John chapter twelve in the Bible records the second major crisis in the ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ as seen by John the apostle.
There are three major crises in the ministry of Jesus Christ mentioned by John in his gospel.
The first occurred when many of Jesus' disciples would no longer walk with Him (John 6:66) even though He is the ‘Way’.
The second occured in chapter 12, where John tells us that many would not believe in Jesus (John 12:37) even though He is ‘The Truth’.
The third crisis comes in John chapter 19 when the leaders crucified Jesus even though He is ‘The Life’.
John 12:1 - Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead.
Now this village is known in this passage through Lazarus, but it was known earlier in the book of John through his two sisters, Mary and Martha.
John 11:1 - Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha.
God knows villages and cities only by His servants and His people because they are the watchmen of the land.
However, the resurrection power of Jesus Christ changed the address of Bethany – in the same way, the power of the resurrection has been changing the address of many villages and cities of families throughout the world ever since.
God knows His own!
John 12:1 - Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany.
Our Lord knew that the Jewish leaders were out to arrest Him and kill Him (John11:53, 57) but He still returned to Bethany, only two miles from the very residence of His enemies.
Even among tense and dangerous circumstances, the people in Bethany honored our Lord by preparing a feast.
The feast occurred in the house of Simon who was a leper and the two individuals who played a major role in this supper were Martha and Mary (Matthew 26:10; Mark 14:6)
If God healed Simon from leprosy and restored his life to his family and society, then no one could stop this family from honoring God.
If God raised Lazarus from the dead and restored his life to his family, then no one could stop this family from honoring the Lord Jesus.
John 12:1 - "Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. 3 Then Mary took about a pint 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."
“In order to honor Jesus, they made a supper for Him”
How can we honor our Lord for what he has done for us?
Martha wholeheartedly served and Mary genuinely worshipped at the feet of Jesus – Our life was given to serve the Lord and to worship at his feet.
Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair.
It was very expensive (three hundred pence - It was worth a year’s wages.)
Honoring the Lord is costly because God spared His only begotten Son for us.
Like David, Mary would not give to the Lord that which cost her nothing (2 Samuel 24:24)
Usually people use this perfume for the purpose of pouring on a dead body prior to burial – a very close and important person’s body before being buried.
Why did Mary not use this for Lazarus’ body?
She loved and honored Jesus more than she did her brother.
When she came to the feet of Jesus, Mary took the place of a slave. When she undid her hair – something Jewish people did not do in public – she humbled herself and laid her glory at His feet.
Even though she did everything from her sincere love and heart, people misunderstood and criticized her, but that is what usually happens when somebody gives their best to the Lord.
They said ‘it is a waste of money’ – yes it would have been if it was used for Lazarus.
But when she wiped with her hair the feet of Jesus, it came back on her.
If we honor our Lord and His ministry with our God given material things like our wealth, health, time, it will definitely come back on us or our children.
In a sense, Mary was showing her devotion to Jesus before it was too late.
She was ‘giving Him roses’ while He was yet alive, and not bringing them to a funeral!
Her act of love and worship was public, spontaneous, sacrificial, lavish, personal and unembarrassed, Jesus called it ‘a good work’ and both commended her and defended her.
Mark 14:6 - "And Jesus said, Let her alone; why trouble ye her? she hath wrought a good work on me."
Her beautiful act of worship brought a fragrance to the very house in which they were dining and the blessing of her deed has spread around the world and even today she is a blessing to the churches around the world
Her one act of devotion in the little village of Bethany still sends ’ripples of blessings’
Let us honor our Lord by serving and worshipping in any adverse situation before it becomes too late - it will come back as blessing on us and upon our generation.