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Calvary Chapel Cherry Creek (old)

The Gospel of John 12 vs 1-8

Chapter 12, Verse 1, Then, six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was who had been dead, whom He had raised from the dead.  And so strap on your seatbelts because we have covered almost three years in eleven chapters…three years of Jesus’ public ministry as well as learning of John the Baptist back in Chapter 1, and  now, the next 8 chapters will cover a period of less than a week!  And then the two final chapters of John’s Gospel will focus on His resurrection and ascension to the Father.

 

And so it is if John is taking a telescope and just like zeroing in on Jesus.  Chapters 12 through 17 are mostly red letters, the very words of our Lord recorded for us.  In fact, Chapters 15 and 17 are entirely comprised of the words of Jesus.

 

And so, we have surveyed the origin of all things…”In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God and all things were made through Him…and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, FULL of grace and truth.”

 

The origin of all things…flip over to Genesis Chapter 1.  “In the beginning GOD created the heavens and the earth.  The earth was without form and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep.  And the SPIRIT of God was hovering over the face of the waters.  Then God SAIDSee it?  In the beginning was the WORD!  And by the way, do you see the Trinity?  Father, Spirit, Son?  It’s there…

 

And so the origin of all things learned…then prophecy, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness, make straight the way of the Lord.”  Isaiah’s prophecy given about 700 years before Jesus came on the scene and here in the Gospel of John we saw that prophecy fulfilled in the ministry of John the Baptist. 

 

And so from the origin of all things, to a bit of prophecy…then calling His disciples to Himself, then miracles, then “ah-ha”…Chapter three, that meeting between Jesus and Nick…Nick…you must be born again, “most assuredly I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”  

 

Then we walked a bit with Jesus.  We went with Him from Jerusalem to Samaria and then to Cana of Galilee in Chapter 4.  Back to Jerusalem in Chapter 5, over the Sea of Galilee in Chapter 6 and then back into Judea in Chapter 7.  Up onto the Mount of Olives we went in Chapter 8, following Jesus, watching Him and listening and following Him from there again through Jerusalem. Finally, we followed Him beyond the Jordan at the end of Chapter 10 and onto a little town called Bethany in Chapter 11.  And now, we prepare to telescope in on the person and pure purpose of Jesus Christ as the Passover approaches.  So COOL!

 

WHY?  Well we learned of the origins of all things, of prophecy, of His call to His disciples…then the truth that believing is only surface level…we must be born again…then miracles, then we journeyed with Jesus…through ups and downs…a bit of an emotional and spiritual roller coaster…and now…just Him.  It’s just Jesus for the next eight chapters…and I see a pattern in that…a pattern of our own stories! 

 

Where did I come from?  Why am I here?  What’s the meaning of life?  Those are the questions of us all aren’t they?  As we seek the origins…Then we are introduced to a bit of truth, a bit of prophecy…that there was a man that once lived, a man that spoke on His own authority…then He died, then He rose from the dead and all of it (down to the very detail) was foretold…and our interest is peaked.  Could we have found truth?  What is truth?  And as we seek, the Bible says we shall find.  And so we wonder…could He be the truth?  Then He calls…and He calls to each of us so personally…so gently…in such a way as to meet us right where we are…Then He affirms in our own hearts through the gift of faith that He is the Truth!

 

Then there are miracles!  Grave clothes fall off of us…we begin to be kinder, gentler, loving in a new way…not out for our own but just filled with something so wonderful and joyful…and we walk with Him.  Relationship with our Lord takes us through ups and downs, trials…testings…and our faith grows because time and time again He proves to us that He is faithful…and then finally, our walk…our life…becomes His totally as we fall on our faces in total realization that He is the Eternal God…and heaven, our home reigns in our hearts…and our life-focus, our heart’s telescope, zero’s in on Jesus!

 

Are you there yet?   Are you as Paul once was, dead to self and alive in Christ?  If so then you are absolutely free!  Released!  You may still be dealing with self a bit though and that’s fine…Chapters 3 through 11 come before Chapter 12…it’s a process…the Bible calls it sanctification…and now you know where you’re headed…straight into the arms of Jesus!  So run!  Go forward.  One foot in front of the other some days…but keep going!  Keep calibrating your telescope as it were so that you might see Him clearly and know that He’s got this!  He’s guiding, He’s providing, He has crafted your days before you walk in them and He has done it all, all the details, all of the moments…exactly and specifically because He knows you.  He knows precisely what you need to see and to do and to feel and to go through, to be utterly and completely free.  He is such a personal God!

 

And so here were are, a week away from the Passover, and we find Jesus with His friends.  Verse 2, There they made Him a supper; and Martha servedHere she is, exercising her gift but this time, her heart is right.  No complaints, no accusations…just serving with gentleness, quietness of spirit…motivated by love…and we have a clue that she even had some help…”they made Him a supper; and Martha served”…Interesting word here in the Greek for “served”…its deakoneo…where we get our word “deacon” and it could also be translated “to do the honors.” 

 

…but Lazarus was one of those who sat at the table with Him.   How awesome of John to give us this picture.  Mary, maybe dealing with laziness and idleness…enter Jesus, she is cured as we have clue here that she is serving alongside of Martha…Martha, dealing with self righteousness and worry…enter Jesus and now her service brings honor and joy…Lazarus…dealing with a bad case of death…enter Jesus and here he is alive and well.

 

But what’s more, he is at meat, he is at dinner, he is at the Father’s table.  So cool!  Because remember he was dead but now he lives and here he sits in the company of the Savior…you see that is precisely how it is with the born-again believer.  Flip over to Ephesians chapter 2 and look we me at verses 4-6.  Mankind…dead in sin…hopeless, lost…both earthly and eternally but God’s mercy, love, grace, goodness and compassion flowed to us through the giving of His Son Jesus Christ…because the wages of sin are death as it says in Romans 6:23 but that verse goes on to say “but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

 

So here he sits, at the table with the Savior…in communion with Him…eating with Him…enjoying Him…seeing Him…and notice, he’s alive!  This must have been a joyful meal…Mary, healed; Martha, healed; Lazarus, healed…and we know from the other gospels where they are at…they are at Simon the lepers house…and so Simon, healed.  Eeeeeeerybody around Jesus, healed!

 

Verse 3, Then Mary took a pound of very costly oil of spikenard, anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair.  And the house was filled with the fragrance of oil. 

 

We actually looked at this already, this act of worship, when we discussed Mary and Martha back in the beginning of Chapter 11.  But by way of review, remember there was MUCH more to this act than simply what is stated here.  You gotta understand that culture to fully grasp the weight of what Mary has done.  Flip over to 1 Corinthians 11 and look with me at verses 13-15.

 

You see Mary was taking her honor…her glory and offering it as it were in an act of worship to Jesus.  And not only that, she anoints His feet which are the dirtiest, lowest parts of the body but in that she is making a clear statement…all that I have is lesser than the lowest part of You, Lord.  And so as she did this, the whole place filled with an aroma that quite possibly they had never smelled before except on kings and nobleman…and as that sweet smell of worship rose and as that precious act of worship was witnessed, no doubt it was infectious. 

 

However, look how that infection affects folks in different ways…Verse 4, But one of His disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, who would betray Him, said, “Why…You see he was a faker.  He misses all of this...he misses the meaning of worship…he doesn’t understand…he doesn’t get “worship”…Why was this fragrant oil not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?”

 

That’s some costly oil.  Three hundred denarii was an entire year’s salary back then.  That’s like taking a jar of oil that costs $30,000 (average income in the U.S. in 2011) and spending it all in a moment…This is a good verse to bring to someone’s attention who balks at 10%!  And so Judas, zero understanding of worship…ends up totally dishonoring the Lord as he steps forward and says quit giving to God…what about man!  Quit being heavenly minded…be earthly minded!  You see how backward he is here…how this worship has infected him yet found no abode and therefore he is angry…he has it all twisted…he is primarily preoccupied with the here-and-now, this world and in that he can’t help but resist and reject and refuse worship. 

 

I wonder if that’s you?  I wonder if you yourselves are wrapped up with this life and the cares of it to the point where you are hindered in your worship…to the point where your life isn’t about truth and eternal life but its about temporal lies and passions of this life.  Turn over to Colossians 3 with me and look at verse 1-17. 

 

All those things in verses 5, 8 and 9…fornication, passion, evil desire, covetousness, idolatry…anger, wrath, malice, filthy language, lies…if we had recorded your week…would we find those things?  If so, I bet your worship is hindered.  I bet your hunger for the word is gone…I bet you’re preoccupied with this life…man what is this life but vapor!?!?  It’s passing away, its temporal…so why are you…oh I know, you’re ensnared…you’ve been trapped…well listen, there is One who can set you free man!  Heal you bro! 

 

So look to Him!  Paul says to the church there in Colosse…set your mind on things above!  And watch the healing results…tenderness, mercifulness, humility, kindness, meekness, longsuffering, forgiveness…what is all that?  STRENGTH!  And then look man, check it…this is our earthly reward from the Father…the reward that this world CANNOT give but it promises over and over and over again…have you not learned?  Peace (v15), Love (v14), True Thankfulness (v15)…a heart song (v16)…all things that Mary exhibited as she worshipped and all things that Judas lacked as he suffered

 

And so John tells us, although he didn’t know this then, Verse 6, This he said, not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and had the money box; and he used to take what was put in it.

 

You know, Jesus once said, and you find this in Mark 4:22, that “there is nothing hidden which will not be revealed, nor has anything been kept secret but that it should come to light.”  You may come to a time in your relationship with someone where their “true colors” as it were are uncovered.  Like this situation with Judas.  Here he is, eating with Jesus and John and others…having great responsibility as the treasurer, apparently comfortable enough to speak out freely…but eventually…what does John say…he’s a thief and a liar…he doesn’t really care…he’s not sincere…

 

But what strikes me is that Jesus already knew…yet He loved him still.  He knew that Judas would betray Him with a kiss…shoot, He knew that Judas was stealing…yet He was longsuffering with Him.  How?  How could He not have just struck Judas down?  Because I submit to you, Jesus trusted in truth.  Truth?  Yes, truth!  All that is in secret, will come to light…vengeance is mine says the Lord, I will repay. 

 

And so that person that you’re suspicious of…that just rubs you the wrong way…trust in God and do as you have been commanded…love them as you love yourself.  Yes you may get hurt, yes you may get cheated…but love suffers long and is kind.  Love endures all things…love never fails…God will exact vengeance if it is necessary…He has not sent you for that.  That is why Jesus said LOVE your enemies.  Do good to those who spitefully use you…why?  Because GREAT is your reward in heaven!  And hey, take heart…they’re gonna get theirs man…Daddy is not going to let them get away with it…so instead of grinding your bitter teeth against them, pray for them!  Because the refiner’s fire is being prepared and great trials await them… 

 

Look at how Jesus handled this, Verse 7, But Jesus said, “Let her alone; she has kept this for the day of My burial.  For the poor you have with you always, but Me you do not have always.”

 

Let her alone, He said.  Psalm 7 says, “my defense is God, my shield is God…who saves the upright in heart.”  Why does the Psalmist write, “the upright in heart?”  Because if we don’t allow God the opportunity to defend, then indeed He cannot.  We step in…we defend ourselves…we plead our case…where is there room for Him?  We’ve taken care of it haven’t we? 

 

Mary could have jumped up!  “Quiet Judas!  Mind your own P’s and Q’s buster!  I do what I want!”  And she would have looked like a baby…a fool…and then if Jesus entered at that point, well then He’s just, in a way, sharing in that…but John records what she did…nothing…Jesus came to her defense!  That is His very purpose…that is His very mission…yet that is so often we disallow him in our own lives…and we miss out!  Read with me Psalm 118 verses 5 – 20…we miss out on…being valiant!  We miss the meaning of “if God is for me then who could be against me?”  We don’t know because I am for me!…I come to my defense!…and I find myself alone…weak and spotted…

 

And notice, Mary anoints Him for His death…what’s interesting is that there were many that at this time had heard what He had said yet didn’t believe.  You find the two walking the road to Emmaus in Luke 24, what did they say, “We were hoping that He was going to redeem Israel…”  You see but Mary had learned much at His feet.

 

And so Jesus says, you will always have the practical needs of this world, Judasbut Me you do not always have…and so Mary, sharing in His suffering, seizes a fleeting opportunity to worship Him lavishly.  Think about this…this is the only time ever that Mary will have this opportunity.  And maybe today you suffer…do you know that this suffering is the ONLY time in eternity that you have to honor Jesus by being faithful and worshipping Him in your present state of pain.

 

Pain ceases once we are with Him.  You and I will be made whole completely once we are with Him.  And never again will you be able to worship Him through your tears…never again will you be able to offer the pure sacrifice of praise…so…do you deem Him worthy of murderer’s cross…or of costly, very costly praise?  See your heart…and repent of your short-sidedness…and return to a heart of worship…and find yourself…valiant!

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