John 12:1-19

John - How Do You Worship?

John 12:1-19
John 12:3
"Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume."
This year we’re working our way through John’s Gospel. And this Easter we’re jumping ahead to look at the how John tells the story of that first Easter week. This week we’re in John 12; next week we’ll explore John 20 and Jesus’ resurrection.

There are two stories in this week’s passage. v1-11, tell the story of Jesus being anointed by Mary at Bethany. v12-19, of Jesus’ triumphal entry in to Jerusalem. For this week’s devotion we’ll focus on the first of these two. As we start, it is worth noting that this story is part 2 of 2. It follows on from the events of John 11 where Lazarus is raised from the dead. It’s a tremendous event, and here in John 12 they’re throwing a party to celebrate!  

This chapter starts ominously… Six days before the Passover. And so, John starts a ticking clock counting down to Good Friday. There is a looming shadow of the cross over this story. We’re just a week before the Last Supper, before Jesus’ trial and execution. There might be this countdown to Easter, but our story starts with a dinner party!
 
It’s held in Jesus’ honour, and Lazarus is there. Which is amazing! At the start of John 11 Lazarus is sick and dies, at the start of John 12 he is a guest at a dinner party. Picture the food and joyous conversation, I’m sure there would have been music and dancing, it’s a celebration!

And then, in walks Mary in v3.

She pours this expensive nard perfume over Jesus and washes his feet with her hair. Mary is a role model for us in how she worships Jesus. So, what do we learn from her here? Let’s recognise Mary’s humility. She uses is hair to wash Jesus’ feet. There is something tender and beautiful happening here. Let’s recognise Mary’s extravagance. A year’s wages was spent on this moment of worship. That’s thousands of pounds in today’s money.

Do you worship God like this?

We’re told that the smell of this perfume fills the whole house. What a wonderful image of what worship is. Like a sweet-smelling fragrance that’s pleasing to all who encounter it. Jesus commends Mary for her worship as he received it.

But it’s also worth noting that not all of the reactions to Mary’s worship are positive. Have a look at how Judas reacts in v4-6. He rebukes Mary for what he sees as a waste of money. Isn’t it easy for us to get distracted in worship and focus on others and the things around us rather than on Jesus?

Let’s take time today to consider our own worship of God.

Apply

  1. Is your worship focused on Jesus, or are you tempted to judge others like Judas does?

  2. Think about Mary’s example to us. What do you want to apply from her example in your worship?

  3. How can you learn from Judas’ negative example? What do you need to be watchful of in your own heart when you are worshipping God with others?

Prayer

Father,

Speak to us today and highlight to us how we can learn from both Mary’s and Judas’ example. We want to worship you in spirit and in truth. We want to worship you with our words, time and recourses. You are worthy of all the praises we could bring. Help us to worship you with all that we have.

In Jesus’ name.

Amen.
This Everyday Devotions was written by Andy Tuck, who is the Assistant Venue Leader in our Wimbledon Venue.

Andy unpacks these themes in more detail in his sermon message this week on our website, YouTube Channel and at our Online Church Services.

This Everyday Devotions has also inspired a devotional video that you can watch on our YouTube Channel.

Follow our Everyday Devotions Playlist for some songs to help you worship God in Spirit and truth this week.