Sermon: Extravagant Worship and Infinite Value John 12:1-11

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Extravagant Worship and Infinite Value

John 12:1-11

Primary Truth Taught- Jesus is worthy of extravagant worship because of His infinite value.

Introduction

Timeline- We are at Saturday Night (Sabbath ends at 6:00pm) 9 Nisan

What is Jesus worth to you? What value do you place on the only Son of God? When Jesus declares that He in the Resurrection and the Life and we realize that He is our resurrection and our life, now what is Jesus worth?

In our text for today we see a contrast between one who places infinite value upon Jesus and another who values money more than Jesus. Mary who is sitting across from Lazarus realizes the value of Jesus. Her affection and love of Christ cannot be measured. Then, on a very sad note we see across the room another. This man is only interested in money. He’s been with Jesus almost from the beginning. This man has seen miracles and heard amazing preaching and teaching but through it all, his heart remains unchanged. His affection is not for Jesus but for the coins in the moneybag that he has been placed in charge of.

While Mary wants one more minute with Jesus, Judas wants just one more coin. This banquet reveals the hearts of two people. One cherishes her Lord over all other things and the other cherishes money above all things.
Matthew 6:24 (ESV)

24 “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.

Human Need Met

We must loose our love for money. We must kill it before it kills us. The only way we can loose our love for money and maximize our love for Christ is to see Him as infinitely valuable. Our need today that this passage meets is our need to see Christ as all valuable and money as a mockery of true value.

Matthew 16:26 (ESV)

26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?

Money is like fire, care must be taken when we handle it. We can become so blinded by it that we will chase after riches while forfeiting our souls. Money at best is only a tool but it can very quickly overtake us to our utter ruin.

Today we have before us a case study in true value. Mary who sees infinite value in her Lord and Judas who worships money. In just a few short days Mary will watch as her Lord is raised from the grave. She will see her treasure again and spend eternity with Him. In just a few short days Judas’ god will forsake him and he will commit suicide. Death will come to all who worship money. Life will come to all who worship Jesus Christ.

I want to look at another comparison and contrast, this time, between two noblemen…
You remember the account of the rich young ruler who approached Jesus asking about eternal life? He told our Lord that he had kept the commandments and wondered what, if anything, he was still lacking? Jesus told him to take all his money give it to the poor and come follow Him. The Bible tells us that this man went away sad because he was very wealthy. So, in his mind at least, he placed all his wealth on the scale and Jesus on the scale and concluded that his money had more value than Jesus so he forfeited Christ and eternal life for his current wealth. Unless something changed he died in his sin because the god he worshipped was money. If you worship money, you die.

The second nobleman had much more wealth than the first. He had access to all the wealth of Egypt. When Moses weighed the massive wealth of Egypt against Christ, his results were much different than the first. He determined that Jesus Christ was of infinite value. So, as a result, he chose to be counted among the people of God rather than stay in Egypt.

Hebrews 11:24–26 (ESV)

24 By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, 25 choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. 26 He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward.

You have the infinite value of Jesus and nothing in this world can measure up to that. However, to discern this value one must be made alive by God. Those who are dead in sin cannot see the value of Christ. They see wealth and walk away from Christ. They see Egypt and stay.

It is a most amazing thing when the value of Jesus Christ is seen and a person’s affections and commitment line up with it.[1]

In our text for today, we are going to see two more people who have been confronted with the immense value of Jesus Christ. One of them sees it and lavishes Him with devotion and love, the other is lost and sees more value in money. This account is to cause us to look inwardly to see which one represents us.

John 12:1–11 (ESV)

12 Six days before the Passover, Jesus therefore came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. So they gave a dinner for him there. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those reclining with him at table. Mary therefore took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (he who was about to betray him), said, “Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief, and having charge of the moneybag he used to help himself to what was put into it. Jesus said, “Leave her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of my burial. For the poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me.”

When the large crowd of the Jews learned that Jesus was there, they came, not only on account of him but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. 10 So the chief priests made plans to put Lazarus to death as well, 11 because on account of him many of the Jews were going away and believing in Jesus.

  1. The Lavish Banquet in Jesus’ Honor

12 Six days before the Passover, Jesus therefore came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. So they gave a dinner for him there. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those reclining with him at table.

We have entered into Jesus’ last week before His crucifixion. John tells us it was six days before the Passover. This is the third Passover since Jesus began His public ministry and it will be His last. This day, if we go by our counting of days is Thursday one week before the day of the crucifixion. We are going to see just how much material John records in his gospel for the last week of Jesus’ life on earth before the cross.

Our Lord returns to Bethany, the place where the Jews were out to capture Him. Probably after the resurrection of Lazarus Jesus had to make a fairly quick exit because of the Jews.

John 11:53 (ESV)

53 So from that day on they made plans to put him to death.

Now our Lord returns to His friends for a banquet held in His honor.

So they gave a dinner for him there.

Of course Martha was serving…bless her heart. John also reports that Lazarus was sitting with Jesus at the table. A few days earlier Lazarus was a rotting corpse but now, because of Jesus Christ, he was alive, cured, and getting ready to feast with Jesus.

This will be our story someday. After we’ve died of whatever kills us, whether sickness, old age, some accident or whatever, we too will be cured and sitting with Jesus at the great banquet feast.

I always think about that table. Harvest tables are pretty popular these days. They are one table the entire family can sit at together. Can you imagine the length of the table for the great banquet feast when King Jesus sits at the head? The table must be miles long!

Here, Lazarus and his two sisters give Jesus a lavish, spare-no-expense banquet. Jesus was of great value to them. They loved Him before but now they realized something about Jesus that they learned firsthand, Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life. When they placed their wealth in scales along side of Jesus, they quickly realized that Jesus was of infinite value. He was Lord of heaven and earth. He could raise the dead. He was their dear Friend and Savior.

  1. The Extravagant Gift for Jesus’ Burial

Mary therefore took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.

One trait Mary exhibits is that she could care less what others think of her. She’s not sure how much longer Jesus will be with them. There is so much talk of capturing Jesus and putting Him to death that she knows that His physical presence cannot last forever. She also realizes how much of a risk it is for Jesus to come back to Bethany, the place where the Jews were hot in pursuit of Jesus just days before. She doesn’t care about all that, she has Jesus with her now and she is going to show everyone that day and even us today what type of extravagant love Jesus is worthy of.

In six day her Lord will be crucified and dead. What she does is in a sense prophetic. The perfume she uses to anoint Jesus will be with them throughout the next week.

When Jesus makes His triumphal entry into Jerusalem the sweet smell of perfume with follow Him all the way into the city. As Jesus teaches in the temple the people will smell it, when our Lord is praying at the Garden of Gethsemane and sweeting drops of blood the aroma will be there, at the Last Supper, Judas’ betrayal, when He is arrested, beaten and scourged, when He stands before Herod and Pilate, as He hangs on the cross and as He dies people will smell Mary’s perfume.

Why did she anoint Jesus’ feet? It seems that what Mary was communicating with her action was that the lowest part of Jesus, His feet are worthy of deep affection. Jesus’ dirty; soiled, smelly feet are worthy of the most extravagant worship. The least of Jesus is worth the best we have. [2]

Why did she use her hair? The Bible speaks of a woman’s hair as her most sacred possession. A woman’s beauty and honor is in part at least to be found in her hair. Ladies spend a lot of time, effort and money on their hair for this reason. So Mary wasn’t just giving Jesus expensive perfume but she was taking her glory and turning her greatest possession, her hair into a rag to glorify her Lord. Mary didn’t care what others thought. Jesus was here now and that was enough for her.

How do you show Jesus extravagant worship? How are you going over and above in your affection for Jesus?

  1. A Thief’s Take on Extravagant Worship

But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (he who was about to betray him), said, “Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief, and having charge of the moneybag he used to help himself to what was put into it. Jesus said, “Leave her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of my burial. For the poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me.”

The first thing Judas points out is that the ointment is worth more than Jesus is. You see Judas also did a value assessment that day. In his calculations the ointment had a far better use than to be wasted on Jesus.

I used to feel sorry for Judas; however, the more I study about him the more I absolutely despise him and everything he did.

According to Judas the ointment was worth 300 denarii. A denarii was a days wage for the average person so 300 would be more than a year’s salary today. When you figure a person working 40 hours a week with weekends off that leaves 261 actual working days a year. The perfume would be worth 40-50,000 dollars in todays reckoning.

John writes basically a footnote here in the text when he tells us that Judas wasn’t the least bit concerned with the poor. He could care less about the poor. What he really was sad about was that the perfume wasn’t sold and the money placed in his care. He was a thief, John tells us.

Then, Jesus steps up for Mary’s defense…

Jesus said, “Leave her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of my burial.
For the poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me.”

Notice with me why Jesus tells Judas to leave Mary alone…
-Leave her alone Judas so she may keep it for the day of My burial. Judas leave her alone so that her passion and affection for Me will remain…so she may keep it for the day of My burial. Jesus realized that He could not allow anything to detract from His glory or to douse the white-hot flame of Mary’s affection for Him.

-Leave her alone Judas because the poor will always be here. Judas if you’re so concern about the poor when I’m gone you can spend your entire life caring for the poor. In other words, they will be around when Jesus is gone.

-Leave her alone Judas she is only going to have Me like this for a little while longer.[3]
Let her keep her amazement and wonder because in a few short days her heart will be broken.

Judas would leave that feast and strike a deal with the religious leaders to betray Jesus.

Matthew 26:14–16 (ESV)

14 Then one of the twelve, whose name was Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests 15 and said, “What will you give me if I deliver him over to you?” And they paid him thirty pieces of silver. 16 And from that moment he sought an opportunity to betray him.

Lets do the math…To Judas Jesus’ value was less than the perfume. He was upset that the expensive perfume was wasted on Jesus. Jesus was worth less than a years wages. Now, Judas is cutting a deal with the Jews to turn Jesus over to them for 30 pieces of silver…worth about 1,000 bucks.

Let’s hear Jesus’ words concerning Mary and this event…

Matthew 26:12–13 (ESV)

12 In pouring this ointment on my body, she has done it to prepare me for burial. 13 Truly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her.”

Application

What is the worth of Jesus?

What sort of value do you place on Him?

Is He worthy of extravagant worship or do you justify a more moderate worship?

Since He is worthy of all our affection and passionate worship how could you express this to Christ in a better way?

If anyone ever tries to get you to moderate your affections toward Christ do NOT listen to them.

If anyone ever tells you to be rich with money do not listen to them.

Judas’ god was money and within a matter of a few days he committed suicide by hanging himself. If your god is money you will die.
Mary worshipped Jesus with everything she had and in a few days she will be celebrating another resurrection. She is in heaven right now praising her Savior Jesus Christ. Judas right now is in hell because he valued money as a god and worshipped it rather than worshiping and loving Jesus Christ.

Who do you worship and trust? God or Money?

 

Declaration of Grace

In the mercy and grace of Almighty God, Jesus Christ was given to die for us, and for His sake God forgives us all our sins. To those who believe in Jesus Christ He gives the power to become the children of God and gives to them the Holy Spirit. May the Lord, who has begun this good work in us, bring it to completion in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen

 

[1] John Piper

[2] John Piper

[3] John Piper

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