We find in John 12:1-8 the account of a supper prepared for Jesus. There are several interesting points in this passage of Scripture. The supper was hosted by a man who had been healed of leprosy. Even after his cleansing, however, he was still referred to as “Simon the leper.” This undoubtedly served as a reminder of his once hopeless health condition. Similarly, we refer to ourselves as “sinners saved by God’s grace.”
Next, take note of the timing—six days before Passover, and just six days from the cross. This timing speaks of an opportunity that would soon be gone forever. Although they were unaware of the timing, we are not. Spiritual opportunities are not always available, but when they are we should seize those moments to better prepare ourselves for the work of God.
Finally, let us examine the following four people in attendance. These individuals are Lazarus (raised from the dead by Jesus), Mary and Martha (sisters), and finally Judas (the betrayer). Just as Simon the leper represented hopelessness, Lazarus represents hope so far removed that it entered the realm of impossibility. Yet, with God, nothing is impossible. Martha represents practical service to the master, such as our service to God by teaching Sunday school, singing in the choir, ushering, and the like. Next is Mary. Unannounced, she stooped at the feet of Jesus and poured expensive perfume upon His feet. The emptying of the ointment caused the house to be filled with the sweet fragrance.
While not a word is spoken by Simon the leper, Lazarus, Martha, or Mary; it is Judas, the betrayer, who breaks the silence of the moment and the sweet fragrance with his odious, deceitful words. “What is the purpose of this waste?” Then, in an effort to camouflage a heart filled with thievery, he said, “Shouldn’t this have been sold and given to the poor?” The Scripture makes it plain that he didn’t really care about the poor. He disdained this lavish act of worship by Mary because he was a thief and carried the money bag. Just as Judas breaks the silence of Mary’s costly act of worship, Jesus breaks the silence of Judas’ misleading and deceiving statement about caring for the poor. Jesus gives the command, “Let her alone.” In other words, stop belittling and not valuing her sincere, costly act of worship. Mary had come six days before Jesus’ death to anoint His body for the tomb. Judas foolishly lived his life for the moment, but Mary willingly parted with very costly ointment just six days prior to his death. Some have estimated this ointment was worth a year’s wages. Oh, the love for Jesus she must have possessed!
We must remember that anything we give to Jesus from our heart is an investment that will render a return. Jesus spoke of the dividends Mary would reap from this one act of extravagant worship. The first was that wherever the gospel was preached, her act of worship would be told as a memorial to her and would encourage others to worship God with extravagance and costly sacrifices. Greedy Judas didn’t realize Jesus wasn’t staying in the grave, but would come out of the grave victorious over death and hell. It has been more than 2,000 years since Judas’ life story ends with his self-absorbed way of life ending in suicide, while Mary’s story of extravagant, costly worship is being retold around the world as her memorial. What will be said about you and I years from now? It all depends if we see through the eyes Judas or Mary.
We are just a few days away from General Ministry Conference 2017 in Knoxville, Tennessee. Let’s not look upon our gathering in terms of financial cost, but rather its lasting value. This year’s theme is “Pipeline,” with an emphasis on attracting, connecting, and equipping the church with tools needed for growing the kingdom of God. The Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy, his son in the gospel, “That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:17). This year’s GMC will prove to be just that, a time of thoroughly furnishing the Christian worker with the tools necessary for reaching the lost and keeping the redeemed. M3 day sessions will offer tools and tips that will cover everything from the church parking lot to the baptismal pool and beyond. If you haven’t made plans to attend GMC, please don’t allow this opportunity to pass you by.
Please remember I am asking for everyone to join together in a day of prayer and fasting prior to GMC on Saturday, June 17, 2017 for the direction and move of the Holy Ghost in all of our services. May the God of truth and mercy keep each of you. I hope to see you in Knoxville.