John 12:1-11- The Desire of True Faith
Explanation- Here we find Christ socializing with friends. Even He took time to spend with those He loved and enjoyed fellowship with His disciples. Take note of Christ’s position. He was reclining with Lazarus. This does not display someone who is uncomfortable and proud toward sinners (such as the Pharisees were), it displays the level of comfort that Jesus had with His disciples as well as their comfort with Him. He was a friend of friends and I can only imagine the level of peace and security His friends felt while sitting in His Company.
As this account progresses, Mary does something rather odd. She brings out an expensive container of precocious ointment and begins to anoint the feet of our Lord. This ointment is said to have cost 300 denarius. For those of us who are not familiar with this sort of currency, a denarius was a day’s wage for a laborer of this time. In essence, this anointing was worth one year’s pay for the average Israelite. It is clear by Mary’s initiation and willingness to perform such an act that she counted this earthly treasure with little regard in light of the one with whom she would spend it on. What a beautiful truth we find here. As Mary impoverished herself of her earthly goods she was in turn storing up much treasure in the kingdom of heaven. She knew the value of Christ and was satisfied to spend herself down to nothing to serve Him.
Let us contrast this woman of faith with the man of sin. Judas wore a cloak of deceit, for though he would express desire to sell said ointment and give to the poor, his real intention was the gain of filthy lucre which he knew this ointment would provide. His heart was set on the riches of this world which are but an ash heap of eternal insignificance. He desired the fruit of this world and in the end that is exactly what he received.
A final area of comment deals with the Jews response Lazarus. They had heard that Christ had raised this man from the dead and rather than marvel at this mighty work of God, the instead seek to put Lazarus to death once and for all so that news of this miracle would not spread. What wickedness dwelt in these men’s hearts! These men were indeed haters of God and all righteousness, for if they were not they would clearly see the reality of what was happening right before their very eyes. But because it was the will of God for them to remain blind to these truths, blind they remained so that the purposes of God may be fulfilled.
Application- There is a caution for us to be continually examining our own hearts here in this passage. Remember Judas. How he spent much time with our Lord, partook in the ministry, and broke bread, but all the while he held valued the moth ridden treasures of this world much more than he valued the eternal treasures that Christ offered. How easy it is to become distracted by shiny things! How quickly our hearts can long for that which can never fully satisfy. Let us be careful to keep our mind on the riches of Heaven and the glory of the Christ, rather than those things which our hearts are so easily drawn. Are we in better position than Judas? For he too had heard the words of eternal life and partook in the great earthly ministry of Christ, yet in the end because his heart was drawn to unjust gain, he fell away and betrayed the Lord of glory. To the one whose affections are set in heavenly places, his hands will be busy with heavenly labor.