More Love for Christ, Sermon 04/07/2019

Ps. 126:1-5 John 12:1-8

According to today’s New Testament lesson, Mary anoints Jesus’ feet with precious ointment. While Jesus was having dinner in the home of Mary, Martha and Lazarus, Mary anoints the feet of Jesus with very costly perfume and wipes his feet with her hair. Judas Iscariot protests the waste, but Jesus comes to Mary’s defense by explaining that she was preparing his body upcoming death and burial.

The gospel of John 12:1-3 says, “Six days before Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, home of Lazarus, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. Lazarus and his sisters hosted a dinner for him. Martha served and Lazarus was among those who joined him at the table. Then Mary took an extraordinary amount, almost three-quarters of a pound, of very expensive perfume made of pure nard. She anointed Jesus’ feet with it, then wiped his feet dry with her hair. The house was filled with the aroma of the perfume.”

Why did Mary anoint Jesus’ feet? One usually anoints the head. Could it be that the feet, which are usually dirty from dirt roads and often smell, needed the perfume more than any other part of the body? Perhaps Mary did not feel worthy to anoint his head. She felt at best she could touch only his feet. Mary dried Jesus’ feet with her hair. Were there no towels in the home of Mary and Martha? No doubt every home had a cloth for drying. Why then her use of her hair? A woman’s hair is her pride and joy. Consider how much money and time the average American woman spends on fixing her hair! By drying Jesus’ feet with her hair, she in all humility is expressing her love and devotion to Jesus. Not only did she give the best perfume, but SHE GAVE THE BEST OF HERSELF.

Though Jesus never married, there were women as well as men, who loved Jesus. It was more than a romantic love; it was deeper and more meaningful. Among the women who loved Jesus was Mary of Bethany. She serves as a model for us in the love we want to have for Jesus. Mary sensed Jesus’ passion was near. Her anointing Jesus’ feet with the ointment, her tears of devotion and her wiping off the perfume with her hair were all signs of her love and gratitude. She gave the best to Jesus.

In the gospel of John 12, Jesus predicted his death. He said, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will your servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honor” (Jn.12:23-26).

This is a beautiful picture of the necessary sacrifice of Jesus. Unless a grain of wheat is buried, it will not become a blade of wheat producing many more grains. Jesus died to show his power over death. His resurrection proves he has eternal life.

Dear friends! We must be so committed to living for Christ that hate our lives by comparison. This does not mean that we long to die, but that we are willing to die if doing so will glorify Christ.

Jesus knew his crucifixion lay ahead, and he dreaded it. Jesus knew he would have to take the sins of the world on himself and he knew this would separate him from his Father God. Jesus wanted to be delivered from this horrible death, but he knew that God sent him into the world to die for our sins, in our place. Jesus said no to his own desires in order to obey his Father and bring glory to God.

Although we will never have to face such a difficult situation, we are still called to obedience. Whatever the Father God asks, we should do his will and bring glory to his name.

We are to give our best to the ministry of God’s church. We are to commit our lives to being Jesus’ disciples. God is the power and we are the hands and feet and eyes and ears. We are the instruments through which God expresses and uses the power for the benefit of the world. The fulfillment of God’s plan is our reason for being. We can live outside that plan and go our own way, but that is not God’s hope for us. We are to use our lives so that God’s desire for the world becomes a reality.

Dear friends!

The cross of Christ was not an accident. It was God’s will for our salvation. We recall Jesus’ suffering when he was preparing to bear the cross. He prayed at the garden of Gethsemane, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet not what I want but what you want.” Jesus was desperate. But he accepted his suffering without complaining because it was God’s plan for humanity.

Let us love the Lord more and more!!

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