I’m going to invite you to John 11. John 11 is where we’re going to be today. As you turn to this section of scripture, I’m excited to approach this text for a few reasons. One being is just this week, and into this weekend, I was reminded just really how blessed we are here at Alpine Bible Church. We have a wonderful church family, and I got to see that in action over the last few days. You, guys, aren’t always aware of the things that are happening through our church because as a pastor, I got my hands in all kinds of things. I know sometimes it isn’t always passed along to you the different things that we’re doing.
But we’ve always got our food pantry ministry happening here on Tuesday nights. We’re providing meals to the community. Sometimes we’ll have up to about 100 families come through for that. And that’s been a blessing to be able to care for our community in that way. This weekend, we had men’s group here, and we did our outreach booth in the park. Well, I got to see that we have a very outward-focused church. It’s a beautiful thing to see. On Sundays now at three o’clock here at our church for the last few weeks, we have a Mandarin service that we’re offering here at our church. And so we’re reaching out and making a difference. I shared with you a few months ago there’s a young lady in Uganda that is in some serious need of some surgery. And so, we’re still working on getting her here, but it’s looking optimistic for her in being able to getting some care. This week, working on getting some training to some pastors in a foreign country that have a heart to continue to reach their country.
There’s need for some further education to be able to plant churches. And so we’ve been working on that. Been talking to some churches that are interested in working with us to plant more churches in Utah, church in Florida and Colorado. It’s incredible to see what God is doing. I think it’s not about just heralding what we do as a church. I love what we do as a church. I love our heart as a church, but what makes that happen, why our church, I think, tends to be a church that’s outward focused and just being used for the Lord is what’s driving our heart’s desire. We’re a people that love God’s Word. We open God’s Word to learn. We open our hearts to love. We’re devoted to one another, and we care about the state of these wholes of people in our community.
And it’s resting in that conviction and being faithful to that and really waking up each day with that desire of being surrendered to the Lord, to let God lead our lives, to make a difference in this valley. We can come in church and be flashy and hype things up. I think it’s easy to create a crowd, but the proof in the pudding is the consistency of God’s people living out discipleship day to day for His glory to the benefit of others. And that’s the thing I love about ABC, is we can get excited, and we can celebrate the things that God does, and we should do that, to rejoice in the things that God is continuing to do in our church over the years. But the thing I love about our church is year after year, we’ve just been faithful to the Lord and we have just continued a steady growth in making a difference in this community.
One of the highlights that I love is when we’re, like this past week, going to the booth and doing outreach here in the park at Wines Park, having people from the community come up to us and say how thankful they are for our church, and they’re not even a part of it. I saw a couple of weeks ago someone asking for what church they should check out in our valley, and people were promoting our church that aren’t even a part of our church. Some churches, they may close their door one day and the community doesn’t even skip a beat, could care less that the church has gone. But I love the fact that if something were to happen to ABC, the community would miss it. I believe that’s the beauty of Jesus working in His people to make a difference on where we are.
And when I come to a passage like John 11, the end of this chapter into chapter 12 is a very adverse chapter, that you start to see tension building around Jesus. And in this tension is a very telling moment in the lives of where people are in Christ. In fact, if you got sermon notes this morning, if you picked those up, the first point I want you to see in this passage this morning is that adversity is revealing. You can give me a click. There it is. Adversity is revealing. What I mean is when tension builds in our life, it’s like throwing gasoline on a fire. It very quickly pushes the heart into a direction of where your faith is truly resting. When you go through either a moment in life that becomes very tense or just a season of life intense, it becomes very revealing in some of the things that your heart leans to, where your faith might go. Sometimes you find some good things. And other times you find areas of your life needs to grow in the Lord.
Adversity is a very telling thing for our lives. In fact, that’s how James 1 starts, when James is writing his book to a persecuted church, he says, “Consider it all joy, my brother, when you face various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance and let endurance have its perfect work.” Sometimes we look at things that are difficult in life and are like, “I don’t want that.” Right? I’m not telling you this morning, “Go find hard things to see where you are in Jesus.” What I’m saying is when you look at your life and you go through moments that feel tense, whether just maybe an argument or just a season of life, it’s revealing of where your faith goes, right?
Anyone can say they follow Jesus when it’s easy to follow Jesus. But the proof of whether or not your faith in Jesus really rests on Him as a rock is found when you go through hardship in life. I know in saying that you can look at your life and be like, “We had an argument on the way to church. Couldn’t get the kids in the car, man. I’m already feeling bad.” Look, I’m not telling you we’re looking for perfection here, right? Walking with Jesus is a journey, and adversity is one of those places in life where we get a very quick way of looking at where our heart tends to go. When you’re in John 11, John 11 is that miracle that happens that Jesus performs. It’s the raising of Lazarus from the grave. And there is no bigger catalyst that has led to the death of Jesus in scripture than the resurrection of Lazarus.
I mean, when you go through the gospel of John, you see Jesus performing all kinds of miracles, people getting frustrated by Jesus, right? But there’s one miracle in particular that is the strongest catalyst that leads to the crucifixion of Jesus, and it’s the resurrection of Lazarus. When you read the gospel of John, there are six miracles in the gospel of John that are unique to the rest of the gospels. 1 John 2, turning water into wine. Chapter four, Jesus heals the son of a political leader. Chapter five, Jesus heals the paralytic. Chapter nine, Jesus heals the blind man, chapter 11, he raises Lazarus from the grave. And then chapter 21, he’s going to make a bunch of fish up here. But this miracle is the catalytic miracle that really leads to the crucifixion of Jesus.
This is where the adversity comes, and it’s very revealing as to where people’s faith is in Christ. It’s a good place for us to consider our own position in walking with Jesus. I like the way Paul says it in Galatians 2:20, he says, “I am crucified with Christ. Nevertheless, that’s not I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” The way Paul describes his life in Jesus is he defines himself as a dead man to the things of this world because his life is found in Christ. He’s dead to the world and alive to Jesus. Now, when you think about your journey in this world, if you took that same life verse and made it about you, “That I am crucified with Christ. Nevertheless, it’s not I who live, but Christ who lives in me,” what we find in life when we don’t always follow Jesus, is that there’s a part of us that’s not dead yet.
I mean, what Paul is saying there is, “You can’t really tempt a dead man because he can’t care about those things.” In our lives, we’re called to be dead to the world but alive to Christ, live His mission, His calling in our lives in this world. But we find when we walk this world is we’re not perfect, and adversity tends to reveal that sometimes, areas of my life that become exposed where I need to learn to die Jesus, I’m not fully dead yet. I’m not completely crucified in my desires to want to pursue Christ. And so, this is where we pick up in the passage. In John 11:45, it says this, “Therefore, many of the Jews who came to Mary and saw what He had done believed in Him.” So he’s saying the Jews came to Mary’s, which Mary is the sister of Lazarus, and they saw what Jesus had done in resurrecting Lazarus. And they’re believing in Him, right?
Verse 46, “But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them the things which Jesus had done.” And so we see in verse 45 and verse 46 is that there’s Team Religion verse Team Jesus. You don’t really see Team Jesus verse Team Religion here, but Team Religion is coming against Jesus in this passage to the point where some people are believing, but other people that are rejecting Jesus are then going to the Pharisees, and they’re creating their camps, right? The people are really dividing the aisle between who is for Jesus and who is against Jesus. And so, in this passage, adversity becomes a good spiritual evaluator for people. It reveals really their integrity in Christ.
And then verse 47 it goes on, “Therefore, the chief priest and the Pharisees convene the council and we’re saying, ‘What are we doing, for this man is performing many signs. If we let Him go on like this, all men will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place in our nation.’ But one of them, Caiaphas, who was the high priest that year said to them, ‘You know nothing at all, nor do you take into account that it is expedient for you that one man die for the people and that the whole nation not perish.'” So verse 47 to 50, what you see is Team Religion is revealing really their game plan. And they’re telling us in this passage why they have this disdain or this hatred towards Jesus, to the point they’re talking about killing Jesus. What you find in their responses in verse 48, their purpose in wanting to pursue up to Christ to kill Christ has nothing to do with the truth. It rather has to do with convenience.
And you see in this passage what they’re discussing is not whether or not what Jesus is saying is true and what Jesus has done is a demonstration of the truth. They don’t even care about that. What they’re recognizing is that the things that Jesus is doing is not going to be convenient for them, right? He’s saying, “They’ll take away both our place and our nation.” And so, they’re coming to this passage wanting to kill Jesus for the purpose of convenience in their own lives. And so, in verse 51, “Now, he did not say this on his own initiative,” talking about Caiaphas, “but being a high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the nation. And not for the nation only, but in order that he might also gather together into one the children of God who are scattered abroad.” When you read verses 47 to 50, it’s easy to walk away and be like, “That’s a dumb idea.” Right? I understand that they want to get rid of Jesus because it’s not convenient to their plan. And Jesus as the Messiah is not fitting what they want their Messiah to be. But nonetheless, it’s true. They’re not picking the truth because they want to choose what’s convenient. But they decide in order to achieve that, what is necessary is to kill Jesus. That’s a dumb idea, right?
If you ever get to the end of your decision and it relates to killing Jesus, you should probably not pursue that decision. But here’s the comfort with that, guys, in verse 51 and 52, Jesus is still in control. It’s the comforting words of the story in the middle of this darkness that here comes adversity, adversity is revealing to where people’s hearts are, it’s like throwing gasoline on the fire, and they make this horrible decision. When you see the ramifications of people’s dumb decisions, sometimes it can stress us out. It gets us in this doomsday attitude. You try to find the light at the end of the tunnel, but the reminder in this verse is that God is always in control. That’s what he says, right? He’s not saying this on his own initiative.
It’s interesting how God does this, He’s saying, “Look, people will be responsible for the decisions.” People are responsible for their decisions, but God is ultimately in control, and God gets the final say. God gets the final say. So when you think about our circumstance, the Bible promises in Romans 8 that God works all things together for good, that god sees our struggle, God sees our suffering, God sees the ramifications that we endure because of the actions of others, and even sometimes because of our actions. God can work it all out for good. One of the things I love about these two verses is to consider it like this: sometimes we might realize in this story that we are a lot like Caiaphas. I want to be careful here, when we read about Team Religion verse Team Jesu, that we don’t just read this and be like, “Those guys are awful. How evil are those guys? I hate those guys, those bad guys,” but to recognize within this story there’s a piece of Caiaphas in all of us. That sometimes we choose convenience over Jesus because we love our idols more than we love Christ.
Adversity has a way of revealing those things to us. But if your heart is given over to Jesus as a disciple of Jesus, you know what to do with that, right? You can come to Jesus and surrender it to Jesus. And here’s one of the beautiful things that we see in this passage here is, when I wrong people or I’ve ever done something that maybe even just a stupid thing where I just said something, I’m like, “If I had just thought for two more seconds before I said that, I would have not said that. I can’t take that back now.” You find that that might hurt someone else. And all of a sudden, being in a room with someone that you might have hurt, or maybe the same thing that’s happened to you where someone’s done something to hurt you, being in that room is awkward. Here’s what we expect as people: when we do something to offend someone else and that person would hate us, right? They would at least be angry at us and maybe want to be vengeful towards us. And maybe even your life, you might struggle with that if someone has been that way towards you.
But here’s what Jesus says, “You hate me. I love you.” And that’s what these verses are. He’s still coming even though they have this disdain towards Christ to the point that their evil is leading to the crucifixion of Jesus, that Jesus still chooses to give His life for them. And He’s in control of it all. What that says for me looking at this passage, rather than just put all of the responsibility on Caiaphas here, but using this to examine my own heart is to recognize that there is a place for me when I fail that the love of Christ is still made known, that though there are times where I may give up on Jesus and choose convenience, that Jesus doesn’t give up on me, that He is still in control.
It goes on from there, verse 53. From that day on, they plan together to kill Him. “Therefore, Jesus no longer continue to walk publicly among the Jews, but went away from there to the country near the wilderness, into a city called Ephraim.” So I guess he’s in Utah, right? I don’t believe that. “Is he serious, does he think Jesus in Utah? “And there He stayed with the disciples. Now the Passover of the Jews was near, and many went up to Jerusalem out of the country before the Passover to purify themselves. So they were seeking for Jesus and were saying to one another as they stood in the temple, ‘What do you think? That he will not come to the feast at all?’ Now, the chief priest and the Pharisees had given orders that if anyone knew where He was, He was to report it so that they might seize Him.”
A couple of things here. One of the reasons that we often say Jesus’ ministry lasted three to three and a half years is because of the markings in John that indicate this. So in John 2, it talks about when Jesus had begun His public ministry. John 2 is Passover. In John 6, it talks about a Passover. And in John 11, here we are again, talking about a Passover. And so from John 2 to John 11, what you see is three Passovers, which would indicate to us that Jesus’ ministry would have lasted three years, right? And so, you look at those markers, the way the story is told, if John is doing this chronologically or he’s not sharing the same Passover story taking place in multiple occasions, if it’s done chronologically, what it’s saying to us is Jesus’ ministry lasted three years or just over three years.
In this section, it’s indicating to us that the religious leaders, they’re going to the temple because they recognize in their lives they need purified. They need purified. But what is ironic in this section of scripture is that while they’re recognizing their life needs purified, they’re embracing religion over God and convenience over truth. It’s amazing that the religious leaders in this story, they want to kill God. It’s saying to us, “Look, you can be moral, you can be religious, you can be a person that does good and still not have a relationship with God.” Because they’re depending on themselves. Adversity is revealing, and you see it in this moment with Jesus. Thrown in the resurrection of Lazarus, they don’t like this. Jesus isn’t fitting their preconceived ideas and expectations of who the Messiah should be. It’s not convenient for them to embrace them because they’re going to lose their position power. And it’s ugly. This moment is ugly.
But then on the backdrop of this story, in the middle of this tense moment, you get a beautiful illustration of what God desires for all of us. In this chaos, you see this beautiful story unfolding in John 12. And here’s what we find in the midst of this adversity, that when our soul might war within us like Caiaphas against God, adversity is revealing, but worship, worship is healing. John 12:1, you see Mary in this moment. Mary is completely aware of how polarizing the events of Lazarus have been to her community and her people. I mean, she’s right there in the middle of it. She knows the tension. She’s there to see the tension, that the Pharisees are dividing the people for Jesus or against Jesus. It’s inflaming in relationship, maybe brother against brother, or children against parents all over this topic of Jesus.
But what does Mary do? Mary just worships. She worships Christ over adversity. Look at this, “Jesus, therefore, six days before the Passover came to Bethany where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. So they made him a supper there and Mary was serving, but Lazarus was one of those reclining at the table with Him. And Mary then took a pound of very costly perfume of pure nard and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped His feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.” Man, that’s a beautiful story, isn’t it? I mean, you think in your life right now, maybe you could even contemplate in your mind when we talk about how adversity is revealing your own failures, where you’ve struggled in your walk with God, and you’re like, “What do I do with this?” Even last night, just some of the dumbest decisions I was making. What should my soul do?”
And the answer is just illustrated right here with Mary. Worship. That’s what Jesus wants for you because that is what transforms you. It’s worship. It’s not this idea of paying penance. It’s not this idea of walking in guilt. It’s this idea of just laying it all down to Jesus and coming in worship because worship is what’s healing. Now, I think for us on a Sunday morning, if I told you, what’s the number one goal for us as a church? There’s a lot of subgoals that we could have. This morning, I want you to learn the Bible. We could walk out more knowledgeable in scripture. I want us to enjoy each other as a community. We should love each other. That’s a great thing. That’s a good goal. But more than anything, more than anything, when we walk out together, my hope is that your heart is in worship. That’s what changes your life. That’s where the transition happens from the things of this world to the things of God. That’s where you become what Paul says, “I’m crucified with Christ. Nevertheless, it’s not I who live, but Christ who lives within me.” And that’s what Mary does in this story. In that moment, that was chaotic, intense, Mary’s heart is to worship.
When you read about Mary in the Bible, all the beautiful things about her, she’s such a great example, she’s always at the of Jesus. Mary is always at the feet of Jesus. When Lazarus dies, Jesus at the cross, here in this moment, Mary’s at the feet of Jesus. And what we learn about Mary’s worship is that Mary’s worship, it’s selfless. And that’s really what worship is, isn’t it? It’s not about you. It’s about Him. Worship is selfless. Worship is answering this question, how do I from my heart take all of the resources, time, and ability that God has given me to honor Him in this moment or in this season of life? That’s the question worship answers. What’s the best way for me right now in this moment or season of life to use the time, talents, or abilities God has given me to honor Him? That’s that’s worship, and that’s what Mary does.
And then verse four, it goes on a little bit further, and it helps us see that worship… Different than the religious leaders. Religious leaders, they’re not about embracing the truth or about embracing what’s convenient. That’s what we’ve seen together. But worship is about embracing the truth no matter the cost. Well, I hope for us that’s the kind of people that we desire to be. Because that’s the kind of people that we should be leaning into with all of our heart, because when we recognize our culture today, it’s not easy or convenient anymore to be a Christian, right? In following after Jesus, there’s a way in pursuing Jesus that’s going to make you different than this world. Christians, people that pursue Jesus genuinely, we don’t have the majority of society anymore. And so, society is going to dictate or try to dictate to us what it should look like to walk in this world. But that’s not who we are.
Pursuing the truth isn’t always convenient, but pursuing the truth is what God calls us to do. And that’s an aspect of worship. We worship in spirit and truth. That’s what John says. In verse four, it goes on a little further, “But Judas Iscariot, one of His disciples who was intending to betray Him said, ‘Why was the perfume not sold for 300 denarii and given to the poor people?’ Now, he said this not because he was concerned about the poor, but because he was a thief. And as he had the money box, he used to pilfer what was put into it.” A few things we recognized here with Mary, her worship is definitely selfless, and her worship is expensive. It’s extravagant. Mary’s worship would have been the equivalent of a year’s wages. A denarii was one day’s wage. So you’re looking at 300 days’ wages. So if you get one day off a week, this is a year’s wages that Mary is anointing Jesus with in this story.
And Mary’s heart is certainly selfless in giving to Jesus this way. That’s what true worship is, it’s selfless worship. But here’s what we find about Judas, he asks an interesting question, doesn’t he, in verse five, “Why are you doing this? Why don’t you give it to the poor?” If you just read verse five, there’s reason to pause there and just consider what Jesus is saying. Is that the best way to spend money? We want to take the time, gifts, talents God has given us, and we want to use it the best we can for His glory. We want to be wise with it. We can’t always dictate the way we give things over the Lord and how people might use it, but we can try to be wise about it. Judas’ question is a question maybe of piety, just to consider, is this the wisest thing to do? But what you find in the next verse is that Judas’ heart really wasn’t about being wise.
Judas’ reasons aren’t even right. Judas isn’t asking this question for the benefit of others. Judas in verse six is asking the question for the benefit of himself. Judas isn’t following Jesus for Jesus’ glory. Judas is following Jesus for his glory, and he’s falling into the same trap that the religious leaders were falling into. We saw previously that what Judas is interested in is what’s convenient for him. It’s not about what’s true. For him, it’s about what is convenient. And at first, his actions, or at least his question in verse five seems godly. But when you start to see his heart, you realize it’s a long way from the Lord.
This verse is really the first time that you get a behind the scenes look at what’s going on in the life of Judas. Scriptures start to reveal his attitude. Thinking this, Judas walked with Jesus for three years. For three years he walked with Jesus, but he still wasn’t given over to Jesus. Guys, as you serve Jesus in this world, you’re going to run into people like Judas. It’s going to happen. It happened in the first century, and it continues to happen today. I mean, you think Jesus had 12 disciples that He walked with intimately in life, and not even Jesus could keep 12 people in faithfulness pursuing after Him. There was still a devil in the group.
It’s a reminder to us that even if Jesus was walking this earth couldn’t see 12 people consistently walk, you think about what it is to pursue Jesus as a community here among us, that not everyone’s always going to be faithful. But let me just encourage you, regardless of what other people do, stay faithful. And here’s why. It’s not about them, it’s about Jesus. If something bad happens in the life of someone else and that becomes my excuse to stop following Jesus, the question for me to ask is, “Was I really following Jesus to begin with? Was someone else my enabler to my relationship with God? Or was it really about the worth of Jesus?” No matter what anyone else in this room does or doesn’t do in their relationship with Jesus, you stay consistent in your relationship with Jesus. And not because it’s convenient, but because it’s true, and He is worthy.
Worship is healing. But you see in the story, Judas had a limit to his relationship with the Lord, just like the religious leaders pursuing what was convenient. So here’s the question for you, do you have a limit to your walk with Jesus? Do you have a temptation that would lead you away from Christ? What one thing in life if you lost would that lead you or tempt you to stop following after Jesus? What is your idol? What luxury do you not want to give up for Christ because it’s more convenient to hold onto than to pursue the truth in knowing Him? Is it cultural pressure? Is it financial convenience? Is it political tension? How about this, is it a coronavirus?
I know there’s a way to be wise when things like that happen in life, but I don’t find a verse in the Bible that says, “Follow Jesus and make disciples, unless there’s a virus. Then put a timeout on until it’s gone.” That’s not in scripture. It doesn’t mean that you still pursue Jesus in the same way. You can change the way that you might honor Christ in your life, but it’s never an excuse to stop pursuing Jesus in this world. Hard things are going to happen, but Jesus still rules and reigns, and Jesus still has His calling on the church. It might look different in how you do it, but the calling still rests on you. And so, the question is, what is your limit to your walk with Jesus? What, if tempted with, might lead you to stop pursuing him?
Selfless worship happens when heart is thankful. And that’s what we see here in the life of Mary. She finds this worship is healing, this worship is selfless. But the reason Mary was able to enter into this relationship with God despite all the adversity around her, despite the tension that builds up, she was able to just push all of that away and just focus on Jesus and honoring Jesus and sitting at the feet of Jesus is because Mary’s heart was thankful. She looked to her God and realized He alone was worthy. So what else, what better could she do with her life than to come before her king humbly and praising His name? Ephesians 1:3 says it like this for us, “Blessed be the God and father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.”
What Paul’s saying in the very beginning of Ephesians, he’s saying, “Look, your heart has more than enough reason to just honor God and praise God and sit at the feet of God and be selfless in your devotion to God and forsake all things in this world and to say, ‘I am crucified with Christ,’ because Jesus has blessed your life with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms. That’s an incredible gift. If you read Ephesians 1:3, if you go on from there, he starts to outline for us exactly what that means for you in your life, what is that like. If you say, “Okay, this morning things are hard. What reason do I have to praise God because I’m feeling weak in my life? If this is what’s healing to me, this worship, how does my soul find this attitude of thankfulness that will inspire me to lift up God’s name and honor Him with all that I am, to forsake this world and glorify God?” Paul says in Ephesians 1:3, “Blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realm,” and he goes on to describe it, right? He says, “You’ve been predestined in Him, that you’ve been declared righteous in Him. You’ve been forgiven in Him. You’ve been adopted in Him. You’ve got this entire new identity because of Jesus, and you belong before this king because of what He’s done for you.”
Our goal this morning, we can have a lot of subgoals in our gathering to worship, but our goal this morning is that our hearts would worship. When we walk from this building, it would be to rest in the goodness of who God is because the outflow of worship is a life that is transformed in Christ. We’re in this struggle in life, and we all have this war within us between being a Mary and being a Caiaphas. The temptation of our life is to walk in convenience. But the calling of Jesus is to walk in truthfulness, and truthfulness comes with selflessness and that reason for laying down our life is because of the goodness of who God is.
Look in verse seven, this one says, “Therefore Jesus said, ‘Let Mary alone so that she may keep it for the day of my burial, for you always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.” What Jesus is saying here is, “Guys, don’t underestimate how precious it is to spend time with Christ.” The primary thing that God calls you to in this world is not to do. The primary thing God calls you to in this world is to know Him. The primary thing God calls you to in this world is relationship. You can do all day long and not have a relationship with God. But if you have a genuine relationship with God, then you follow after the things that He will call you to do in this world. But it’s got to start with heart transformation. Mary knew this. You see, even in the story, you know the difference between Martha and Mary, right? Martha is the one that’s always the doer, right? Even in this moment, they’re throwing a dinner party for Jesus for resurrecting Lazarus, and Martha is the one cooking the meal, taking care of that. Mary’s the one at the feet of Jesus because she knows how precious this moment is.
There’s always going to be a time where she can get up and prepare a meal. There’s always going to be a time to do some kind of job. But moments with Jesus, they’re precious, they’re special, they’re life-transforming. How important it is above all other things that your heart would have a moment to worship because that’s what transforms you? And the result, let’s look at this, here’s the result. The result is an aroma that blesses others. Verse nine, “The large crowd of the Jews then learned that He was there, and they came not for Jesus’ sake only, but that they might also see Lazarus whom He raised from the dead. But the chief priest planned to put Lazarus to death also, because on account of him, many of the Jews were going away and were believing in Jesus.” Just the irony of that moment. You’re like, “Verse 10, they resurrect Lazarus from the grave, and they get so angry that also Lazarus has been resurrected from the dead.” Their anger is not just Jesus now, it’s like “And Lazarus. What should we do with Lazarus? Let’s kill him again.” That’s the conclusion. They have such disdain for pursuing Jesus because they don’t want to give up their idols. “These are our idols, Jesus.”
It’s easy to get what the Pharisees are. I mean, we can look at them and very angry, “How could you kill Jesus?” But you think of it from their position that they’re considering all of the diplomacy they’ve done with Rome, that they’ve built this relationship to keep peace for their people. And they don’t want to upset Rome. They’ve taken all of this time to develop this relationship. They’re like, “If we give into Jesus, we could lose this position, this relationship with Rome. Rome could come back angry to us. This is way inconvenient. There’s no way I want to do this. There’s got to be a different way around this. And we’re not pursuing Jesus for that reason.”
Well, we can justify that with Jesus, right? Like, “Jesus, you’re asking me for this, to lay my life down this way, God. Is there any other way? I’ll give you this Jesus, but not this. Let’s create you to be the kind of God that I want not the God that you are.” Right? Easy to get there, to the point that they’re so frustrated. Now, they’re like, “Lazarus was already dead. So what’s it going to hurt? We can just kill him again.”
But it says because of the life of Lazarus, others were coming to know Christ. This isn’t an easy moment for Lazarus, is it? This is not convenient. But Lazarus, his family, Mary, they’re just honoring the goodness of who God is. And the aroma of their worship is a blessing to everyone else around them. It doesn’t say everyone else necessarily has to recognize it or praise them for it. When you go and serve Jesus in this world, it’s not because you get the accolades. I always say for us this morning, my goal is not for you to think much of me. I could care less what you think of me. But if you could just think much of Jesus. If I die and no one remembers my name, I don’t care. But if you know Jesus, that changes everything.
We could spend the rest of eternity, and you can learn my name there, right? But just to know Jesus, and that’s what Lazarus does. Why? Because he is worthy and his heart is filled with thankfulness. Because when I think about our culture today, the wisest thing that we can do is submit our lives to Jesus. The bravest thing I think you can do is submit your life to Jesus. Following after Jesus in our culture today, it’s going to cost you. But he’s worthy. The question of reflection for our own soul is just to ask the question, “When it comes to this moments of things that are adverse, do I choose convenience or do I choose Jesus?” The best thing I can do for my family is submit to Jesus, to be selfless.
People of convenience will hurt others. I see what you see in the story. But people of worship will bless others. There is a Caiaphas and the Mary battle within all of us. One kills Jesus for convenience, the other falls and worships Him. And the result is an aroma that blesses the life of others. Mary, for us, is an extraordinary display of where we should find ourselves at the feet of Jesus because worship is healing.
This message has been brought to you by Alpine Bible Church in Lehi, Utah. If you’d like more information, please visit us online at alpinebible.com.