For a betrayer like Judas Iscariot, the exorbitant sacrifice of Mary and her desire to anoint Jesus’ feet with perfume made no sense. How could she be so foolish? Why would she be so selfish? As the betrayer himself said, “Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor (Jn. 12:5, ESV)?” And Jesus quickly sets him straight. Jesus makes it clear what is really going on here and shows us plainly why what Mary does captures everything about Him we have learned in the Gospel of John thus far.
Leave her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of my burial. For the poor you always have with you, but you do not always have Me (Jn. 12:7-8, ESV).
Or, as Jesus makes even clearer in Matthew 26:10, 13 (ESV):
Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a beautiful thing to Me. … Truly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her.
The glory we witness being heaped on Jesus in the waning moments of His earthly ministry is the culmination of everything that came before it, particularly in the Old Testament. This was the moment of Jesus’ triumphal entry, and His journey to the Cross at this point would quickly come to a victorious halt. His crucifixion would occur just one week removed from this remarkable moment. Jesus knew where He was headed, and He welcomed the fate that awaited Him.
The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. … Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour. (Jn. 12:23-24, 27, ESV)
Jesus’ mission was about to be complete, and His glory would soon shine brighter than ever. For the ultimate sacrifice He would soon undertake—this “grain of wheat” that He provides—though it may die … for a time … would eventually sprout again and produce a hundredfold the harvest we continue to reap today. Multitudes would be redeemed, and their eternity set.
Jesus was one step closer to saving the world, and soon everyone would find out that Gospel was already upon us.
Here are some other takeaways from Pastor Mike’s sermon on John 12:
- Burial is a big deal, and we should honor those who have passed before us by giving it the respect and care it deserves.
- Mary’s perfume would have cost about a year’s wages, and yet she anointed Jesus’ feet with it regardless. (Jn. 12:3-6)
- Judas Iscariot did not see why Jesus should have been anointed with Mary’s perfume at all. He did not deem Jesus worthy of her great sacrifice. (Jn. 12:3-8)
- We have the capability to give beyond what makes sense if we are willing. God does not let our sacrifice go to waste or fail to acknowledge our generosity.
- The Pharisees were so obsessed with eliminating Jesus, and anything He did, they wanted to kill Lazarus too “because on account of him many of the Jews were going away and believing in Jesus (Jn. 12:11).” He was a walking testimony to Jesus’ power and claim to be God. (Jn. 12:9-11)
- If you sow sparingly, you reap sparingly, and vice versa.
- Satan has already been categorically defeated, and Jesus continues to draw people to himself. (Jn. 12:31-32)
- Forgiveness flows both directions; it’s a two-way street that we must choose to accept. (Jn. 12:47-48)
- Jesus has made everything perfect in His time through his single sacrifice on the Cross. (Heb. 10:11-14)
Now it is your turn. Write out and share some of your biggest takeaways
Our study of the GOSPEL OF JOHN in review: