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February 28, 2024

Mary, Judas, and Lazarus (John 12:1-11)

Passage: John 12:1-11
Service Type:

During this study from John 12:1-11, our speaker Patrick Toner illustrates for us three distinct characters - Mary, Judas, and Lazarus - each revealing a different facet of human response to Jesus. We find Jesus in Bethany, where Lazarus, whom He had raised from the dead, resides. Martha busies herself with serving, while Lazarus reclines at the table, enjoying fellowship with Jesus. Lazarus, a living testimony to Jesus' power over death. Many come to see him, not just out of curiosity but because his resurrection affirms Jesus' divinity. The chief priests, threatened by Lazarus' influence, plot to kill him as well as Jesus. Yet, despite their schemes, Lazarus remains a living testament to Jesus' miraculous works, drawing many to faith.  Patrick reminds us that we need to take time early in the morning to fellowship with Jesus ourselves and that in so doing we might find joy we would not otherwise enjoy and people we interact with might see something in us that is different, something positive that might draw others to want what we have.

Brother Patrick turns our attention to Mary within these verses where she takes a pound of very costly oil of spikenard, anoints Jesus' feet, and wipes them with her hair, filling the house with the fragrance of her devotion.  Patrick draws a parallel between Mary’s devotion to her Lord and our own devotion to our savior.  Patrick once again reminds us that taking time in the morning in devotion to Jesus and studying His word, we honor the sacrifice Jesus made in a small but meaningful way and we find it easier to worship Jesus and be thankful for His love for us.

But in verse 4, we come across the man Judas, who stands in stark contrast to Lazarus and Mary. He protests the "waste" of the expensive oil, hypocritically suggesting it could have been sold for the benefit of the poor. However, his true motives are revealed: he cared not for the poor but for his own greed. As the treasurer, he had been pilfering from the money box. Jesus rebukes Judas, defending Mary's act of love and revealing its significance - she had prepared Him for burial.

In this narrative, we see the diverse responses to Jesus. Lazarus stands as a living witness to Jesus' power, drawing others to belief through his transformed life.  Lazarus also represents that personal relationship we should all have with Jesus.  Mary exemplifies deep, sacrificial love and worship, offering her best for the Lord's sake. Judas embodies hypocrisy and greed, using religion as a cloak for his selfish desires. Each character challenges us to examine our own hearts and ask: How do we respond to Jesus? Do we offer Him our best in love and devotion like Mary, or do we hide behind religious facades like Judas? Are we living testimonies to His power and grace, drawing others to faith like Lazarus?

As we reflect on these questions, may we be inspired to follow Mary's example, offering our lives wholeheartedly to Jesus, and may we, like Lazarus, boldly testify to His life-transforming power. And may we heed Jesus' words to Judas, guarding against hypocrisy and selfish ambition, and instead, may our hearts overflow with genuine love and devotion for our Lord and Savior.

Join us at Calvary Chapel West Jacksonville, where we endeavor to learn from God's Word, guiding us to deeper intimacy with Jesus and empowering us to live lives that glorify Him.  Come, join us as we worship Jesus and grow together in faith.

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