Bethany-Response: Part 4

John 12  •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 9
Part 4
John 12
Beholding Jesus the last week before the cross, its shame and woe, thinking not of Himself, but devoting all of that solemn season to ministry to and intercession for the little band of those He called by the endearing name "His own," we join with those who loved Him to extol the matchless attraction, the record of John 12 presents.
“The house of Simon the leper" at Bethany (Matt. 26:66Now when Jesus was in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper, (Matthew 26:6)) He deigned to enter, who as "inhabiting eternity" was ever "the high and lofty One." Grace shines afresh as the Spirit of God puts on record the lowly earthly abode the Lord of glory loved. We are now to see the further condescension of the One above all others accepting the feast they made for Him (v.2). "Jesus came" in that day, and still comes at the call of those who desire His company.
If chapter 11 declares what they were to Him, chapter 12 as plainly states what He was to them; not only what the Lord has done (chap. 11), but in chap. 12, constrains loving hearts to gratify His desire for response. If in chap. 11 He wept with them, we see in chap. 12 that He rejoiced with them. Blessed Partner, in sorrow and in joy alike! Not alone "every room" that He may "abide with us," but the homage of our hearts we would render, taught by the scene of John 12 that (like Lazarus) as "new creatures in Christ Jesus," "passed from death unto life," we may enjoy what new birth introduces us to, His company; may exercise the holy privilege of "sitting at the table with Him"-communion; may emulate in worship, (Mary), pouring our hearts' unreserved store upon His Person; and like Martha, may serve where every activity derives its value from its Object, "-inasmuch as-ye have done it unto Me." Dear to our Lord that they made Him a supper." Communion and worship and service do so yet, Lazarus "at the table with Him," in resurrection life, shows what awaits believers, "ever with the Lord" in glory. Meanwhile, Lazarus witnessed the power of new life; not what he said, but was, demonstrated the work of grace that led "many," because of Lazarus, to believe on Jesus.
Mary, by lovely example, enters into His mind, anticipating the intentions of His love (His approaching death). Suited worship pours its richest treasures on the sacred head of the rejected King (Matt. 26:77There came unto him a woman having an alabaster box of very precious ointment, and poured it on his head, as he sat at meat. (Matthew 26:7)), and upon the feet (John 12:33Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odor of the ointment. (John 12:3)), that brought the Son of God as a lowly Man to Bethany's humble home. Her estimate of His Person, "three hundred pence," contrasts in bright relief with the "thirty pieces of silver" that Judas and the chief priests allotted as the price of His betrayal. Such worship as Mary's the worldly-minded still regard as "wasted;" but it was not left for Mary to vindicate her devotion-her Lord and Savior answered for her.
Every loyal heart may rest content that such worship gratifies Him, as the imperishable record of His appreciation may be gauged by this solemn fact-that we read of only one alabaster box of ointment broken for bestowal upon Him! May the Lord awaken grateful hearts to bring Him many!
Mary's worship was no sudden impulse. Of that which expressed her devotion we are told, "she hath kept this"-too costly to use it herself or bestow it on others, but not too costly for His anointing. Wicked hands would soon do Him violence; her loving hands would bring to Him her treasure store. Such is the inestimable value of the Person of Christ in her esteem! Then His esteem the record publishes. The kind of box, the weight of "precious ointment," its value and its fragrance, all receive divine mention. Her reverence for the Son of God, attested by the use of her glory (hair) to wipe His feet and the memorial of her act as far flung as the gospel, all combine to characterize worship as that which our God "is seeking." May the Holy Spirit mightily move our hearts to pour out, as Mary did, our love for Him in worship!
Contrasts serve to endear Bethany to our Lord and those who love Him:
1. A world of foes including temple worshipers;
2. A handful of friends delighting in His company at Bethany.
3. Mary gave to gratify her Savior;
4. Judas sold his Lord to acquire thirty pieces of silver.
5. Mary drew attention of all to her Lord-Judas would turn all thoughts to "the poor.”
6. “Why this waste?" is yet the universal human verdict;
7. Divinely weighed, we learn love's sacrifice is never "wasted.”
8. A chorus of accusers may still be heard below;
9. An Advocate to plead His people's cause lives on high.
(To Be Continued)