Intro: I love dinner time with family; it is a special treat when I have the opportunity to serve and enjoy my loved ones around a table filled with amazing tastes and smells. We share gratitude, life-lessons, and food. These times are satisfying physically, emotionally, and spiritually. The Gospels reveal Jesus loved dinner with family and friends, as well.
Our passage today takes place just prior to Passover. Jesus is in Bethany sharing a meal with loved ones and friends. People have gathered to be with Jesus. Martha wants to serve Jesus, Lazarus wants to rest in Jesus, Judas wants to take from Jesus, and Mary just wants to worship Jesus. In glorious fashion, Jesus loves each one. Notice, Jesus does not berate Judas. However, Jesus does come to Mary’s defense.
Several days ago, we looked at the role of Caiaphas in the death of Jesus. Caiaphas had no idea what he was saying when he proclaimed it was “better for one man to die for the people than for the whole nation to be destroyed” (John 11:50). The grace of God put those words in his mouth in preparation for Christ’s crucifixion and death. Mary, in our lesson today, had no idea the spiritual depth and purpose of anointing Jesus’ feet with nard (John 12:3). Yet, the grace of God put the idea in her mind to prepared for Christ’s burial. Lastly, Judas has a greedy hand, but God knows it and uses the sin in his heart to betray Jesus in order to save the world (John 22:21-22). Judas seems to be concerned about the money; a year’s wages spent foolishly, but within days he will sell the King of kings—the Savior of the world—for thirty pieces of silver; the price of a slave (Ex 21:32). God’s purposes will always be fulfilled; may we choose to be a “righteous” part of His plan.
John 12:1-8 NLT Jesus Anointed at Bethany
12 Six days before the Passover celebration began, Jesus arrived in Bethany, the home of Lazarus—the man he had raised from the dead. 2 A dinner was prepared in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, and Lazarus was among those who ate with him. 3 Then Mary took a twelve-ounce jar of expensive perfume made from essence of nard, and she anointed Jesus’ feet with it, wiping his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance.
4 But Judas Iscariot, the disciple who would soon betray him, said, 5 “That perfume was worth a year’s wages. It should have been sold and the money given to the poor.” 6 Not that he cared for the poor—he was a thief, and since he was in charge of the disciples’ money, he often stole some for himself.
7 Jesus replied, “Leave her alone. She did this in preparation for my burial. 8 You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.”
Prayer: Lord, summons your people into a posture of genuine worship and oneness. Call us by name and help us be a part of accomplishing your purpose for the Kingdom. In Jesus’ name. Amen.