Have you ever been in a church setting that made you uncomfortable? I sure have. I’ve been in attendance when people were running through the aisles and also places where the sterility of the environment was stifling. If you’ve experienced anything like that, have you ever found yourself judging the people or system in which the experience took place?
This Sunday we’ll be examining John 12:1-11.
The scene that John describes is one that would have been awkward and uncomfortable in our culture to be sure, but in actuality it would have been weird in Jesus’ day too. Back in Luke 10, Mary upset her sister Martha by defying ancient protocol when she sat out with the men to learn as a disciple while her sister conformed to the domestic expectations of the day. Here again, Mary behaves in a way that for some people viewing it, might have cast her in an unsavory light. Letting down her hair to wipe Jesus’ feet, pouring out an entire box of oil when just a dab would have done…these were actions that were out of sync with the expected norm, and it created a reaction.
How do you think you would have reacted to Mary’s behavior? Who reacted negatively to this action? What seems to be the most important issue for him? What seems to be important to Mary?
All of the different characters and all of their responses. Who do we relate to the most in this section? The Chief Priests react with their one-note response…they want to kill someone. Let’s hope you don’t relate to that. Mary sacrificed a very expensive box of oil to pour out on Jesus. She also sacrificed her dignity and reputation. All because she wanted to demonstrate to Jesus her love for him. How much of Mary do you see in your approach to worship? How much of Judas?
This should prove to be a challenging study this week! Hope to see you there!
2 thoughts on “The Right Way to Worship”
Jesus was fully human and fully God. That mystery from the letter of Ephesians that is similar to the mystery of our individual oneness with God, husband and wife oneness, Jesus with the church. As a human, we can see God preparing Jesus for his own death. Jesus knew before the passover what his destiny was. He was not moved for his friend Lazarus’s death for 4 days but was moved at his tomb. I bet he saw a picture of the suffering women and few faithfuls at his death. Thank God for the women. We would never have known Jesus had risen if it was left up to the men. Here again, Mary is ministering to the human Jesus. He accepts it and tells Judus…”The poor will always be with you”. Mary has “got it” now …because of Lazarus, she now sees what is going to happen to Jesus. Maybe this whole series of Lazarus events was some of the preparation for both Jesus and the women. A preparation time for the most important events to ever occur in our universe.
Some people may have viewed Mary”s display of worship as excessive or wasteful of resources but it reveals the true passion of her heart in this most extravagant act!!!For Mary nothing less than excess would do. Her love could not be adequately expressed by moderation, balance or restraint on any level. She went all out, risking reputation, sacrificing possibly her most costly resource and displacing any since of dignity…here she demonstrates possibly the most beautiful picture of worship we have in the whole cannon of scripture!