< What I Learned Teaching Sunday School: Oh Come Let Us Adore Him - Mark 14:1-9

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Oh Come Let Us Adore Him - Mark 14:1-9

I was worried Pastor Kurt Gebhards would take a break from preaching on the Gospel of Mark because in Mark we are right at the Easter story and of course we are in the Christmas season now. But as he explained today "Christmas has no meaning without Easter. Jesus came to die." Here are my notes from today's sermon.
Mark 14:1-9 14 Now the Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread were only two days away, and the chief priests and the teachers of the law were scheming to arrest Jesus secretly and kill him. 2 “But not during the festival,” they said, “or the people may riot.”
3 While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head.

4 Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, “Why this waste of perfume? 5 It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages and the money given to the poor.” And they rebuked her harshly.

6 “Leave her alone,” said Jesus. “Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. 7 The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. 8 She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial. 9 Truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”

The Passover and the feast of the unleavened bread is when the Passover lamb is brought into Jerusalem. Jesus was the Passover lamb and had come to Jerusalem. We only know of three times in his three year ministry that He came to the city. The chief priests would never arrest Him in His own territory; only on their turf. He came to them.

They had a plot. But God had a plan! He planned it! Jesus told them over and over and over again, “I am going to Jerusalem to die.” God was never caught off guard. He never will be! He planned this for Himself. For God’s Glory. And for us.

Jesus liked to stay in Bethany when He came to Jerusalem. He had good friends there. Simon the Leper was no longer a leper because Jesus had cleansed him. The woman with the perfume was Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus. The Lazarus that Jesus had very recently brought back from the dead.

Perfume in those days was extremely expensive. They didn’t readily have a way to store their wealth back then so they would store it in their stuff. And perfumed oil was one way to do that. This was 12oz. of very potent and precious perfume in an elaborate alabaster vial. The oil could have been sold for a year’s wage. (Today $30,000.00 to $40,000.00) And the vial maybe another $1000.00. Mary broke the vial! She didn’t have to. She could have poured it out. But she wanted to show expressive, unlimited worship because He was worth it!

In Mark it says she poured it on His head. In the John account it says she also poured it on His feet and rubbed it in with her hair. This would have been scandalous! But she didn’t care because she had an audience of One! He wasn’t just worth a lot – He was worthy of everything!

1 Peter 2:7 Now to you who believe, this stone is precious.

Some of the people there thought it was a waste and they scolded her saying the money could have been given to the poor. They still didn’t get it. But Jesus was so patient with them when He explained she did it for His burial.

There was nothing wrong in them saying they should help the poor. But this wasn’t the priority here. There shouldn’t be a list of priorities in our lives, like: God first, family second, etc. There is only 1 priority and it’s God!

He was telling them He would only be with them for a little while more. He tells us we will only have so long to accept Him. We are only on this earth for a short time and then it will be too late.

When we do help the poor we must always share the Gospel too. We should help take care of their physical needs, but more importantly their spiritual needs. God wants His children to come home to Him above all else!

In verse six Jesus said Mary had done a good thing TO Him. Not for Him. For Him is extending a cup of water to the thirsty, or paying a tithe. To Him is fellowship with Him, worship of Him, friendship!

Why was Mary aware that He was going to die so soon and the disciples weren’t? Remember the story of Mary and Martha where Mary didn’t help Martha because she was sitting at Jesus’ feet? Mary loved listening to Jesus. She had a relationship with Him. And she worshiped Him lavishly because of it. If your worship is dim it’s because your relationship is weak.

This act was so precious to Jesus because that whole week He knew exactly what was going to take place and the disciples kept dismissing it. Brushing it aside like it wouldn’t happen. But Mary got it. She shared in His suffering. You know this week is called Passion Week because of the intense pain and suffering Jesus went through. Not only on the cross but leading up to it.

Jesus told the others that wherever the Gospel was preached in the world the story of Mary and her vial of perfume would be told. Why? Because this story illustrates the power of God to change us. Mary was changed. She didn’t need a safety net. And she didn’t hold anything back.

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