John 12:1-11, Matthew 26:6-13, Luke 7:37-39, Mark 14:3-9
Rupert and Elaine, a young couple, got married
and went happily on their honeymoon.
When they got back, Elaine immediately ‘phoned
her mother and her mother obviously asked, ‘How
was the honeymoon, dearest?’
‘Oh, Ma,’ she replied, ‘the honeymoon was
wonderful. So romantic…’
Then Elaine burst out crying. ‘But, Ma, as soon as
we returned home Rupert started using the most
ghastly language… saying things I’ve never heard
before! I mean, all these awful 4-letter words!
You’ve got to come get me and take me home….
Calm down, Elaine!,’ said her mother, ‘Tell me,
what could be so awful? What 4-letter words?’
Still sobbing, Elaine whispered, ‘Oh, Ma…words
like dust, wash, cook, and iron.’
This morning we are going to take a look at a text that is found in all 4 gospels.
Most messages about this text probably are probably titled
something like this – Mary Anoints Jesus.
Although Mary is a very important character in this story, as I was
studying the various gospel accounts I noticed that there are
several other people mentioned. So this morning we are going to
look at the way these 4 people respond to Jesus.
The thing that stood out to me most as I read through each of the
texts was this one simple truth – Jesus requires a response.
As we look at these verses this morning, I want to ask you to keep
this question in the back of your mind, how do I respond to
Let’s begin by reading John’s account – John 12:1-11
It’s interesting that Mary’s name is only found here in John’s
account of the event. Some scholars question whether all of these
events are the same, but I believe they are. There are too many
similar details for it to be different stories.
Mary responds to Jesus by anointing Him.
Mary Anoints Jesus
Ya’ll know that Mary, Martha and Lazarus were siblings.
Lazarus had become sick and died before Jesus arrived at their
house. But, Jesus raised him from the dead.
Now they are all at Simon the leper’s house having a meal –
reclining at table is how John describes it.
Let’s talk about Mary’s lavish act of pouring expensive perfume/
spices on Jesus. Judas states that the perfume could have been
sold for nearly a year’s wages. 300 denarii.
Talk about a generous gift. To put that in perspective. Imagine
you make $50k a year and a friend mails you a check for $41k!?
That’s the type of generosity that Mary showed Jesus here.
What was the heart behind this action?
Clearly she was thankful that Jesus had raised her brother from
the dead. But this was more than that.
She wiped His feet with her own hair.
What an act of humility and reverence towards Jesus.
In Luke’s account we see how respectful she was towards Him.
Luke 7:38 “and standing behind Him at His feet, weeping, she
began to wet His feet with her tears, and kept wiping them
with the hair of her head, and kissing His feet anointing them
with the perfume.”
She was weeping in His presence
She was wiping His feet with her tears while she anointed them
with the perfume.
She was kissing His feet.
What an amazing display of respect and reverence towards Jesus
Jesus points out that Mary’s act of generosity is more than just a
heart of thankfulness. He says that she was helping to prepare
for His burial that was impending.
Later this afternoon check out Matthew and Mark’s version of this
event in Matthew 26:6-13 and Mark 14:3-9
Both of them include a statement about Mary that is worth
Jesus says, “wherever the gospel is preached in the whole
world, what this woman has done will also be spoken of in
memory of her.”
Mary showed amazing reverence and generosity towards Jesus.
Not only that, she wept as she humbly wiped His feet with her hair
and her tears.
Next, we see Martha
Martha Serves Jesus
Martha is only mentioned in John’s account and only in one verse.
v.2 “So they made Him a supper there, and Martha was
serving; but Lazarus was one of those reclining at the table
This shouldn’t come as any surprise because in Luke 10:38-42
we read of Jesus visiting the home of Martha and Mary.
Martha was busy serving and making preparations. In fact she
got upset with her sister for sitting at Jesus’ feet while she was
getting everything ready.
The heart behind her service was good. She was trying to serve
the one who raised her brother from the dead.
Martha responds to Jesus with service. She is a doer of the
There are many people who see a lady like Martha and think
that she is trying to earn a place in heaven. That couldn’t be
further from the truth. Martha loved Jesus and was so
grateful for Him that she wanted to show it by doing kind
things for her. Cooking, preparing, etc.
Finally we have Lazarus
Lazarus Promotes Jesus
Turn with me to John 12:9-11
Lazarus was a walking/ living testimony for Jesus.
People crowded around to see this man who was raised from the
dead. Many came to see whether or not it was true, many left
having believed in Christ.
Imagine being Lazarus. You were dead for 4 days and then
suddenly you are alive again. What a story!
When something amazing happens we can’t keep it in. This is
the most amazing thing that has ever happened to him. Naturally
he is going to tell everyone about it. He promoted Jesus wherever
How do I respond to Jesus?
Do I Honor Him?
Do I Serve Him?
Do I Promote Him?
Right now we have a huge opportunity as Christians.
We can show the world that this Jesus that we believe in has
given us hope and comforts us in these uncertain times.
Now more than ever we have an opportunity to show those
around us how we honor Jesus with our lives and our words.
We serve Him by serving others. Many of us have more time on
our hands than we have had in the past. What are you doing with
that extra time? I know some of us have said in the past, “if only i
had a few extra hours in the day. Well, now we do. How are you
making a difference in someone’s life with this extra time?
Are you promoting Him like Lazarus?
You see, we aren’t that different from Lazarus.
The Bible tells us that we were dead in our sin, formerly alienated
and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds.
It also says, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in
that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
We were dead and God made us alive together with Christ.