Wednesday, October 26, 2005

A Dinner for Jesus

A Dinner for Jesus
Matthew 26.6 – 16; Mark 14.1 – 11 and John 12.1 – 11

In the town of Bethany lived some people Jesus loved deeply. I would venture to say that these 3 siblings were Jesus’ best friends. You will remember the sisters from an earlier meal but the brother has a fame all his own. Martha invited Jesus to her house for a meal earlier and her sister Mary was there too (Luke 10.38 – 42). Martha busied herself with the meal, while Mary just sat and listened to Jesus. You know the rest of the story but Lazarus has an even more amazing story. He was dead for at least 4 days when Jesus arrived and raised Lazarus from his sleep (John 11.1 – 44).

Now sometime later a dinner is being held in honor of Jesus at Simon the Leper’s house. If you read the accounts in Matthew and Mark you do not learn the name of the women who anoints Jesus but John gives us her name. She is Mary! This is the very same Mary who sat at the Masters feet to learn and whose brother was raised from the grave. We again find Martha serving but this time she does not complain, while Mary worships Jesus. Lazarus and the rest of the guest enjoy the meal.

When Mary pours half a liter of expensive perfume on Jesus feet the entire house if filled with the fragrance (John 12.3). I feel that she does this in appreciation for Jesus raising her brother from the dead and because she like her sister believes that he is the Christ, the Son of God. This is an act of worship on her behalf. She had been saving it for his funeral but feels compelled to anoint him with it now.

One of the disciples, Judas Iscariot, watches this and comments, “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.” (John 12.5) John tells is that Judas’ motivations were not pure because he kept the moneybag and would help himself to its contents (John 12.6). Jesus not only defends Mary but also rebukes Judas. “Leave her alone! She was saving this for my burial. You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.” Essentially he is saying, she is giving me a wonderful gift and I will not let you diminish it! He is also telling Judas that he is a hypocrite. There are poor all around you should be helping instead of complaining about what Mary is doing.

Matthew and Mark tell us that following this rebuke Judas goes to the chief priest (Matthew 26.14 – 16 & Mark 14.10 &11). He agrees to betray Jesus. The chief priests are delighted to hear this.

You and I need to fill our houses with the fragrance of our worship. People in our lives need to smell worship when we are near by. They can smell it thru our actions, thru our words and thru our attitudes. Our lives will not be perfect of easy but like many of the Psalmists we can worship the LORD in the midst of our pain.

Judas is rebuked by Jesus and instead of deciding that Jesus is right and he needs to make some changes in his life. He decides to turn his back on the LORD. When we read the Bible or another believer challenges us we need to listen to what we read and what they are saying. Instead of shutting Jesus out of our lives like Judas, we need to open ourselves up to be changed into something better than we are. It won’t be easy but it will save us!
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