My discipleship in Christ must be greater than my discipleship in the world. What we are doing in our spiritual lives, what we are doing in this church must be greater than what the enemy is doing.
The story we are going to look at in John chapter 12 highlights that our passion must be greater than apathy. Our thankfulness for Jesus and the good news must be greater than our entitlement.
John chapter 1 through 11 covers 3 and a half years of public ministry, then chapters 12 through 20 focus on the holy week and the crucifixion of Jesus. In a week from chapter 12 Jesus will be dead.
Last week, Lazarus was raised from the dead, and many believed. However, not everyone that witnessed Lazarus live again believed. Some people went off and told the religious leaders. The religious elite were waiting for the crowds to die down, so they could apprehend Jesus.
John 12:1-2 says, “Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany where Lazarus was, the one Jesus had raised from the dead. So, they gave a dinner for him there; Martha was serving them, and Lazarus was one of those reclining at the table with him.”
There is a dinner party going on. John does not tell us who it is. However, other gospels do, it is Simon the leper. In those days, you could not host a party if you were a leper. Lepers were not allowed to be around people, it is very likely that Simon was a former leper.
He has received healing and now he wants to do something especial for Jesus. He invited Lazarus, Mary, Martha and other people, it was a thanksgiving event. It was a gathering of people who were thankful!
As human beings, we live on an entitled/thankful continuum, one end of the continuum is “I deserve this stuff”, the other end is “look at what God has done.” In which end of the continuum are you today?
Three Components of Creating a Thankful Event
- Serving is the missing link of my joy
Martha is serving, she is ready to do what is needed. The concept of “helper’s high” arose in the 1980s and has been confirmed in various studies since then. It consists of positive emotions following selfless service to others.
As Christians we live to bless because we have been blessed in Christ and we get blessed.
When we do something with no expectation for a return, dopamine kicks in and we get the helpers high. The reason why so many Christians are unhappy is because they never serve. It is important to understand that we have been blessed to be a blessing.
- Spending time with Jesus
Lazarus was reclining with Jesus at the table. He is hanging out with Jesus, talking, listening. This is a great way to say thanks.
Spending time with Jesus is not a matter of busyness, it is a matter of priority.
Lazarus remains in his place, reclining at the table, no rush, no hurry. This is the secret! So many issues would dissolve if you would spend time in this book, learning and loving Jesus.
- Devoting time to genuine, heartfelt worship of the Lord
John 12:3 says, “Then Mary took a pound of perfume, pure and expensive nard, anointed Jesus’s feet, and wiped his feet with her hair. So, the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.”
Nard was a plant that produced this sweet woody smell. This perfume would cost a year’s salary. Mary touches Jesus’ feet, this was something that a person would not do unless they were the lowest of the low. She is also washing and drying his feet with her hair.
In the first century, women did not touch a man that was not their husband, and they would have to cover their hair in public. She is giving it all to Jesus.
When you see how Mary responds to Jesus in an act of worship, is that how you worship? Do you sing with that kind of passion?
John 12:4-6 says, “Then one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot (who was about to betray him), said, “Why wasn’t this perfume sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” He didn’t say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief. He was in charge of the moneybag and would steal part of what was put in it.”
Judas was the treasurer; a treasurer was someone respected and trusted by everyone. He was making fun of Mary. The disciples were making fun of her too. In some ways, they were right, Jesus did not need the anointing. The smell would be gone in a few hours.
This worshipful act served one purpose and it was a declaration, “Jesus you are worthy, so much more worthy than what I have been putting my hope in.”
Judas is the picture of a consumer; Mary was a worshipper.
Distinctions between a worshipper and a consumer
- A consumer says Jesus is useful, a worshipper says Jesus is magnificent.
- A consumer will sell out, a worshipper is sold out.
- A consumer is critical of others worship, a worshipper is a contributor.
- A consumer is all about self, a worshipper is all about others.
The reason we can worship is because of what Jesus did on the cross. We worship because Jesus gave us a new name, a new purpose, He took away our shame and sin and gave us life.
Surrender is the heart of worship. Worship is the priority that leads to living to bless.
Pastor Chris Williams To learn more about Pastor Chris and his teaching, visit us on the web at fcfamily.org and make sure you subscribe to receive these weekly encouragements in your inbox.