[SW289] 07/21/2017 message notes by
Pastor Susan J. Wynn ©2017
“Jesus, Worthy To Be Worshiped”
Text: John 12:1-19
Jesus Christ is worthy to be worshiped in Spirit and in truth! Through the actions and motives of Mary, the disciples, the crowd, and the Jews, Jesus has asked me to show you why some worship Him as He deserves, and some do not.
I tell you, worshiping Jesus is the most important act of a follower of Him. It is one thing needful.
All else flows from your true, selfless worship of Him!
Mary had done the one thing needful. She sat at His feet —
Luke 10:39 She (Martha) had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord’s feet, listening to His word.
Luke 10:42 “but one thing is necessary (required), for Mary has chosen the good part (she has done well), which shall not be taken away from her.”
Mary didn’t care if it was proper in the eyes of others. She was hungry to hear His words, to understand them. Her motive was not self-serving. This is worship of Jesus Christ.
Then, in John 11, she sent a messenger to Him in her time of need. Lazarus was sick. And when He didn’t immediately come, and Lazarus died, she did not believe the promise He had sent to her by her messenger.
But when Jesus resurrected Lazarus, she saw Him, really SAW Him, for the first time! And who He really is — God!
So, in John 12, when Jesus reclined at table at a supper with Mary, Martha and Lazarus at their home in Bethany, Mary could not help but show you, once again, selfless worship.
She took the most costly thing she owned — PURE nard worth 300 days’ wages — and anointed His feet with it.
And again, she disregarded Jewish custom, at the expense of her reputation, and let down her hair in public. How unthinkable to everyone around her, but how beautiful to Jesus!
And even more, she used her hair to wipe Jesus’ feet! Hair was considered to be a woman’s glory, her most beautiful attribute. But Mary used her glory to wipe Jesus’ feet. How unthinkable to everyone around her, but how beautiful to Jesus!
I tell you, this is pure worship! She did not care about herself. She did not seek or expect a blessing for her act of worship.
She did it for no other reason than to honor the One she now knew was God the Son! Her heart motive was right!
And the fragrance of that worship filled the room. It was pleasing, an act done from a pure motive and not from self interest. Mary did not do it for her own benefit.
When she was rebuked by Judas and also the rest of the disciples, here was Jesus’ response (I use Mark’s account because of its detail) —
Mark 14:6 But Jesus said, “Let her alone; why do you bother her? She has done a good deed to Me. 7 “For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you wish you can do good to them; but you do not always have Me. 8 “She has done what she could; she has anointed My body beforehand for the burial. 9 “Truly I say to you, wherever the gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be spoken of in memory of her.”
Now, I will show you the heart motive of Judas, the disciples, the crowd, and the Pharisees. What a contrast!
Judas’ motive was self-serving. He was stealing money from Jesus’ ministry. The sale of that nard would have put more money in the box, for him to steal.
So he objected to Mary’s worship, using the excuse that the nard could have been sold and the money given to the poor.
Some of the disciples objected, too —
Mark 14:4 But some were indignantly remarking to one another, “Why has this perfume been wasted? 5 “For this perfume might have been sold for over three hundred denarii, and the money given to the poor.” And they were scolding her.
Why did they object? They did not see who Jesus really is, because their motives were their own self interest, for their own benefit. They followed Jesus because they thought He would be an earthly King of Israel, and conquer the Romans so they would be free from Roman rule. Do you see it?
I tell you the truth, beloved, if your motive for worship is self interest, for your own benefit, you will blind yourself. You will be unable to see Jesus for who He really is. And when you pray and worship, with your motive being self interest, your prayers and worship will not be acceptable before God.
Jesus had told them, over and over that He was to be crucified and rise on the third day, just according to the prophecies regarding the Messiah, the Christ of God —
Matthew 20:18 “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem; and the Son of Man will be delivered to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn Him to death, 19 and will hand Him over to the Gentiles to mock and scourge and crucify Him, and on the third day He will be raised up.”
But they had their eyes on their own earthly freedom. So they were blind to the very Christ sent to them by His Father.
The large crowd of Jews came for their own self interest, too. They came to see Jesus AND the alive and well Lazarus. They wanted to see the proof that it had happened. They did not come to worship Jesus.
And the chief priests? They wanted to kill Jesus (John 11:53), AND Lazarus (John 12:10). Perhaps that would be the end of the matter, and they would no longer have to be concerned about their place, their position of power —
John 11:48 “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 and our nation.”
Do you see that the motive of their hearts was self interest? With such hearts, pure worship of Jesus (and worship of the Father) was the farthest thing from their minds.
Do you see that because of their self interest, they blinded themselves to who He is?
They simply exalted themselves when they prayed (see Luke 18:11). And their worship was lip service —
Mark 7:6 And He said to them, “Rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written:
‘ This people honors Me with their lips,
But their heart is far away from Me.”
Even the crowd’s motive was self interest, as they welcomed Him into Jerusalem. Like His disciples, they were looking for a natural king who would free them from Roman rule!These same crowds soon cried, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” (See Mark 15:13-14 and elsewhere.)
It is the same today. Some worship and pray with lips only, and thus, do not honor Jesus Christ and His Father.
Some pray for themselves. Their motive for worshiping and praying is their own self interest, for their own benefit.Thus, their prayers and worship are not acceptable to God.
Some place earthly good works above worship of Jesus.
So how does a follower of Jesus become a true worshiper, one who worships God in Spirit and in truth, one who worships God with the right heart motive, one who worships God selflessly?
True and pure worship of God is costly. Mary offered the nard with her whole heart, truly understanding who Jesus is.
True and pure worship will cost your position, your dignity, even your reputation.
And more than that, this is the requirement that makes it possible to worship God in Spirit and truth, worship that is pleasing to God —
Romans 12:1 Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service (act) of worship.
When you present this most expensive offering to Jesus as an act of worship, it will reflect that you understand the mercies of God, just as Mary understood the mercies of God the Father and God the Son toward her brother.
It will reflect that you see Him as He truly is. It will reflect that you want to worship Him at all costs.
When you offer your very self as a living sacrifice, your self interest — wanting blessings from God for your own benefit — will die.
But you will live on, living entirely for Him, with no other motive but His pure love with which He will fill you —
Romans 5:5 and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out (gushing, overflowing, spilling over) within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
This is what it is to worship Him, and He is pleased by the fragrance that your offering produces, and calls it holy, because your motive is no longer self interest.
And your worship will be remembered ALWAYS!
And the fragrance of your offering will fill the room, wherever you go. You will be His witness on the earth, one who walks about for God’s purposes and no other!
2Corinthians 2:15 For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing . . . and who is adequate for these things?
2Corinthians 3:5 Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God . . .