John 12:1-19

John 12:1-19 has Jesus coming back to Bethany to visit Lazarus and his two sisters.  They invited him to dinner, and Martha was busy in the kitchen serving.  “Mary came in with a jar of very expensive aromatic oils, anointed and massaged Jesus’ feet, and then wiped them with her hair”.  Can you see it coming?  Martha is working to serve dinner, and Mary is focused on serving Jesus.  Task vs person – an ongoing tension that we have to learn to overcome.  It is easy to get so absorbed in the tasks around us that we miss the opportunity to minister and serve the individual person.

And in this case, that person was the Son of God, so Mary was doing the right thing.  But her service was challenged from another angle – wasting money.  Judas Iscariot asked “Why wasn’t this oil sold and the money given to the poor”?  It’s a fair question as there were plenty of people that could have used help.  And this wasn’t some cheap oil – it was fragrant perfume that “would easily have brought three hundred silver pieces”.  Jesus knew Judas’ heart was not about the poor, but the money, as he was pilfering from it for his own benefit as treasurer of the disciples.

But Jesus makes this reply.  “Let her alone. She’s anticipating and honoring the day of my burial. You always have the poor with you. You don’t always have me”.  He was speaking of the crucifixion that was soon to come, but the principle here is that we need to sit at the feet of Jesus and learn from Him whenever we have that opportunity.  We need to focus on Him – His death, burial and resurrection.  We need to remember that it is Him that gave us the gift of grace that enables eternal life.  We need to keep our eyes on Jesus, not self, not earthly things, but Him alone!

People found out that Jesus was back in town and came to see Him, but also Lazarus who was obviously a miracle story.  So the Jewish leaders decide to expand their power retention plan and “plotted to kill Lazarus”.  Knowing and being touched by Jesus may have earthly consequences.  It certainly has heavenly consequence.  Being a Christ follower is threatening to some, and can cause people to respond negatively and strongly.  The Pharisees did as they “threw up their hands: It’s out of control. The world’s in a stampede after him”.  Are you part of the stampede?  If not, it’s time!

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