Disciples of Jesus Worship Jesus (John 12:1-11)

Disciples of Jesus Worship Jesus (John 12:1-11)

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MPS: God’s glory fills the hearts of His disciples so that they will worship Jesus.

I. Disciples of Jesus worship Jesus by celebrating Jesus. (1-2)

Six days before the Passover, Jesus therefore came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. 2 So they gave a dinner for him there. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those reclining with him at table.

The meal in question is by our best estimation the Friday night prior to the Triumphal entry. The Jewish Sabbath would begin at sundown on Friday as families gathered for a meal. This meal carried special significance as it celebrated the resurrection of Lazarus and in honor of Jesus. We glean that this meal was special because of the term “Reclining at table”, which indicates that this feast was indeed special.

It has been common for the Church since the beginning to gather around meals. They’d gather in the 1st Century for the purpose of worship. They’d worship God in prayer, song, and the teaching of His Word. This is what many call Gospel hospitality; opening up our homes in order to worship Jesus together.

It would have been easy for the disciples and the family of Lazarus to make this meal all about him. How often when we celebrate baptism, first communion, or baby dedications do we make it about the person? Yes, we should celebrate the person, but only so far as it honor our Lord. We should celebrate the work that God has done in a person. Whatever that work might be, the person has been chosen by God to display His glory through.

In God’s restorative work we are to celebrate Him and His glory. When one comes to faith, rededicates their life, receives healing; we are to celebrate God’s work. That’s the picture we see here in the dinner at Bethany. We see a people who have witnessed the mighty work of God through Jesus the Messiah and their response is to celebrate and worship.

In fact we see in the Prophet Isaiah a picture of the New Heavens and New Earth, “On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine, of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined.” (Isa. 25:6) This of course is a time in which we will all be worshipping Christ unaffected by the fallenness of this world in the great heavenly feast.

II. Disciples of Jesus make Jesus the center of their worship. (3-8)

3 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. 4 But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (he who was about to betray him), said, 5 “Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” 6 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. 7 Jesus said, “Leave her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of my burial. 8 For the poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me. 

One denarii equal a day’s wage which makes this particular ointment about a years salary for a day-laborer. This family was either incredibly wealth or the ointment was an heirloom. Either way this perfume was of great value and treasured by the family. Add to this fact that A woman with uncovered hair around non-relatives was incredibly inappropriate in 1st Century Israel and you can see a perfect picture of what Christ-centered worship looks like.

Christ-centered worship sees the willingness of disciples to abandon their greatest earthly treasures, all that they hold dear, and cling to the treasure of Christ. Worship isn’t about us it’s about Jesus. Worship isn’t about our choices it’s about our devotion. Worship isn’t about our work but the work of Christ. Worship sees us lose ourselves and gain Jesus.

Have you lost yourself to Christ? Have you brought all that you hold dear and laid it at the feet of Christ? Have you humbled yourself before the Lord and wiped His feet with the ointment of your devotion? Our worship might not make sense. It might look odd to those who have been unaffected by the work of God or who have yet to understand the purpose of worship. We see this exemplified in Judas’ reaction. God commands His people to serve and care for the poor (Deut. 15:11), however, our ministry to the poor should pale in comparison to our worship of Jesus.

If Jesus calls us to hate our own parents, to hate ourselves, to crucify our flesh, then what is He asking? He is calling us to worship Him above all things. We are to honor our parents and find our identity in Christ but this is only possible if we first minister to Jesus by worshipping Him. He is the greatest treasure in our lives. He is the recipient of our strongest affections.

We also see in the anointing a prefiguration of the soon death of Jesus. One might be anointed before their burial as we see here. Mary without knowing it is anointing her Savior. We often have no idea the outcome, results, or effects our worship of God brings. In a way it isn’t our business. The one who worships God in Spirit and Truth isn’t preoccupied with knowing the outcome. The worshipper of God is solely focused on God.

III. Disciples of Jesus point others to Jesus. (9-11)

9 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. 

If Jesus is the problem then why are the chief priests trying to kill Lazarus? The poor guy had already died. It’s because Lazarus’ resurrection didn’t point to his own glory but to Christ’s. Their qualm was with Jesus and therefore they needed to eradicate the greatest evidence so far of His divinity.

Today it is why so many devote their lives to disproving the work of God. Many will dismiss the work of God as coincidence or use science as a way to say that God doesn’t exist. It reveals that mankind’s greatest sin is His unbelief in his Creator. It’s to their own peril as we can often find the glory of God in the midst of Science. We can better understand how our Creator has created. When we take in a masterful painting or emotionally jarring song should we not sing the praises of God? Do they not point to His glory?

God revealed His glory through His raising of Lazarus. He was an art piece that revealed the divine nature of his Lord. For all who have been saved by the radical grace of God will see their lives challenged and at risk for the sake of Christ. The lives of Jesus’ disciples have always been at risk as they continue to follow Jesus. “The paradigm for disciples could not be clearer: those who would follow Jesus must be prepared to die (12:25, 27), for the world will hate them and wish to kill them (15:18; 16:2) ” (Keener)

The one who hears you hears me, and the one who rejects you rejects me, and the one who rejects me rejects him who sent me.” (Lk. 10:16) “and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.” (Mt. 10:22) You are not promised an easy life. By accepting Christ and following Him you will make enemies in this world. You will be hated because the world hates your master.

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