John 12:1-8 “Extravagance: how to give not what to give” JUMC 10/17/2010

1 Six days before the Passover Jesus came to Bethany, the home of Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. 2 There they gave a dinner for him. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those at the table with him. 3 Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus’ feet, and wiped them with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. 4 But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (the one who was about to betray him), said, 5 “Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and the money given to the poor?” 6 (He said this not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief; he kept the common purse and used to steal what was put into it.) 7 Jesus said, “Leave her alone. She bought it so that she might keep it for the day of my burial. 8 You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.” (John 12.1-8 NRSV)

Among the Hebrews, the act of anointing with the Holy anointing oil was significant in consecration to a holy or sacred use: hence the anointing of the high priest (Exodus 29:29; Leviticus 4:3) and of the sacred vessels (Exodus 30:26). Later, Kings and Prophets were given the right to partake in this sacrament as well.

Medicinal: Olive oil was used also for medicinal purposes. It was applied to the sick, and also to wounds (Psalms 109:18; Isaiah 1:6).

Preparation: “Baseball Glove: Neatsfoot oil” : The expression, “anoint the shield” (Isaiah 21:5), refers to the custom of rubbing oil on the leather of the shield so as to make it supple and fit for use in war.

Hospitality: It was the custom of the Jews in like manner to anoint themselves with oil, as a means of refreshing or invigorating their bodies (Deuteronomy 28:40; Ruth 3:3; 2 Samuel 14:2; Psalms 104:15, etc.). The Hellenes had similar customs. This custom is continued among the Arabs to the present day.

Authority: Priests and kings: The High Priest and the king are each sometimes called “the anointed” (Leviticus 4:3-5, 4:16; 6:20; Psalm 132:10). Prophets were also anointed with the Holy anointing oil.(1 Kings 19:16; 1 Chronicles 16:22; Psalm 105:15). Anointing a king was equivalent to crowning him; in fact, in Israel a crown was not required (1 Samuel 16:13; 2 Samuel 2:4, etc.). Thus David was anointed as king by the prophet Samuel: hen Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward. So Samuel rose up, and went to Ramah.—1 Samuel 16:13.

Christian Gospels
The Messiah: distinct from the Jewish view, Christians[who?] believe the “anointed” one referred to in various biblical verses such as Psalm 2:2 and Daniel 9:25-26 is the promised Messiah. According to the Jewish Bible, whenever someone was anointed with the specific Holy anointing oil formula and ceremony described in Exodus 30:22-25, the Spirit of God came upon this person, to qualify him or her for a God-given task. Believing that Jesus was never anointed in this way,[citation needed] some Christians take a spiritual reading of anointed, and believe that Jesus was “anointed” with the Holy Spirit directly According to the New Testament, Jesus of Nazareth is this Anointed One, the Messiah (John 1:41; Acts 9:22; 17:2-3; 18:5, 18:28). The Gospels also state that he was physically “anointed” by an anonymous woman who is interpreted by some as Mary Magdalene; however, this anointing was not in the fashion described in Exodus, but rather an anointing done out of affection, which Jesus stated was to prepare him for his burial.

Hospitality: Anointing was also an act of hospitality, as Jesus was anointed in the house of the Pharisee (Luke 7:38-46).
Medicinal: The New Testament records that oil was applied to the sick, and also to wounds Mark 6:13; James 5:14).
Burial: The bodies of the dead were sometimes anointed (Mark 14:8; Luke 23:56).

Mary, anoints Jesus.. oil and frankincense, for king. Olive oil for healing and protection would have been fine.
But Nard…

* classification of Dipsacales (in Dipsacales (plant order): Valerianaceae) …is a perennial herb prized for its spicy, fragrant flowers; it is native in Europe and Western Asia. Its dried rhizome yields valerian, a natural sedative. Nardostachys grandiflora (spikenard) is a perennial herb of the Himalayas that produces an essential oil in its woody rhizomes.

It is from steam distillation of the woody root that the oil is collected.
Nard is most likely a yellows honey like viscosity
It was used to calm or tranquilizing effect
In its pure state it would burn the skin and linger for some time..

I learned through a difficult experience… placing a q-tip in nard and wiping it across the back of the bulletins sent two members to the emergency room when they touched the oil to their eyes.

It smells like a greenhouse filled with gardenias… It has a spicy hint like cardamom. It feels sticky like honey. It’s sent is so strong that it burns the eyes.

Why does Mary anoint Jesus? As an act of worship..
Anointing is generally a small amount of oil, usually olive or olive with frankincense, as a sign.

Poor Costly Nard ( Rev. D.M. Brantley )
Nard applied to his feet, dirty feet, Smelly, dusty feet.

Why waste the costly nard to clean dirty feet?

Why waste the expensive salve

On the crusty and corn infested feet

Of a wandering Galilean rabbi?

Of a better use, Judas imposes,

For the sake of the poor

That precious ointment stuff could be traded

To a proud lady, (Who has no need for body lotions),

So soft, clean and unexposed to the sun and wind

And Palestinian sands.

Pricely nard Is her fragrance of affluence and stature?

Why waste it on common, dirty feet?

Feet that know not the smell of feel

Of softness and gentle caress.

Ask not “Why?” says he;

It is a beautiful thing

That has been done for me,

An act that always will be told

As the anointing for my burial.

Go, Judas, he is ready to be sold.

Waste not the nard,

Waste not the man,

Thirty pieces of silver await

To help you feed the poor.

Poor Jesus’ feet.

Poor costly nard.

Poor traitor, Judas.

Poor poor.

Mary is worshiping Jesus in a way that was RADICAL hospitality.
Mary is pouring out her whole heart in way that showed her PASSIONATE worship
Mary is placing herself at Jesus’ feet with the INTENTIONAL place of spiritual connection
Mary is cross the traditions and expectation of others as a RISK TAKING service to Jesus as the Christ
Mary is acting EXTRAVAGANTLY with her generosity in giving her gift to Christ.

The fruit of Mary’s actions point to the effect Jesus had on her life.

Think of everyone else in the house:
Lazarus, raised from the dead… he had something to shout about, he is silent
Martha, who had been busy cleaning, decoration, preparing and planning… is not near Jesus
11 of the Disciples are silent… they had seen miracles, healing and teachings… they sit there..
Judas, speaks up: She is wasteful.. that $300 could have fed the 5000, she has no business sense.
Any others there: silent, absent, unknown..

Preparing for Christ is not waiting in fear or silence..
Preparing for Christ is GRASPING the moment and living it FULLY for Christ!

From the communion of her spirit and the Holy Spirit.. It was the only thing she could do.

Q: What in your spirit, in your heart, is compelled to do or say or be for Jesus Christ today?

Philippians 3: 13 Beloved, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Let those of us then who are mature be of the same mind; and if you think differently about anything, this too God will reveal to you.

What is the ONE thing that you can do, today,.. toward the goal of Jesus Christ?
What are you doing with what you have, this very day, for Christ…
If Jesus asked you for ten, and you looking in your wallet and found only a twenty… ask for change?
If Jesus asked you give you coat to someone who was cold, would you write him a check?
If Jesus was about to show us and start taking names.. where would you hide?
If Jesus showed you someone who was about to
..take Methamphetamine for the first time… would you knock down the door?
..take their own life, would you stand outside and wait?
..roll over and go back to bed on Easter Sunday morning, would you let them sleep through it?
..hungry and drive past?

Mary and her jar of Nard are a wake-up call for all who sit back following the rules, expectations and routine:
Jesus is with us, here and now.. LIVE LIKE IT! Or don’t complain about those who praise him.

Sit there and do nothing.
Christ will be with us always, Even to the end.
Count the cost.
Wait your turn.
Be polite.
Follow the rules.
Mind your business.
Keep quiet.

I APPEAL TO YOU, Do something EXTRAVAGANT for Christ, Today or step out of the way for those who will.

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