Rev. Shine P. Thomas
Text: John 12:1-11
Jesus Anointed at Bethany
John12:1-11 1Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. 2Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. 3Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. 4But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, 5“Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.” 6He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it. 7“Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. “It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. 8You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.” 9Meanwhile a large crowd of Jews found out that Jesus was there and came, not only because of him but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. 10So the chief priests made plans to kill Lazarus as well, 11for on account of him many of the Jews were going over to Jesus and believing in him.
In John 11 Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. Immediately the Jewish religious leaders had set about to kill him. So Jesus had left that area and went to a little city called Ephraim. There he continued preaching, teaching and calling men to the kingdom of God.
Jesus left Bethany not because he was afraid. First of all his time had not come and secondly Jesus will not push himself on anybody. Dear friend if you do not know him as saviour today, don’t push him away, if you push him away it may to for your loss for ever.
Now it was getting close to the time of Passover and the people of Israel were gathering from around the nation to Jerusalem to the temple. This was the greatest of all of their religious days. Passover looked back to the time when they had been delivered miraculously by the Lord out of Egypt when the lambs had been slain, the blood had been placed on the doorposts and the lintels of the doors. That is the picture of the Lamb of God who would come some day and who save/rescue his people just as the Jews were rescued from Egypt.
So it was the time of the Passover and the Jews were gathering at Jerusalem. Jesus was the topic of conversation that was on nearly every tongue this year. The attention of the nation had been riveted on him for several reasons:
a. Jesus opposed the religious leaders. Jesus opposed their hypocrisy. They were taking advantage of the people for their own benefit. They were ruling the people and built a lot of traditions and were teaching those things as if they had been scripture. So Jesus had crossed those religious rulers and they were looking for him.
I think there was another reason why Jesus’ name was focused upon by most of the Israelites:
b. The rising of Lazarus from the dead. The fame of Jesus had spread abroad before that but Lazarus’s resurrection just put his name on all the tongue. Lazarus had died. Lazarus had been in the tomb 4 days and Jesus brought him back to life.
Here is this man Lazarus who had been dead. He was dead to the point where his body was decaying and Jesus called back Lazarus from the dead.
There is a Resurrection.
My friend there is a resurrection coming. Some day your body is going to be raised.
Have you given any thought to what happens after this life? What happens to me after this is all over? The Bible teaches us what will happen. The Bible tells us that it is appointed unto man once to die. We all will die one day. The Bible tells us that after we die there will be a resurrection and you will face God in the judgement.
Let me explain that. If you know Jesus Christ as your saviour, Jesus has already been judged in your place on the cross of Calvary. That judgement seat is the place where we are supposed to receive reward for our faithfulness to him now that we have believed on him.
There will be disappointment for many believers on the judgement day. So let me ask you believers: Have you been living for him or have you been living for yourself? Have you been living your minds and thoughts on the reality of eternity? What do you value much in life – Spiritual life or earthly things? There is a resurrection and judgement and reward for believers.
But there are many who are listening to me today who do not know Jesus personally. Dear friend, if you die, some day your body will be raised from the dead. There is another resurrection for nonbelievers in Jesus Christ. After the resurrection they will appear before the Great White Throne Judgement of God. The only ones who will appear there will be the unsaved, those who have not trusted in Jesus and all of the unsaved of all of the ages will be there.
When you appear before that throne God is going to look for your name in the Lamb’s book of life. Who is the lamb, Jesus the Lamb of God and in his book of life are written all the names of those who have confessed they are sinners and have asked Jesus to forgive and save them based on what Jesus did at Calvary. Dear friend, if you appear at the great White Throne Judgement your name will not be found there and you will be cast into the lake of fire, we call it hell forever and ever to be tormented forever.
Do you know Jesus as your saviour? The Bible teaches us that all have sinned and come short of the glory. No matter how much good you have done, you come short of the glory of God. The Bible teaches us that the wages of sin is death. Your payment for being a sinner is death. The Bible also declares that the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. The Bible also tells that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. All you have to do according to John 3:16 believe on him and tell him that you cannot do that and ask him to wash you clean through his sacrifice at Calvary. If you will do that God will save your right now and your sins will be forgiven.
Coming back. Jesus had been the talking point of every Jew this Passover and Jesus is at the home of Lazarus. They are having a dinner party. Mary, Martha, and Lazarus loved Jesus. They were celebrating Jesus and they were rejoicing over the fact that Lazarus had come from the grave. This is a happy time. This is a family which have been reunited. Their neighbours, friends, and their Passover relatives are rejoicing with them.
As they serve the supper Lazarus sat at the table with them. The Bible says Lazarus which had been dead. Do not miss this, Jesus is reminding us that this is a man which had been dead shortly before this. He was sick and he died but when Jesus raised Lazarus he was completely well. He was no more sickly and weakly. Lazarus was eating. Very sick people usually do not like to eat. He was a demonstration of the power of God. Jesus delivers completely. Dear friend Jesus has the ability to deliver you completely.
So here in this dinner party Martha is serving as usual and Mary drops out of sight for a moment. In v3 she comes back into view. Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard. She took this wonderful expensive ointment. It was often used in those days to anoint the bodies of their loved ones who had died before the bodies were put into the tomb. It was very expensive. This cost her lot of money. Suddenly she anointed the feet of Jesus with it.
That was startling, that was unusual. It had happened on another occasion in another location in the Bible when people were dead but this was not typical activity you would see at a dinner party. Mary took that very expensive ointment and she anointed the feet of Jesus. There she is I think kneeling at his feet, worshipping him and she took her hair and she wiped his feet with her hair, and that wonderful fragrance of that expensive ointment filled that whole house.
Judas Iscariot, one of the 12 disciples spoke up and said: “Wait a minute now.” Judas was saying, “Why are we wasting this ointment. Why did not we sell this very expensive ointment for this large sum of money and turn around and give that money to the poor?”
Put yourself here in this scene. At this moment none of the other disciples, none of the people, no one except Jesus really had the inkling that Judas was going to betray Jesus. Judas had one of the best reputations of all the disciples. Probably just by common agreement Judas had been put in charge of the money. He had been the treasurer of the group that followed Jesus. He took care of the gifs that came, he dispersed the money, the bills that came in, he took care of the finances. He was the man who had a very good reputation but the Bible says he was a thief. John 12:6 He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.
So here is a man who is talking like the most spiritual man in that house but it was false piety, a thief the Bible calls him.
So Judas raised that objection because he could not get his hands on that money for himself. He could not embezzle that from the group that was following Jesus.
Then Jesus said coming to the defence of Mary, “Let her alone.” Notice he is basically telling Judas, back off be quiet. John 12:8“It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.”
Some people think that Jesus was harsh and uncaring about the poor, such is not the case. Jesus was simply observing that you will not lack opportunity in the future to help the poor. They will always be there and you can always help them but I am not going to be in this body of flesh. So Jesus spoke up in defence of Mary and rebuked Judas and said, “Let her alone.”
Now what Mary did not know was that within the next few days Jesus was going to be arrested and crucified. Then Mary was going to wish that somehow she could have access to the body of Jesus so that she and some of the other women could anoint his body so that they could prepare it for burial. She would not be able to do so because of the Sabbath, because of the timeframe, Mary would not have that opportunity.
I think the Holy Spirit moved her heart here in her love for the Jesus to do this deed of worship and a deed which would have great meaning and Jesus himself saying that she in doing this to anoint his body against the day of his burying.
So we have this celebration time. This dinner party where some people who were very happy, saw something astounding take place in front of their very eyes and Jesus accepted it.
Why did Jesus defend Mary?
What was it that caught Jesus’ attention? What was the actual motivation for his coming to the defence of Mary and rebuking Judas?
a. Friendship with Jesus. What is friendship for Jesus, giving him room, accepting Jesus in your life. He was very close to this family. There was a warm close friendship there. Jesus is the defender of those who are close to him.
b. Generosity. Jesus is moved by a generous heart. Not in the quantity, but the value of your gift. She was generous and Jesus knew that. Jesus had even taken note of the widow who had the smallest coin, Jesus noted that. He knew what Mary had paid for her precious ointment. Jesus defends you when you are generous out of your love to him.
c. Worship. Now Mary was worshipping Jesus in this act.. She anointed his feet, wiped his feet with her hair. She was kneeling at the feet of the Lamb of God, she was worshipping him. God defends anyone who surrender and worship him in spirit and in truth.
d. Calvary. It was Calvary that made Jesus defend Mary. It was the Holy Spirit who moved Mary’s heart. Within the triune Godhead it had been determined that the Son of God would go to the cross and would shed his blood to be the lamb whose blood would pay for our sins and when Mary anointed Jesus’ feet, Jesus saw Calvary and defended Mary.
When a person comes to the foot of the cross for the forgiveness of sins heavens will open and God defends a person who is washed by the blood of Jesus. Do you want the favour of Jesus today? Do you want him to come to your aid and rescue? Do you want him to rebuke Satan on your behalf? The way to do that is by the way of Calvary.