There were some who said to themselves indignantly, “Why was the ointment wasted like that? For this ointment could have been sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor.” And they scolded her. But Jesus said, “Leave her alone.
I’m Pastor Mark. Uh, if you’re a guest with, it’s great to have you here. Wonderful to have you here for our nine o’clock service, which feels like eight o’clock, but I’d like you to turn to Mark chapter 14 this morning. We’ve been doing an interesting thing in this series together.
We’ve been walking with Jesus on a week’s trip and what a week it is. It’s passion Week, the last week that leads up to the crucifixion and then resurrection of Jesus Christ. As Mike mentioned last week, it’s called Passion Week because the Latin word for passion, pathos means suffering. It is a season of suffering for Jesus.
And as we look at this week, we’re taking a a day each Sunday as we go through. And if you haven’t, you’ve been using, I really encourage you to pick up, uh, one of the books out in the lobby that our team put together. It’s a 60 page book the Common Life Team put together of daily readings all related to the particular day that we’re talking about on Sunday.
Today we’re talking about Wednesday of Passion Week, the Day of Silence. Recently, pastor Ben talked about the first day Sunday, Jesus entry into Jerusalem, and as he came, came in this offering of himself as the king to the nation, and came in a startlingly different way than any. Would’ve envisioned he didn’t come as the mighty conquering war Lord, that they expected.
He rather came literally as a humble servant riding on a donkey into the city on Monday and Tuesday. As Pastor Mike mentioned last time, it was too tumultuous days, undoubtedly shocking to the poor disciples as they watch Jesus go into the the temple. And soon into the day, somewhere around midday, Jesus enters into the temple, uh, courts and starts turning over tables and, and saying, you’ve made my father’s house, which was a house of prayer into Aden of robbers.
They’ve had some conversations that day. I’m sure the disciples were sort of what just happened. They returned back over the mount into the little town of Beth, Bethany, and now Tuesdays come, and I’m sure those guys are wondering. Man, I, I hope today is a little calmer, where Monday had been a day of Jesus turning up over overturning tables and literally overturning the practice of the religion and worship of Israel.
Now he comes in and he utterly overturns the entire teaching ministry of Israel. He takes on the groups, he takes on the Pharisees, the conservative Jewish leaders. He takes on the sades, the liberal Jewish leaders. He takes on the Herodians, the Romanized Jewish leaders. He takes on the scribes, the theologically driven Jewish leaders.
And in the midst of these conversations, in this day of a lot of conversations, He calls them, among other things, blind guides, whitewash tombs, which means you look good on the outside, but you’re dead inside hypocrites and a brood of snakes. It’s been a good day for the disciples. And now they go back to Bethany, and I’m sure as they’re there, these guys have conversations offline with each other.
I don’t know what’s happening. It’s a day in which almost nothing is recorded on this day of what transpired. It’s a day of silence. It’s a day of quiet. Apparently it was a day in which Jesus and the disciples settled in, recouped, renewed Jesus certainly knowing what was coming, saw the need of that. It is a day that presents to us no public teaching or actions.
He does not appear to leave Bethany on this day. The day does not show us so much Jesus in his action and his teaching. We see Jesus here more in how people are presented in their response to him. Two particular people. We see Jesus through the eyes of others. Our passage this morning in Mark chapter 14 focuses on different responses to Christ by two people that knew him well, Jesus, excuse me, Judas, one of his disciples, and Mary, the sister of Martha and Naza.
Both Mary and Judas hung with Jesus. They knew his teaching, his works, his values both were looked at at by others as being deeply identified with him, but the fruit of their heart choices could not have been more distinct. Mark in this passage is clearly trying to contrast them as we see their responses to Christ.
Both of these people present an astonishing legacy that of Mary is presented in verse nine, which I’ll read in a moment where Jesus says What she has done will always be remembered. It goes without saying that nobody forgot Judas as well. What this passage is about is basically to challenge us to make some personal evaluations.
It’s the d t r talk. The define the relationship talk. It’s the talk where you’re trying to find out exactly where are we in this relationship. It’s really given to us to look at it ourselves. Jesus says, you’ve been hanging around me for a while. You know a bunch about me. Other people look at us and it seems like you and I are a thing, but let’s take stock of where we are.
And the question is, are we living more like Judas or are we living more like Mary? It’s a little like asking I, I realize, okay, come on, mark. Who is gonna say, well, I really identify with Judas. I mean, it’s like saying, do you identify more with Mother Teresa or Alex Murdoch, the South Carolina lawyer that just is convicted of killing his wife and son?
well maybe you’d say, well, um, maybe somewhere in between. But we’re confronted with two contrasts. And the striking thing is that Judas is actually a sobering visual of how the trajectory of one’s life can take them to places that they themselves would never have imagined. The DTR question defined the relationship as raised because there’s ambiguity in the relationship.
Where do you stand? Where are we heading? We’re gonna look at this together, but first, let’s read the passage. Mark, chapter 14. We read this, I’m gonna read verses one down through verse 11. It was now two days before the Passover and the feast of unloved bread. And the chief priest and the scribes were seeking how to arrest him by stealth and kill him for, they said, not during the feast, unless there be an up opera from the people.
And while he was at Bethany in the house of Simon, the lepers, he was reclining a table. A woman came with an alabaster flask of ointment of pure Bernard, very costly, and she broke the flask and poured it over his head. By the way, this woman is identified in John 12 as being married, the sister of Lazarus and Martha.
There were some who said to themselves, indigently, why was this ointment wasted? Like that for this ointment could have been sold for more than 300 Daria and given to the poor, and they scolded her. But Jesus said, leave her alone. Why do you trouble? She has done a beautiful thing to me for you always have the poor with you and whenever you want, you can do good for them, but you will not always have me.
She has done what she could. She has anointed my body beforehand for burial and truly, I say to you, whatever the goss, wherever the gospel has proclaimed to the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her. Then Judas Iscariot, who was one of the 12, went to the chief priest in order to betray him to them, and when they heard it, they were glad and promised to give him money and he sought an opportunity to betray him.
Father, I ask that you would be our teacher this morning that your spirit would allow our minds to be free from all the other stuff. And allow us to be focused on truth. This morning, God used this nod as a sermon to beat us up, but to prompt us to want to live more vitally in relationship with you, the living God.
Lord, give us eyes and ears and heart to see and listen this morning, I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen. I wanna look at four contrasts this morning between Mary, the woman that his washing the feet of Jesus in such a remarkable way, and Judas Iscariot, first of all, their familiarity with Jesus. They both shared familiarity with Jesus.
Judas. Has an inoculated familiarity. He has had some of it just enough to give him a vaccination and immunization against the real disease. He knows Christ. He’s traveled with him for almost the whole three and a half years of his ministry. No one sensed he was different even in the group. It’s astonishing to think about.
They never had much money, but what they did have, they entrusted to Judas 12 business guys, 11 of them entrusting their money to ju Judas. You can be sure they didn’t have any doubts about him if they’re gonna give him the money. He’s an individual who looks and seems like everyone else. Years ago, there was a 60 minute special.
And in the special, it was actually, uh, a presentation about Adolf Eichman. Adolf Eichman was the, uh, progenitor, basically the one that ran the Holocaust in Nazi Germany. He was responsible for the, the, the final solution, the extermination of the Jewish race. He was responsible for millions of Jews, others as well, um, but particularly Jewish people that were killed in NAIA regime.
He designed the system, he ran the system, uh, and he was brought to the Nuremberg Trials in the post years after World War ii. And in those trials he was speaking. And if we can just bring up the slide. This is him actually, as he has being. Do we have that slide? Oh, it’s not up there. I’m still getting used to the screams,
Okay. Alright. That’s him in the middle. And a eichman is testifying. And here’s the question that is raised by Mike Wallace. How is it possible for Amanda act as Eichman acted? Was he a monster, a madman, or was he perhaps something even more terrifying? Was he somewhat normal? The most startling answer to Wallace’s shocking question came in an interview with a Jewish man named Yeha de Denu, a concentration camp survivor who testified against Eichman at the trials.
A film clip from Eichmann’s 1961 trial showed Denu turning and seeing eichman for the first time since the Nazi. Had been, had sent him to Auswitch 18 years earlier, deur began to solve uncontrollably and then fainted. Collapsing in a heap on the floor. Was Deur overcome by hatred, fear, the horrific scarring, memory, memories?
Did he see all the faces of people he loved and lost? It was none of those things. Rather as Dura explained to Mike Wallace all at once, he realized Eichman was not the God-like Army officer who had sent so many to their deaths that he had envisioned this eichman was an ordinary man. Here’s what he said.
I was afraid about myself. I saw that I am capable to do this. I am exactly. Like he, this is the reality. Judas looked the same. Judas was sent on the missionary trips. He did the stuff two by two. They’re sent out. He was a two. He went out with a twosome. You can imagine whoever his partner was thinking back and imagining later, as we hear of what Judas did, it’s easy to lump him into a category which is utterly outside of our own experience, but we’re reminded of the words by the great preacher of days past Samuel w Rutherford.
I see the seed of every sin in my own heart
until his actions here in Mark 14, the disciples never had. A clue. How was he able to do this? How was he able to hide it from others and certainly to a degree from himself really where his heart was. Because familiarity with Jesus does not bring about love and devotion to Jesus. Quite honestly, some of the coldest hearts towards Christ who are, are those who are around the gospel.
The church have a taste of it, but it only inoculates them to the real disease. We see the contrast. A woman that’s got the true infection, Mary Mary had the real disease. She also knew Jesus. Apparently when Jesus came to Jerusalem, he stayed with her and her brother and her sister on in Bethany. On multiple occasions, we see her and we will see her.
Familiar with Jesus, and the more she knew him, the more she loved him, and the more she was devoted to him and the more she obeyed him and desired to live her life with him at the center of her very life. The second thing we find is their focus on Jesus. Judas focus was to use him. Judas never called Jesus Lord as most of the other disciples are identified at one time or another.
I don’t know that he never did, but I do know that the gospel writers intentionally don’t indicate that he did, that we see in Judas that he never IDE as identified as asking spiritual questions. The order of the disciples always seems to sort of indicate their closeness to Jesus. Peter and James and John, who are the, the three inner circle, not more valued, but given greater responsibility and intimacy with Jesus.
A teaching ministry to them that others didn’t have are always listed first, but then others come after them. But Judas is always last by the gospel records. Honestly, the only thing we know about Judas relates to money. He was the one who carried the money. He’s here irritated at the extravagant expenditures by Mary.
It says some of them were irritated. The other gospels us it. It was Judas that led the way. He was regularly stealing from the till. John 12 says that when they look back, they realize that the shortfall they sometimes had actually were because he was pocketing the purse. He sold Jesus outta money. It says, when Satan filled his heart, he went for the money.
He did not ever seem to be drawn to Jesus, just for Jesus. He was seeking what he could do for him and his visions in the realm of wealth or influence or comfort or power. To him, Jesus was a way to get to something. It was not to get to Jesus. Mary was the opposite. Mary worshiped him. Her focus was one of devotion.
This amazing act of worship that is recorded here was reflective of a pattern of personal worship that we see in her life. Just like to share a passage quickly, you’re familiar with this one in Luke 10 where it says that Jesus came and she had a sister called Mary who, who sat at the Lord’s feed and listen.
To his teaching, that’s her. But Martha was distracted with much serving and she went up to him and said, Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me. But the Lord answered her. Martha. Martha, you’re anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary.
Mary’s chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her. Mary had a heart of devotion. Christ was central to her. Kyle Alderman has a book in entitled, not a Fan, actually says, not a fan becoming a fully committed follower of Jesus Christ. He tells a story of a, uh, of a missionary who had, uh, was traveling alone for some reason.
He was in Las Vegas. It was the first time he’d ever been in the city. He got there in the evening, checked into his hotel, was sort of wound up, couldn’t sleep, and eventually, uh, just middle of the night or late at night. Anyway. He decided to take a walk down the strip. He’d never been in Las Vegas before.
He’s alone in the city. Nobody knows who he is. Nobody knows what he’s doing, where he is going. And he tells the story as Idleman re uh, um, records it. That as he took the walk down, he heard the loud energizing music and he felt the buzz of excitement and energy. He talks about how he went into one large lobby of a hotel, and they had there, uh, displayed the most luxurious exotic cars.
He went to another, and, and as he traveled, he sees the, the limos pull up, and he stood and watched them for a while as the most beautiful people with the most beautiful clothes, uh, uh, adorned with, with wealth got out and, and, and just all of this going on. He talks about going in a couple of hotels and, and, and seeing the waiters come and seeing food.
That was just unbelievable. And he watched as the people would walk away with their winnings from the gaming tables, of course, many others not. He saw signs of wealth and power and pleasure everywhere. And he said every direction, every direction. Held offerings of sensual opportunities, both in the shows and in individuals that were privately making themselves available to him.
The missionary went back to his room after a long excursion down the strip and it struck him again. I’m completely alone. No one knows where I am or what I’m doing or where I’m going. And he didn’t turn the lights on in his room, he just kept it in darkness. He went over to the window, which looked down on the strip, and he opened the curtain and he looked down at the lights and the glitz, and then he looked up at the brilliant lights in the night sky and he said this.
He said, God, I thank you that tonight. I haven’t seen anything. I want more than you. That was Mary. Is it you? Is it me? Is he really the passion of our heart? Is he really what we’d say? I, I put everything on the altar, Lord,
you are my greatest treasure. Third, there’s a faith in Jesus. How is that manifested? Well, Judas was centered on circumstances. Apparently, Judas really did buy in that Jesus was who he said he was. He signed in. He got involved. He followed, he did the missions, he did the stuff. But somewhere along the way, there’s disenchantment that’s set in, in the worst case scenario.
He found out that Jesus was just not a meal ticket to power and wealth in the best case scenario. What he does here is that he was frustrated that Jesus was not going about the acquisition of the throne in the right way. So Judas wanted to sort of push it along and make Jesus declare himself. Either way, he was a man that was determined to have it his way, his timetable, and he was frustrated at the pace of Christ.
He was frustrated at the choices of Christ. He was frustrated at the will of Christ,
and his faith in Jesus was dependent on what Jesus would do as long as it fit what he felt was needed. Mary, on the other hand, was centered not on circumstances. , but on Jesus’ character, she accepted the timetable and purposes of Jesus. She had been doing that for a while. She showed that in John chapter 11, when Jesus came and her brother died, and they all knew that Jesus had gotten word, but for three days he didn’t come.
He even told the disciples, were not going yet. They delayed. And her brother was in the grave and he was dead. And she makes this statement to him in John 11. She said, Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. When Jesus saw her weeping and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled.
I don’t think Mary was rebuking him. I think she was saying this, Lord, I know you could have. I don’t know why you didn’t. I’m disappointed. I’m confused. God has a lot of room for that, right? He has a lot of room for our confusion and our disappointment. He doesn’t have any problem with the psalmist coming to him and saying, God, I don’t get it.
It’s, I’m confused. This is hard. But there is still the acquiescence that says, I don’t understand, but just like you one day did in the garden, I will raise my arm and say, not my will, but yours be done. Your time, your purpose, your design. But Lord, I do have questions.
Mary had learned that in God’s seeming delays, he is acting right on time with his program. That’s a step of faith for every child to God. To be willing to say that and believe that it is a trust not only in God’s working, it is a trust in God’s character that he really is two wise to make a mistake. He really is too good to be unkind.
It is also the belief that what God is allowing in your life is exactly what you would pray for if you knew everything that God knows. That is a statement that has been liberating in my own life journey
Mary bought, and it is the posture and voice of faith. Number four, fruit toward Jesus restrained association with Judas. He was always in the background. There’s no overt declarations of faith by Judas. No clear testimonials to Christ. Just polite association with him again. Does this mean he never said anything?
We don’t know. We do know that the gospels intentionally have none of those declared to us. His real God was money. It captivated his heart. He trusted in it. He served it. There’s no such thing as a committed follower of Jesus Christ who does not give faithfully to the Lord. I, I don’t know how to say that any differently.
I really don’t. I’m not saying it because I want you to support this or this, or I’m saying it because it’s part of the journey. It’s part of saying, Lord, everything I have is yours. All that I own is owned by you. I’m just a manager. But I also know that part of the management says that I give the first part to you.
It’s just how the way you set up this management program. Judas talked a really good game. He wore, he went on the mission trips. He apparently did everything the other guys did, but his heart was ruled by something else. And so here’s my forthright, simple question to all of us this morning. If people who do life with you as Christians new your giving habits, would you feel ashamed or embarrassed?
You say, well, that’s not my focus. Of course it isn’t. And, and, and, well, should I be looking at what people think of me to give money? No. However,
are you a phony for them? Are you allowing others to have a different impression? That’s my question. If people knew what you gave, would you be embarrassed? Well, the one who matters, knows, and he simply says, I don’t want you to have heart where you say I’m in. I’ll do the work. I’ll serve, I’ll be involved, but I’m going to be in charge.
It’s why he spoke so forthrightly in the last book of the Old Testament, when he says this in Malachi three, return to me and I’ll return to you, says the Lord of hosts. But you say, how shall we return? Will a man rob God, you are robbing me. You say, how have we robbed you in your ties and your contributions?
You’re robbing me. You say, well, I’m, you know, I, I, I, I don’t really tie, I mean, I, that’s an Old Testament thing, right? Fine, no problem. Okay. The question is, In the way we give. How does it reflect our heart relationship to Jesus Christ? Judas had a life that was not real. It was manifested by a heart that was ruled by, I’m gonna have it my way.
I’m gonna hold onto this and I’m going to really be served, be serving a different God in his case money than the living Christ. Then we look at Mary reckless allegiance. What she did, reclining in the room, brought out a flask of nard, which means spike nard. It’s, it’s this aromatic oil that was from the Himalayas of India and China.
It was really value. Extravagantly valuable a year’s salary, 300, an area that was a year’s salary, one year’s salary of value is what she is pouring out on Jesus. I mean, , I can only imagine Martha being there. You know, this is her practical sister. Wow, that was mom’s special spanner that she gave you. That was major part of your inheritance.
Mary, you’re always so impractical. And Jesus says, nobody will ever forget what she did. She recklessly was devoted to Christ. Actually, the word reckless is from the word to reckon it’s a financial term. Reckon means to consider the cost. She disregarded the cost. She disregarded other people’s opinion. I mean, it was a little awkward.
You can imagine. All of a sudden she’s curling and she’s, you know, wiping his feet with her hair. She’s got this stuff, and, and it’s like, this is, duh, it’s too much. It’s, it’s awkward, it’s uncomfortable. Somehow she didn’t care. All she saw was Christ.
When we come into the Silence of Passion week’s Wednesday, we’re reminded of how different our heart’s response to Jesus can be here in the simplicity of this day’s events, we are encouraged to give, to do the dtr, to define the relationship with the Lord Jesus. He’s looking for reckless allegiance. It just disregard the cost, the opinions of others.
The thought, I just want Christ and His will and purpose for my life.
The beautiful reality, and I wanna say this, is that the Lord supper, Jesus eyeballed Judas, he said to him, In a Willie paraphrase, if I will, what you’re gonna do, get out there and do it. I believe he was saying to him, Judaism giving you one last chance. I know what this about. I know what happened Wednesday.
I know where your heart is. I know what’s going on. There is still the look of grace. There is still the, the, the call, the invitation to turn to Christ. You may say, mark, you have no idea how much of my life has been lived and twisted and turned and what’s going on in the secret recesses of my life. You have no idea how far afield I have gone,
but he does. And this morning he had you here. He brought you to this place or brought you to watch this in online here in Collinswood, in order to say to you, this is still a moment of repenting and turning. Getting off the path of folly is not that hard in its initial path to give back on the path of wisdom.
It is a turning of mind and saying, Lord, I repent, I turn, I confess, I yield it. Then you begin on the path of wisdom and step by step, God begins to rebuild all those things, but all he has is for the humility to come and say, Lord, I want to have a heart that you own a life, that you lead a worship, that you’re the object of.
Lord, we come to you this morning.
It’s an amazing thing to us to know that right now you are looking into every one of our hearts. God, it’s my prayer that your spirit, even now would draw us to know you in the way Mary did, to be wholehearted in our allegiance, in our love, in Jesus’ name, amen. Before we