Last Week we were discussing Mary of Bethany
Mary had an Unwavering Focus – Godly Devotion
While Jesus was at Mary & Martha’s house - Mary was focused on one thing; sitting at Jesus’ feet listening to Him.
Martha’s serving the Lord got in the way of spending time with the Lord. She couldn’t listen to Him because she had so much to do for Him. She missed an opportunity to hear Jesus’ words.
Serving a meal for Jesus was a good thing, but listening to Him was even better.
Feeding one’s body is good, but feeding one’s soul is best.
Mary had chosen the best thing. She had chosen to focus on what mattered most.
Believers keep their focus on Jesus when we make listening to Him our priority.
In the next set of Scriptures, Mary & Martha’s Brother Lazarus has died.
Again Mary FELL at His FEET and poured her heart out to Him.
Today we pick up with: John 12:1-8
Six days before the Passover. Passover was when Jesus laid down His life for the sins of the world. This event had to have been on Jesus’ mind. He had tried to tell His followers about it, but most of them didn’t think it would happen. But two people seem to have taken him seriously. And their responses were totally different: Mary of Bethany who anointed Jesus and Judas who betrayed Him.
Let’s go over the setting. They are at a supper prepared for Jesus, again Martha is serving, Lazarus is reclining at the table and what is Mary doing?
Again she is at the feet of Jesus. But what is she doing this time?
She’s anointing Jesus. The perfume (ointment of spikenard or nard) was used to anoint special people. In Matthew’s and Mark’s gospel, it says she also anointed His head. Anointing the head was a sign of honor. Anointing the feet was a sign of devotion – remember lowly servants washed their master’s feet.
It was a pound (about 12 oz.) and it cost about a year’s salary. The aroma of the perfume in the home of Mary and Martha likely lasted several days. It was probably a strong reminder of her sacrifice for her Lord.
Mary gave extravagantly (over and beyond what is expected or required) because of her love for Jesus.
Let’s contrast the reactions of Mary and Judas.
The Bible tells us that Judas did not care for the poor to whom he was referring. He was in charge of the money box (the treasurer) and was a thief.
Judas was basically saying “What a waste?”
From the world’s perspective, acts of extravagant love for Jesus appear to be a waste today.
Going to church
Going back to church on Sunday evenings or Wednesday evenings
A Dr. giving up a lucrative practice to go to the mission field and serve
Coming in early on a Saturday night, in order to come to Sunday Schoo.
In your worship of Jesus (in your heart, with your possessions, with your time), do you relate more with Mary or Judas? Extravagant love or what a waste?
What are you willing to give up for Jesus?
Better yet, what are you unwilling to give up for Jesus?
Mary was not nearly as concerned with the approval of others as much as she was the approval of Jesus.
Whose approval do you honestly seek most of the time?
Sometimes our choices are not between good and evil; they are between good and best.
June 4, 2006 – Against the Crowd - Caleb
Focal Passages: Numbers 14:6-10, 20-24; Joshua 14:6-15
Life Question: Why should I stand against the crowd?
Biblical Truth: God blesses those who take a stand for what is right.
To every action there is an opposite and equal reaction.
What is the opposite of taking a stand for what is right?
Let’s look at some opportunities to take a stand for what is right.
- In class
- At the game
- In the cafeteria
- Sunday morning
- During a test
- Study hall
- Hanging out
- At a concert
- On a date
Is it easier to stand up for what is right when you have others on your side?
Standing for what is right can be difficult when it is against a crowd or even when it is just against one person.
The Israelites are at the edge of entering the promised land. They had sent out 12 spies to check out the land to see if they could conquer it. Joshua and Caleb were the only two who came back and believed they could. The land was good, flowing with milk and honey. A cluster of grapes were so big, they had to carry them on poles. The people were even bigger.
Caleb was so distraught at the reaction of the congregation that he tore his outer garments. He told the whole congregation that if the Lord was pleased with them, He would bring them into the land and give it to them. He also took a stand for what is right and told them not to rebel against God for He was with them.
But the congregation was ready to stone Moses.
Moses interceded on the people’s behalf.
So the Lord pardoned them but He would not let any of those who would not listen to Him enter into the promised land. Then the Lord said but my servant Caleb has a different spirit and has followed my fully (whole heartedly). He will enter the Promised Land and his descendants shall take possession of it. (And of course, we know Joshua did too, because He took over after Moses died.)
What gave Caleb confidence? (Seeing God work in the past)
It took a long time for Caleb to enter the Promised Land but he remained faithful to God by keeping focused on God’s faithfulness to him.
Remember the boldness of Caleb, a man who stood in the face of strong opposition, and pray for strength to stand when faced with the opportunity.
Caleb did not wait until he was old to serve God. He started when he was younger.
All of us are what we are because of decisions and habits that we started forming while we were younger.
What are you becoming?