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Matthew 28
posted August 9, 2012

Revelation 13
posted August 16, 2012



Sermon of the Week #200835 – August 31, 2008

Jesus therefore six days before the Passover came to Bethany where Lazarus was, whom Jesus raised from the dead. So they made Him a supper, and Martha served, but Lazarus was one of them that sat at the table with Him. Those who are Christians belong to the same fellowship as Lazarus. Lazarus had been dead four days, and his body had begun to rot, and Jesus raised him from the dead. We also were dead in sins according to Ephesians 2:1, “And you did he make alive, when ye were dead in trespasses and sins.” And not only that, but like David said in Psalms 38:4-5, “Mine iniquities are gone over mine head; as a heavy burden they are too heavy for me. My wounds stink because of my foolishness.” We also were not only dead in trespasses and sins, but our sins made us stink before God.  When we heard the gospel, believed it, repented, were buried in baptism, and arose to walk in the newness of life as stated in Romans 6:4-6; it was not long until we found out that Jesus Himself had made us a supper, the Lord’s Supper, and we also were invited to sit at the table with Him.


Now notice the aroma of the ointment at this supper at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper. Mary therefore took a pound of ointment, pure nard, very precious, broke the cruse, and poured it upon the head of Jesus, and anointed His feet and wiped His feet with the hair of her head. Now this ointment may have been worth the wages of a working man for a whole year. Mary broke the seal, and poured every bit of it on His head and wiped His feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the odor of the ointment.

Usually if a person has an expensive bottle of perfume, a few drops is sufficient to give the desired aroma. No one ever pours the whole bottle on. It was certainly a lavish display of her reverence for Jesus. The house was filled with the odor of the ointment.

There is an aroma in the House of Worship when the worship is centered on Jesus. In Amos 5:21 the prophet Amos gives us this principle when he said of the hypocritical worship of Israel, “I hate, I despise your feast days, and I will not smell in your solemn assemblies.” And then in the 23rd verse he said, “Take away from me the noise of your songs; for I will not hear the melody of thy viols.” It seems there are some worship services where the singing is just a lot of noise in the ears of God, and the smell is awful.

However, Paul speaks of the pleasant aroma in our services when he says in Philippians 4:18 regarding sacrificial giving, “But I have all things, and abound: I am filled, having received from Epaphroditus the things that came from you, an odor of a sweet smell, a sacrifice, acceptable, well-pleasing unto God.” When any of us contributes to the Lord’s work in a sacrificial manner, God’s house is filled today with the aroma of the ointment.


Next consider why the ointment was not sold and given to the poor? Then Judas Iscariot is mentioned as one of the disciples that should betray Him, and he was the first to complain about the lavish display of ointment that could better be used to help the poor. Matthew says, “The apostles joined in the charge.” Mark said, “Some of them did. Judas brought it up, and some of the others followed his lead.” Maybe one said, “You know, Judas is right, this is a waste of money.”

But all of them seemed to misunderstand what Mary did; what she did was for the poor. The poor she did it for, was Jesus. Remember how Paul told us in 2nd Corinthians 8:9, “For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that ye through His poverty might become rich.” What she did was not only because Jesus was poor; He was poverty-stricken.

How poor was Jesus? He was so poor that He was born in a barn. He was so poor that at His circumcision at eight days old, a sacrifice was offered of a pair of turtle doves, or two young pigeons. This was the sacrifice for the poor. In Leviticus 12:8 Moses said, “And if she be not able to bring a lamb, she shall bring two turtle doves, or two young pigeons.” Jesus was so poor that he declared to those who would follow him in Matthew 8:29, “The foxes have holes, and the birds of the heaven have nests, but the Son of Man hath not where to lay His head.” In John 7:53, after a day of debate with the chief priests, every man went unto his own house, but Jesus went unto the Mount of Olives, and spent the night under the trees. What Mary did was for the poor and the poor was Jesus.

Mary did more for the poor than Judas or any of the others knew when we consider when at the beginning of His ministry, Jesus informed the people at Nazareth in Luke 4, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor.” And then when John was in the prison he sent his disciples to inquire of Jesus, “Art thou He that cometh or look we for another?” One of the signs that Jesus sent back as proof that He indeed was the Christ was what Matthew said in 11:5, “And the poor have good tidings preached unto them.”

Furthermore, actually what she did was for some poor people who thought they were rich. Jesus told the church at Laodicea in Revelation 3:17, “Because thou sayest I am rich, and have need of nothing, and know not that thou art the wretched one, and poor, and blind and naked:” There is no one who is as poor as the self-satisfied, lukewarm member of the Church. Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount, “Blessed are they that are poor in spirit, for of such is the kingdom of heaven. He that hath an ear let him hear.” No mortal man will ever know the true worth of the ointment Mary poured on Jesus that day for the benefit of the poor, and the poor was us.


Now consider the defense of Mary. When Judas made the charge regarding the tremendous waste of money, there was not one in that assembly that had any word in defense of Mary. Lazarus, a brother of Mary, who had been raised up from the dead after four days in the grave, without a doubt, was the crowning miracle of Jesus during his ministry on earth. The Lord had held this miracle back until the very last. Even Lazarus did not open his mouth in defense of his sister. Martha said nothing; none of the apostles uttered a word in defense. In fact, Mark says that some of them had indignation against her, and Matthew seems to indicate that they all joined in the accusation of the waste of money. Mary must have felt as though she was being slam-dunked by everybody at that supper.

The only voice raised in her defense was Jesus, as He said, “LEAVE HER ALONE.” This should not come as any surprise when we remember how the Apostle John tells us in 1st John 2:1 regarding the Christian, “We have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: and He is the propitiation for our sins; and not for our sins only but also for the whole world.”

An advocate is a defense lawyer. Ladies and Gentlemen, I have retained Jesus for my defense on the Day of Judgment. He is the best lawyer for defense in view of the one who is the prosecutor. In Revelation 12:10 John says, “For the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accuseth them before our God day and night.”

A man who was not a Christian told me one time he had it all figured out. He said if he could have a good mouth-piece to give his funeral sermon, he would make it. He mentioned a certain well-known preacher, and because I was there, to be polite he added, “or you”. He obviously was retaining the two of us as his dream-team defense lawyers. I do not hesitate to tell you that was one sinner that has a couple of shysters as his dream-team defense. The only one who can defend you on the Judgment Day is Jesus Christ our Advocate with the Father.

Our deceiver, the Devil, accuses us day and night before the Lord. He tells the Lord, “Look at him, Lord. Do you call such a person as that a preacher? I saw what he did, I heard what he said, I know the things he thinks about, I know things about him no one else knows. Lord, is he what you call a Christian?” Our Advocate with the Father replies in no uncertain terms, “LEAVE HIM ALONE.” We have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous.


Now consider what Jesus said about this woman. Jesus told them, “Leave her alone; she hath done what she could.” What a compliment that would be for Jesus to say of any of us, “He hath done what he could.” That would be high-praise. Many of us have not done what we could. And we need to do what we can do for Christ and His kingdom because Jesus did all He could for us.

Look at His birth, look at His life, look at His message, look at His death and resurrection, look at His Church, look at His plan of salvation, and the promise of eternal life. Can there be any doubt that the Lord has done all He could? We ought to do all we can, not only because the Lord has done all He can, but also because the Devil is doing all he can.

Peter tells us that the Devil is like a roaring lion walking about seeking whom he may devour. The Devil has plenty of assistance. Some of the ancients used to argue as to how many demons there were. Some said they were so thick in the air that you could not slip a knife between them. I cannot give any credence to that, but their number is great. Think of it, the Devil had a legion of demons in one man. If he could spare that many for one man there must have been enough left for the rest of us.

There are many roads to Hell and the Devil knows every one of them. Any one of them will take you there. You can go the drug road, or the perversion road, or the murder road, or the witchcraft road, or the abortion road, or if you prefer you can stay clear of all these things and simply go down the road of doing nothing about your relationship with Christ. All of these roads lead to Hell. You can drown in three feet of water just as well as in water a mile deep in the middle of the ocean. The Devil is doing all he can. He is working hard on you. He is an enemy who never sleeps and never takes a day off.

However, the Christian has this assurance from the Apostle Paul; he said in Corinthians, “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man, but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that which ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”

Consider again we need to do all we can; because we surely did work hard enough for the Devil when we were on his side. Peter indicates as much when he says, “For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, reveling, banqueting, and abominable idolatries.”

You have drunk enough booze, you have spent a fortune on nicotine, you have missed enough Lord’s Suppers, you have had enough idolatry, you have had enough lusts in times past to give you your fill. It is time to serve the Lord. Many may say they are on the Lord’s side. Then how come you are still serving the Devil? You don’t owe the Devil any favors. You have served in the kingdom of darkness long enough.

One preacher of some repute had several affairs. Another preacher told him that he had had enough women for a lifetime. Why not serve the Lord from now on? The time past may have suffered to serve the Devil. If you say you are a Christian, then, serve the Lord.

The Lord does not expect us to do everything, but to do what we can do. Some say, “What can I do, I am too young? What can I do, I am too old? What can I do, I am unqualified?” Jesus said that this woman hath done what she could. So do what you can. At least you can be faithful in attendance at the Lord’s Table on the Lord’s Day; at least you can do what you can do in contributions, at least you can have a faithful prayer life, and in the faithful walk with Jesus be an example before those who are around us.

This woman’s sacrifice of the ointment has been praised for the last two thousand years. Will anyone remember the modern-day sports records that long? What a power there is in faithful service to the Lord.

Think of the power of nature. How about the power of a thunder storm? Then think of the power of an earthquake, the power of a cyclone, and the power of a hurricane. Think of all that sound and fury. Suppose all of these things could happen at the same time. All of them together would not equal the silent power of gravity. We don’t hear gravity. There is no loud explosion. We don’t proclaim, “Hey look what gravity is doing today” but it is there. And we are glad that it is there. And that is a small illustration of the silent power of one person, or one congregation dedicated to faithfully doing what they can do.

If in Heaven we are awed by the service of a Daniel, David, Peter, or Paul, and realize that we cannot be a star like them, we can at least find solace if we only shine like a lightning bug. There used to be a popular song about shining like a lightning bug. Some of the words were:

“Glow little glow worm, glimmer, glimmer;

Glow little glow worm, don’t get dimmer;

Glow little glow worm turn; Turn on the AC and the DC;

Glow little glow worm glow.”

If we cannot shine as stars like Moses and Paul, at least we will find great peace, and solace if the Lord Jesus should say, “Well done thou good and faithful servant, you did what you could.”


The concluding statement of Jesus is worthy of note, “Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world; that also which this woman hath done shall be spoken for a memorial of her.” It is easy to overlook the overtones of that statement, “The gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world.” That statement includes the death, burial, resurrection, the giving of the Great Commission, ascension, and establishment of the Church on the Day of Pentecost; composed of all who believed the gospel story, and cried out, “What shall we do?” They were told, “Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Jesus predicted all of the above in His memorial of Mary, before any of it ever happened. So it is written, and so was it done.