Turn to John's gospel. We're gonna be reading the we're in the twelfth chapter now. If you're if you're new to series. We've been going through John's gospel in the evenings.
You can find the rest of the of the sermons online. I do encourage you to to look them up. We're gonna be reading the first 11 verses of John 12, which you can find this on page 1 0 7 9. If you're using 1 of the bibles in your tables. 6 days before the passover, Jesus came to Bethany where lazarus lived whom Jesus raised from the dead.
Here, a dinner was given in Jesus' honor. Martha served while lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. Then Mary took about half a liter of pure nard, an expensive perfume She poured it on Jesus' feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But 1 of his disciples, Judasyscariot, who was later to betray him, objected Why wasn't his perfume sold and the money given to the poor?
It was worth a year's wages. He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief. As keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it. Leave her alone, Jesus replied. It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial.
You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me. Meanwhile, a large crowd of Jews found out that Jesus was there and came not only because of him, but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. So the chief priests made plans to kill lazarus as well. For an account of him, many of the Jews were going over to Jesus and believing in him. Thanks, Dean.
And good evening from me. My name is Rory. I'm 1 of the members of staff here at Cornerstone, and it it's just great to be back in this passage of John. And, hopefully, you're excited just to see this amazing picture of love. So let's pray as we begin, and then we'll get stuck in.
Father, we thank you for the book of John. We thank you for what it shows us about the lord Jesus Christ. And we pray father that now, as we consider this passage that you will help us. Will you give us ears that want to hear? Will you give us hearts that want to receive your word, we pray, that we will see just how amazing Christ is.
And we pray father that as we reflect on him, and as we look at this picture of worship, will you give us hearts that want to serve you, that want to be devoted to you, that want to worship you with all our being. And so we pray these things in Jesus' name. Oh, man. Now before any sort of big event that requires a lot of pressure, a lot of stress, whether that may be a a trial or it may be on the eve of battle, or it might be the eve of a great sporting competition. It might be the eve before your interview.
Right? And you've done all the prep the preparation. And before that, you get to that stage, Usually, what you want is not to be in an incredibly stressful situation before that. Right? It doesn't do anyone any good going into an interview with, you know, you all over the place.
You wanna be somewhere that you're comfortable You wanna be somewhere where you're surrounded with people that love you. You wanna be somewhere where you're surrounded by love. You want to be somewhere where people who are around you get you for who you are. You want to be around people who want to comfort you. Who wants to encourage you, who wants to build you up.
And I think that's the setting of this scene that we see today. You'll see with me in verse 1. It says 6 days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany where lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. So we we get this scene And we're reminded that we are back in Bethany, which is exactly what we saw in chapter 11, where Jesus raised lazarus from the dead. And the fact that it's 6 days before the Passover should really remind us that this is the final days that Jesus is going to be here alive.
He is coming to die. So he's settled in Bethany, which is about 2 miles away from Jerusalem, and he's he's going to go into Jerusalem the next day. He's about to go on his journey to his death. But it's not going to be on the terms of the chief priests and the religious establishment who are out to get him. This is going to be on his terms.
It's amazing, isn't it? If you've been with us in the book of John, you'll see that there are times when the chief priests have tried to kill Jesus, but they can't. It's not gonna be on their terms. It's gonna be on Jesus' terms. But that is an incredibly stressful situation.
You'll see later on that Jesus says, His soul is is overwhelmed with sorrow. So, what does he wanna do before he gets there? He wants to be in a place where there is comfort, where there is encouragement, where there is love. And so that's why he comes to Bethany. And as we look at this scene, I wanna ask how will we respond to Jesus tonight?
How will you respond to Jesus? And so firstly, look with me at the heart of worship. At the heart of worship. So Jesus gets to Bethany, and we pick up the story in verse 2, where it says, Here, a dinner was given in Jesus' honor. Martha served while lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him.
So here he is. He's come to Bethany, he's come to these people that loved him, and they are throwing him a celebration dinner. A dinner that celebrates and honors the Lord Jesus. You you probably are familiar with these types of dinner. In fact, my mom and dad have been married 40 years, get in there.
And so what do they do? They have a celebration meal. The thing is with my mom and dad, their celebration meal, was gonna be in Pizza Express in Liverpool, which was quickly changed to probably something not as good, sort of slightly better. When we when we wanna celebrate someone, when we wanna honor someone, maybe someone's retired from a a long stint in a job, we wanna celebrate them. We want to honor them.
And so Jesus comes to this place, and the people there want to honor them honor him. Sorry. And the family seems true to form. This is how they always act. So what does Martha do in She's serving.
She's there going, I love Jesus, and I love to serve. So I'm gonna get my hands in the kitchen, cock up a storm. Here you go, Jesus. There's Martha. That's what Martha does.
If you look in Luke chapter 10, that's what Martha does. But also you have lazarus and lazarus who's been raised from the dead is actually the 1 that that in chapter 11 verse 3, it says Jesus loves him. And you sort of feel that when you see lazarus here, don't you? Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him, he's so taken up. With this Jesus, with this 1 that has loved him, and so he loves him as well.
See, to these people, Jesus is the special 1. He's the special 1. But then the story gets even more loving, as we focus in on Mary in verse 3. Look with me at verse 3. Then Mary took about half a liter of pure naught, an expensive perfume.
She poured it on Jesus' feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the of the perfume. So here we go. We've got Martha, she's served, and we've got lazarus, he's loving. And then we come to Mary.
And as We look at Mary, she pulls out this bottle of perfume. And it is a pricey number. I was I was looking up pricey perfumes, not for Jerusalem, just because for the purpose of this. There's no way I'd be buying this 1. In harrods, you can get Sollae Lele crystal, don't know if I said that right, for 21000 pound 500 pence.
No. 500 pounds. Sorry. Yes. 21500 pounds got there in the end.
Right? This is the kind of that's the kind of money that's being spent here. This is like the best stuff. It's it's it's it's made from the roots from a root of a plant from India, so it's exotic. It's there's half a liter of the jolly stuff.
Yeah? This is not a small amount. This isn't just like, you know, 1 of those little test kits. Right? This is a big amount of perfume, and it's pure nod.
It's not got other elements mixed in. This is the real deal. This is the stuff that you want. Men, if you wanna get your wife a nice little, this is the 1 And so it's quantity, it's purity, it's origin means that this is an incredibly costly bottle perfume. Usually, what you would use this for is as a as a wedding gallery, like, this is a really important thing for me to go into my wedding with.
Or you would use it to basically put on dead bodies. And it was quite common in those days that if someone had died, you would spend a lot of money just to doubt them with all this sort of perfect douse, doesn't sound like a good word. But you douse them with this perfume. And you can see how costly it is. Can't you?
Look at verse 5, when Judith said it was worth a year's wages. Years wages, years of years of me working as a teacher. Gosh, I've I've worked and worked and worked, and now I've bought this expensive bottle, and I poured it over someone who's still alive. What? I thought it was for dead bodies.
Now, I'm gonna put it on Jesus. That's what Mary says. And so that's what she does. And so in the other gospels, it talks about how Mary breaks the jar. Of perfume on the bottle of perfume.
That's quite significant. She's not just slightly opening it, and putting a little bit on him, and then going, ah, save that for later. Someone else might want a little bit of that. Oh, I might put a bit of that on myself later. Oh, 0, that's lovely.
She breaks it open, and she uses it all on Jesus, all of it. She puts it on his feet. And in the other gospels, we see that she puts it on his head, and probably his body too. But here, we're we're focusing on her on his feet, and she puts it on his feet, and then she does the unthinkable. If you're at a dinner party, you wouldn't do what she does.
This would be seen as quite shocking. She takes the pins out of her hand. She lets her hair down. Shocket. I know.
Look at that. That's how you know we're in a Western culture here because none of you have a blinking eye. Right? That's shocking. She shouldn't do that.
That's that's something that's only reserved for her husband. But she let her hair down. Something that you shouldn't do. And with her hair, she wipes Jesus' feet. The feet that she'd want sat at listening to him intently, she now pours perfume on them and wipes it away with her hair.
And as she does that, the fragrance infuses the whole room. I don't know if you any of you are used to putting perfume on. Oda toilette, yeah, aftershave, a little bit of juke. Yeah. When you put it on it, it's sort of it it gets for.
It goes everywhere. You can smell it all over the place. Or or I you know what? Christian women love essential oils. It's 1 of my pet peeves, actually.
Now they have these things blowing around. It's just blowing this perfume there that's going around. It gives you a headache. Well, apparently it cures headaches, not for me. And it just goes it fills the room.
But that's what's going on here. She she breaks the perfume, and the the fragrance, this costly fragrance, fills the room, and it preaches that she has done this act of love. See, it's a quite a remarkable picture because this woman, Mary, is probably a woman of considerable wealth. She can afford this bottle of perfume. Yet, she gets on her knees.
She pours perfume on his feet. And she wipes it away with her hair with her hair. She's doing the job of a slave, a woman who's probably of considerable standing, Wipes his feet, a job of a slave with her hair. And so What's going on here? Well, she is so taken up with Jesus.
She wants to worship him. And so this This isn't just a whim. She's not just on spur of the moment, like, I really wanna get Jesus the present. What what can I give? Well, I could give the flowers or maybe those chocolates that someone gave me last Christmas, and I'm never gonna eat, so I thought I'd keep holding them for another present.
No. She's thought about this, She's gone, what is the most special valued thing that I have to give to Jesus? She's thoughtfully planned it. And she said, I'm gonna forsake this world. This world is is nowhere near as important as Jesus, away with this world, away with the traditions that say that I can't do this, away with the criticisms that people might have on me for pouring up my love and adoration, which do come as we see in this passage.
And she says, I am gonna give him I'm gonna give lavish extravagant worship of Jesus because he is Messiah. And as those people smell that perfume, they see, and they understand that Mary is worshiping Jesus. And why? For what reason, well, usually if you're so taken up with someone, is because pretty special. And so Mary is so taken up with Jesus, because he has loved her so much.
See, this is the 1 that has poured his love. On this family? You think this is extravagant love for Mary? Jesus's extravagant love is more. This is the 1 we saw who says he loves Lazarus.
This is the 1 who when lazarus died said, I'm gonna give your brother back to you 2 sisters. This is the 1 that would have spent time and energy and love and poured it into these 3 siblings. And so, when you consider what he has done for them, when you consider how he has loved them, then obviously, the response is the 1 that she does. Because she gets it. She understands.
She understands, wow, Jesus. You are incredible. She gets it so that she knows that he is the most important thing, the most important person in the world, and so therefore, I am just a servant who just loves to honor him. It's quite remarkable, really, isn't it? Because Jesus has his feet wiped, by Mary.
But the next chapter, Jesus has to teach his disciples that he's gonna wash their feet, and that they have to wash each other's. She gets it and and they don't seem to yet. See, is this not how we should be as Jesus as people. Should we not be extravagant in our worship? Should we not be lavish in how we honor the Lord Jesus?
Should we not be people that think thought that think Sorry, carefully plan how we should serve Jesus with the gifts we have, with the possessions that we have, with the time that we have. Is Jesus not so glorious that we should forsake all other things in this world to worship him. But that's what these are like. And it's no wonder that Jesus wants to be with them. Before his death.
That's the type of Jesus the type of church that Jesus wants to come into. A church that gets him, that understand that he's Messiah, that understand that he is the 1 who pauses love out on them. And so that's what we should wanna be like as a church. We shouldn't wanna be lukewarm. We should be happy with that.
But we should have radical extravagant worship of Jesus. It's interesting looking at Mary, and we we have passages like this in in Romans, Philippines, Romans says, therefore, I urge you brothers and sisters. In view of God's mercy, in view of God's extravagant love, in view of God's grace to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice Holy and pleasing to God. This is your, what, true and proper worship. Philippians, just go to I am am amply supply Paul, says, now that I have received from the Patroditis, the gifts you sense, They are a fragrant offering, unacceptable sacrifice pleasing to God.
They're giving. Because they understand what Jesus has given them. And so what is the response to Mary? Well, look secondly with me at greed disguised as godliness. Greed disguised as godliness.
Verse f 4 to 5 says, but 1 of his disciples, due to Saskaria, who was later to betray him objected. Why wasn't this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year's wages. He He did not say this because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief, as keeper of the money bag he used to help himself to what was put into it. See, It's interesting.
When people are faced with an expression of love that is this extravagant, it can often upset them. And so, rather than say say, like, really, you're better you're much more extravagant than me. It's more like, oh, that was wrong. Or fine. Let's find some fault with that.
That sort of extravagant love, or or there's surely a better way that that that you could do that, or that's a bit too much? Let's just calm down. Let's dissuade you're doing that. You're a little bit too you're a little bit too intense. Let's just chill out.
Right? Maybe you might have seen this if you're at work. Some people at work, they work really hard, and then other people are like, you're making me look bad here. And so Judith is saying, oh, well, there was a much better way to to use that. And so his self righteousness and his self righteous pity snuffs out genuine compassion.
But then you get a closer examination of Jud just only in verse 6. Because in verse 6, we see that he has no concern whatsoever for the poor. He doesn't care about the poor, does he? It's just like, well, I wanna I wanna find a problem with this. So I'm gonna say it could've been used for the poor.
When actually, he doesn't care about the poor whatsoever, he only cares about his own benefit, his own gain, and only he wants material benefit from this. And so you'll see that he's called a thief. The word thief actually means someone who pilfers. I love the word pilfer. He pilfers.
He steals or shoplifts. It reminds me of, you know, that classic movie, home alone. And, you know, the the the bad the bad guys in home alone are called the wet bandits. What a great name for a couple of crooks. And 1 of them is called Mave.
And Mave has some fantastic gloves that are sticky. So he puts his hand into, like, a charity bucket. And then he comes out, and it's all stuck to his hand. Fantastic invention. Not good, but it's, you know, That's what Judas is like.
Very sticky fingers. And he's in charge of the money bag that's meant to support Jesus' ministry, and there's Judith going in and just going, yeah, okay, there's a coin for the old the old poor. Who cares about them? 4 coins for me. See, Judas, despite everything that he has seen, despite everything that he's experienced.
I mean, you just look at this book, he has seen Jesus heal a blind man. He has seen Jesus heal a cripple, a pool. He has seen He's seen Jesus raise a dead man in the last chapter, but he still has no adoration. He still has no love for Jesus. All he cares about is material wealth.
That's all he's in this game for. He's not in it for Jesus, and what he has to offer in his extravagant love. Now he's in it for the money he can steal from Jesus' pot. And what a shame when people forsake Christ for material wealth. When people forsate Christ, and and when we as Christians forsate Christ, for the things of this world.
And it's no surprise what Judah ends up doing then, is it? See in verse 4, did you see how they introduce Judith. This is how they always do it in in the Gospels, it seems. But 1 of his disciples, Judith, his scarier, who was later to betray him. Every time they they talk about it, they they they're kinda like we're so shocked that this man was with us all this time, and he would go on to betray our Lord and Savior.
But that's what he does. And actually, if you read the other accounts, it's soon as this episode's over, that he goes to the chief priests, and he says, I'm willing to betray Jesus. And what is it for? 30 shackles of silver. That's what he's in it for.
He's a thief. He's all about material wealth, and he will sell out this glorious Jesus for 30 shekels of silver. Is it amazing the contrast between Mary and Judith here? Mary, takes a bottle of perfume worth a year's wages, and she pours it on Jesus. And then Judith sells out the the 1 who created the universe for 30 shekels of silver.
But how does Jesus respond to these things? Well, thirdly, Jesus honors worship. Jesus honors worship. Look with me at verse 7 to 8. Leave her alone, Jesus replied, It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial.
You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me. See, it's very different to how Judas responds to Mary, isn't it? Judas condemns her because he's self righteous. But his opinion doesn't matter. The only 1 whose opinion matters is that of Jesus.
And so he honors Mary. He validates what she's done. This is the heart of God. This is what God's like. If you look forwards, to verse 25 to 26.
It says, anyone who loves their life will lose it. While anyone who hates their life in this world, will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am my servant also will be, My father will honor the 1 who says me. He will honor the 1 who says him. And he she is honored, isn't she?
In fact, in in Mark's Gospel, it says that wherever the gospel is preached, This will be told, this story. And what are we doing now? We're fulfilling Jesus' words, hallelujah. But not only that, he doesn't just honor, but he gives and shows greater significance of what she's done. Now I don't think she's aware of the actual significance of what she's doing.
But he's saying that, actually, This is bigger than even she knows. Don't worry about the poor Jesus said, well, do worry about the poor. Sorry. You'll always have the poor to look after, and you should do that. That's what Jesus is saying in verse 8.
But you're not always gonna have me. I'm not always gonna be here in person And what Mary has done here is actually prepared my body for my burial. It's it's given me the the the the the anointment to go and to die. See, It's an amazing thing. The 1 who in chapter 11 raised lazarus from the dead, the 1 who calls himself the resurrection and the life is also the 1 who is called the lamb of God, the 1 that is gonna be slain, the 1 who is gonna be sacrificed so that what he can do what, so that he can take away the sin of the world.
See, Mary thought there was extravagant love before, look at the extravagant love that's gonna come and follow this. That the Lord Jesus will go after Mary anoints him with oil. He's the Messiah. Remember, when you anoint with oil, you anoint kings. And priests, and prophets.
And so they're the 1 who is the Messiah, the king is anointed to go, and to fulfill his earthly mission, and what is his earthly mission is to go to a cross, and to die. For us, to die on a cross for sinners, to take the punishment of God, so that we Me and you, sinners in this room may know the extravagant, lavish love of God. That's what The book of 1 John says, Isn't it see what love the father has? Whereas, he's lavished his love on us so that we may be called children of God. That is what the cross is about.
And so what my question is, how will you respond? How will you respond to the extravagant love of God? How will you respond to the Messiah the Lord Jesus Christ? And so that leads me to my fourth point. Will you believe or will you kill?
Will you believe or will you kill? Will you be a believer or will you be a killer? But with me at verse 9 to 11. Meanwhile, a large crowd of Jews found out that Jesus was there and came, not only because of him, but also to see lazarus whom he had raised from the dead. So the chief priests made plans to kill lazarus as well, for an account of him, many of the Jews were going over to Jesus and believing in him.
2 responses. See the 2 responses? The first the first response is the crowd. That hear that Jesus is there, and they flock to him. They're like, Oh, Jesus is there.
Not just Jesus, but lazarus. Do you hear about this lazarus guy? He's the guy who Who who rose from the dead? I mean, to be fair, we Hopefully, I'm I'm I'm hoping that if you heard that someone had just been risen from the dead, you would all go and see him as well. And so what is the result in verse 11?
Will they go over and they believe in him? That should be the response, shouldn't it? Here is a man, and here is another man. 1 of these men was dead. 1 of these men rose the dead man to life.
Well, this seems like a no brainer to me. No? I've got to believe in him. Get away with the old stuff. Get away with all what the chief priests want us to do.
I'm going for this 1. The 1 with the power over death. That should be the response. And if you think that was the response then, How much more should that be our response today? I mean, that was pretty cool for them to see.
But we live on this side of the cross, We live on this side of the resurrection. We live on the side where Jesus himself raises himself from the dead, so that we may know all of his blessings. The only response can be belief in him. Or it should be, but we have a second response here as well. Verse 10 to 11, we have the chief priests.
And the chief priests, as we've seen in chapter 11 in verse 53, once they've seen that Jesus raised lazarus from the dead, they've decided which just shows you the the madness of sin that they're gonna kill Jesus. And now we see not only are they wanting to kill Jesus, but they wanna kill lazarus as well. Now I don't know what you think about that, but I think That is totally ludicrous. I mean, if you were around them, sure you would say, can you hear yourself speak? Can you hear yourself?
You wanna go get the man who was raised from the dead, and you wanna put him to death again. That's sin. That is the evil of sin, that you would kill the 1 rey from dead. I think this is Augustine. I'm not sure.
You see the quote in there. On the screen. They would put lazarus to death and challenge almighty power to raise them again, as if they could contend with God. And try titles with the king of kings. Why has the keys who has the keys of death and the grave?
He? Or they? Blind malice, to suppose that Christ, who could raise 1 that had died a natural death could not raise 1 that had been slain. See, even if you try and kill him, Jesus could just raise him from the dead again, But they're so jealous. They're so proud.
They're so self centered that any threat to their rule and authority must be extinguished. It's amazing that they're refusing to believe. But Jesus actually said this was gonna happen. 1 of 1 of the things that's really struck me about this passage is that in Luke chapter 16, Jesus tells a story about a rich man and a bloke called lazarus. And at the end, of that passage.
And this is before he's raised lazarus from the dead. That's a mind blowing thing for me. But at the end, in chapter 16 and 31, he says, he says, if they do not listen to Moses and the prophets, they will not be convinced. Even if someone rises from the dead. That's sin.
A refusal to believe on the basis of the evidence that there is a man in Bethany who's been risen from the dead. That's sin. There is a refusal to believe even after Jesus rises from the dead. There's a refusal to still believe in him. And so just as Judith condemned Mary The Faracies condemned Christ, and lazarus.
And so I guess we have the 2 responses there in this passage, but the question then comes back towards, what about you? How would you respond to the to the Lord Jesus Christ? How would you respond to the extravagant love of Jesus. Will you be a believer, or will you be a killer? Will you be a betrayer?
Or you'd be someone who honors. But as we think about Christ and his extravagant love, why would you do anything else but believe in him. As you think about how he has just poured out his love upon us by going to a cross, to take our punishment. As you consider that, Shally, he's the only 1 we can go for. So will you believe Will you believe, and will you let that have such a profound effect on you that you, yourself, like Mary, will pour out your life as a daily offering, as a fragrant offering, as you have your gifts, and your time, and your energy.
How will you use that? Will you believe in him? Or will you hate? Will you reject? Will you wish Jesus' dead and out of your life?
Well, the consequences for that is so grave. Stop being proud. Stop being jealous. Stop saying, Jesus, I don't want you to have any say in my life. See how he loves and believe in him.
Do that tonight if you've never done it. And corner stone, how will we respond? How will we respond? Are you happy? Just been a Lukewarm church?
See, Jesus, When he finds out there's a lukewarm church in Leia to see her in the book of Revelation, he says you'll need a hot or cold and I'm gonna spit you out of my mouth. Do you wanna be that? He says, here I am, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person and they with me. Have you got time for Jesus?
Will you let him come in and eat with you? And if Jesus came into this church now, would he find a church that's lukewarm that you just want to spit out? Or would he find a church that loves him, and he loves to be with? And he loves to honor them because they honor him, because they praise, and they serve, and they adore him, and they give everything that they have to serving him. Don't we wanna be a church like that?
Do we wanna be Luke warm, pathetic? Tepid? Or do we want to be a church that is on fire for Jesus that is so stirred in our affections that we want to do everything in our power to live for Jesus. We want to use our time to serve Jesus. We want to use our relationships to serve Jesus.
I wanna be someone. I wanna be a church that Jesus comes in and loves to eat with. Don't you wanna be that church? Ephesians chapter 5 verse 1 to 2 says this. Follow god's example, therefore, as dearly love children, and live a life of love just as Christ's love does.
And gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrificed to God. Consider the extravagant love of the lord Jesus Christ. And as you gaze at his beauty, And as you believe in him, by the power of his holy spirit, may we have this extravagant love as well? I'll give you a couple of minutes to or a couple of moments to think through what's been said and then Dean will bring us so close.