Servant King – Week 21 – Disciples Worship
Last week we discovered that Disciples are watchful. this we we will discover that disciples are worshipers. One of the things most people might not know about me is that my first desire in ministry was to be a worship Pastor. In fact I went to Bible College to study music because I thought that was my calling in life. I love to worship. I love leading people into worship. I love when our people get so moved by the songs we sing that they sense a small piece of what Heaven will be like. But before we go too far let me define worship. Worship is not singing! Worship is giving God His rightful place in our lives. We saw 2 weeks ago the famous command “Love the Lord with all your Heart, Soul, Mind and Strength.” That is the definition of what worship is all about. In fact you can worship and not sing. So why do we call the time when we sing worship? Because there is something about how music interacts with our souls. There is something about getting lost in the words and the melody and the atmosphere of singing with a group of people praises to our God. Singing is not worship, but it is one of the best ways that we can enter into worship, to have our minds and hearts transformed into the attitude of worship. Today we are going to look at one of the most beautiful examples of worship in the scriptures and we will learn what it means to Love the Lord with everything.
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.”
Picture the scene with me just for a moment Jesus has just spent the last several days in Jerusalem, the population of Jerusalem in Jesus’ day was about 80,000 people. But the population of the city is estimated to have grown as high as 2 million people.
The reason for this is Passover and the festival of Unleavened Bread. Duet 16:16-17, Three times a year all your men must appear before the Lord your God at the place he will choose: at the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the Festival of Weeks and the Festival of Tabernacles. No one should appear before the Lord empty-handed: 17 Each of you must bring a gift in proportion to the way the Lord your God has blessed you.
The city would have been packed and the the Sanhedrin knew the popularity of Jesus so while they wanted to do away with this “man” who would challenge their power, they were too afraid of the peoples response.
The Passover was a celebration of God’s redemption of His people. The most amazing reminder of God’s Grace and goodness to His people. So it is no coincidence that God chose this festival, to once again show His grace and mercy to mankind. God’s timing is always perfect. And as we see even in the timing of Jesus crucifixion, God had a plan and no man would interfere with His plan.
As we begin today, this is one of the greatest reasons we have to worship Jesus. Not only is He worthy of worship because of His Grace to us but also because He is sovereign, and no one can interrupt His plan.
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.
Remember Bethany was a town just outside of Jerusalem, with the swell of population of the city of Jerusalem Bethany would have been jammed packed with people as well. This account is found in three of the Gospels. Mark 14, Matthew 26, and John 12. There is also a similar story found in Luke 7 and 8 but this happened much earlier in Jesus ministry. There was a famous family that lived in Bethany, does any remember who that was? Mary, Martha and Lazarus. Most Bible scholars think that this happened in their house, and that Simon the Leper was their father. No matter if it was their father or a neighbor of theirs, Jesus goes to the house of a man who had been healed of leprosy. I love this picture, remember leaven in scripture is a picture of sin, leprosy was also a picture of sin. Jesus enter into a house that at one time was full of sin but now was clean. That is the picture of our lives as well. Jesus enters into our lives so full of sin and He makes us clean. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit. Eph 2:22
Oh what a Savior!
Next we see “a woman”, Mark does not call her by name, only John tells us it was Mary of Bethany. I began to wonder why that might be and I think the reason was because he didn’t anything to distract us from who was most important in the room, It was Jesus! But for us to understand the full context lets look at Mary for a second. The first time we meet Mary and Martha is when Jesus is having dinner with them and Martha is scrambling around trying to prepare everything and Mary is sitting at Jesus’ feet just learning from Him. Next we see Lazarus die and Mary and Martha call for Jesus and Lazarus is raised from the dead. Then we have this story. Mary loves Jesus very much and this is the final scene we see her mentioned in scripture. It is fitting that the last time we see her she is worshiping Jesus with everything.
It says she came with an alabaster jar, of VERY expensive perfume. An ‘alabastron’ is a container, vial or box of perfume. The name coming from Alabastron, Egypt, where a soft white marble could be found. The usual form was a sort of a long, narrow necked necked vase or flask with no handles. They were designed to preserve the odor of the fragrance for a long time if sealed (some were said to have lasted for centuries). For the sealed ones, the perfume was meant to be used all at once when the seal was broken.
Lessons from this act:
- She came prepared.
Do we come prepared to worship? Each of us is a significant member of the worship team.
I will sing of the Lord’s great love forever; with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations.
I will declare that your love stands firm forever, that you have established your faithfulness in heaven itself.
You said, “I have made a covenant with my chosen one, I have sworn to David my servant,
‘I will establish your line forever and make your throne firm through all generations.’”
- The cost was high
Very expensive purfume – 300 denari – One years salary – $3000/oz
I did a quick scan of the Internet and the world’s most expensive perfume is Clive Christian No. 1 Imperial Majesty Perfume – $12,721.89 per ounce. Seems that the container accounts for much of that price so, Clive Christian has come out with this perfume in a less expensive container for mere $2,150 per oz. So now we’re in the range of Mary’s Pure Nard at $3,000 per oz.
Personal value – family heirloom
2 purposes – dowry or death
Surrender of future plans wedding and social exceptability
- Worship Costs us something.
2 Sam 24:24
– I will not offer anything that cost me nothing.
Anyone can sing songs but disciples worship a savior
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.
Judas leads the charge.
Wasteful – drink offering
Rebuked harshly – they were convicted of her extravagance
6 “Leave her alone,” said Jesus. “Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me.
Jesus defends her.
Worship is a beautiful thing to our God. We worship not because we are commanded to. We worship because we love to offer something to God that is beautiful.
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.
Jesus is not condemning serving the poor. He is saying that the work will always be there to do, but we must take the time To be in His presence, to worship before we work, that way the work is for Him.
8 She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial.
Jesus attaches spiritual significance to her earthly act. She did what she could.
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.”
Her worship places her, in the Gospel story. Why? Because that is our highest calling. So often we can think that life is about the temporal things. But the Gospel reminds us that life is about Giving Him Honor and glory. Service, evangelism, success, work is all meaningless if it is not done as an act of worship.
So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 1 Cor 10:31
; Col 3:17
Are we willing to be broken and spilled out? Are willing willing to be a living sacrifice? Romans 12:1-2
10 Then Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve, went to the chief priests to betray Jesus to them. 11 They were delighted to hear this and promised to give him money. So he watched for an opportunity to hand him over.
Here is the warning… if we miss this, if we don’t worship, we betray the Good News of the Gospel. When we forget to worship, our hearts are turned away from God, and turned to temporal things. So often we vilify Judus and we say, how could he do that? I would never do that to Jesus. But we do it everyday. When we do not worship Him, when we go through our day and do not give Him everything we have, everything we are, every plan, every hope every dream. When we we are not changed by the amazing love of. God in our lives and we worship him for all he is worth we act just like Judas did. May that not be what is said of us today.
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