Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem for the last time, and stopped first in Bethany, about six miles away, to visit his dear friends, Mary, Martha, and Lazarus.  It was here that there was a memorable dinner party where a wonderful act of devotion took place.

 

There is much to learn from the people named by name in this story. Hopefully we can glean some lessons from those involved in this dinner party.

 

THERE WAS MARTHA WHO SERVED - SHE WAS FAITHFUL – Vs. 2

 

This is the same Martha who served a dinner back in Luke 10.  It was not her home this time, but she still was involved in the making and serving of the meal. I imagine that she was in charge.

 

I said that this was the same Martha, but in a real sense it wasn’t. Luke 10:38-42

 

The Martha in Luke 10 was frustrated and overwhelmed. Obviously this Martha was not.

The Martha in Luke 10 was upset with Mary and Jesus. 

I believe this time Martha was allowing her love for Jesus to motivate her service, and may have even put her approval on the act of devotion that Mary was about to do.

 

Martha still served, but obviously Martha was serving with a different attitude.  She was serving out of love for the Lord Jesus and appreciation for what Jesus had done to resurrect her brother from the dead.

 

She evidently had taken Jesus’ words of rebuke to heart, and had learned to “sit at Jesus feet and hear His word” before she got on her feet and served her master. 

 

Martha is a great example of faithful service.  And when Martha learned that devotion came first and service second, I believe she became a very effective servant.

 

Ephesians 2:10, Romans 12:11, and Galatians 5:13 encourage us to serve.

 

We serve best when we serve out of love and devotion for the Lord Jesus.  It does not matter what others say and think. We are doing it for Him because we love Him!

 

·       THERE WAS LAZARUS, WHO SAT - HE HAD FELLOWSHIP - Vs. 2

 

Lazarus was a guest at the meal.  He was there to have fellowship with Jesus.

 

To have fellowship with Jesus is to spend time with Him.

That time is spent in worship, in His Word, and in prayer.

To have fellowship with Jesus is to abide in Him. John 15:7, Revelation 3:20

 

For Lazarus to have fellowship with Jesus he had to stop whatever else he was doing and sit in His presence. Although we can fellowship with Jesus as we do other things, the best fellowship is when we set aside everything else to spend time with the Lord Jesus.

 

·       THERE WAS MARY WHO SHARED - SHE WAS FERVENT (IN HER DEVOTION) - Vs. 3

 

Vs. 3 – Mary had a very expensive container of perfume.

It was pure nard, perhaps imported from India.

Perhaps she had been saving it for her wedding day. Perhaps she went out and bought it for this occasion.

Comparing the Gospel accounts Mary poured this perfume on Jesus’ head and feet, and probably over His whole body.

Then she did something unimaginable for the culture of that day, she unloosed her hair in public and dried Jesus’ feet.

It was an active of supreme devotion.

 

This perfume was so expensive that Judas claimed that it was worth about 300 pence or 300 days wages for a common laborer. It took a year’s salary, so to speak, to buy this perfume.

 

Mary shared the best that she had with the Lord Jesus.  She was passionate in her devotion to Him.

When we are passionate in our love for Christ nothing is too good for Him.

 

Why did Mary do what she did?

Yes, because she loved Him. But Mary was also listening and Mary understood.

 

John 12:7 - Then said Jesus, Let her alone: against the day of my burying hath she kept this.

 

Mark 14:8 - She hath done what she could: she is come aforehand to anoint my body to the burying.

 

Jesus had been telling the disciples all along that He was going to Jerusalem to be crucified, to be buried and to rise again.  The disciples were not getting it. They weren’t listening closely. But Mary was, and she understood.

 

It was customary to anoint a body for burial.  But Mary understood that a crucified body might not get the traditional treatment from loved ones. So Mary expressed her love for Jesus while she could.

 

This is a great lesson for us.

Express your love for others while you can!  Make sure others know how you feel while you have the opportunity to do so.

 

Most important of all is that you express your love for Jesus while you can!

Jesus Himself said in John 9:4 (NASB) – We must work the works of Him who sent me, as long as it is day; night is coming, when no man can work.   

 

Please note that verse 3 says …and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment.

 

Mary gave her best to Jesus and it smelled wonderful all around her.  And wherever Mary went in that house her hair, with which she dried the perfume, carried the sweet fragrance.

 

Whenever you sacrifice your best for the Lord Jesus Christ as Mary did, your life will smell good!  It will have a sweet-smelling affect on everyone around you.

 

·       THERE WAS JUDAS, WHO STOLE - HE WAS A FAKE - Vss. 4-6

 

You can count on this - when you give your best to the Lord Jesus, someone will not like it. Judas didn’t like what Mary did.

 

Vss. 4-5 – Evidently Judas started to criticize and he influenced the other disciples. Matthew 26:8-9

 

Vs. 6 – Judas sounded very pious.  But Judas was a fake, a phony!  He was the treasurer and he was a thief.  He was a hypocrite.  He didn’t care about the poor. 

 

God hates hypocrisy more than you do! Job 27:8, Romans 12:9, Romans 2:22

 

·       THERE WAS JESUS WHO SAVED - HE IS FANTASTIC! - Vss. 7-8

 

Jesus was the guest of honor at this dinner.

Jesus was also in charge at this dinner.

Jesus silenced the criticisms of Mary.

Mary understood. Mary knew that Jesus was going to die and that there would always be poor people to help.

But Mary knew that Jesus’ time was limited.

Mary knew what Jesus was about to do.

She was to be honored, not criticized.

 

Matthew 26:12-13 - For in that she hath poured this ointment on my body, she did it for my burial. [13] Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, there shall also this, that this woman hath done, be told for a memorial of her.

 

I believe Mary understood something else.

She understood that Jesus was offering a sacrificial death for the sins of the world.  She had been listening.

Mary understood that Jesus is fantastic!

 

His burial would follow His fantastic payment for our sins.

His death, His being lifted up on the cross opened the door for all to have forgiveness and eternal life.     John 3:14-15, 1 Corinthians 15:3-4

 

Today, Jesus who died for your sins will forgive you and wash away your sins if you but put your trust in Him.

 

So here we have it.  There are lessons from five people who came to dinner.  Will you apply their lessons to your life?

 

·       THERE WAS MARTHA, WHO SERVED - SHE WAS FAITHFUL – Vs. 2

·       THERE WAS LAZARUS, WHO SAT - HE HAD FELLOWSHIP - Vs. 2

·       THERE WAS MARY WHO SHARED - SHE WAS FERVENT (IN HER DEVOTION) - Vs. 3

·       THERE WAS JUDAS, WHO STOLE - HE WAS A FAKE - Vss. 4-6

·       THERE WAS JESUS WHO SAVED - HE IS FANTASTIC! - Vss. 7-8

 

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