Sunday Sermon: ‘Broken and Spilled Out’

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John 12
1  Then Jesus six days before the passover came to Bethany, where Lazarus was which had been dead, whom he raised from the dead.
2  There they made him a supper; and Martha served: but Lazarus was one of them that sat at the table with him.
3  Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment.
4  Then saith one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, which should betray him,
5  Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor?
6  This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein.
7  Then said Jesus, Let her alone: against the day of my burying hath she kept this.
8  For the poor always ye have with you; but me ye have not always.

INTRODUCTION:

The Passover was drawing near and soon Jesus would be betrayed, arrested, tried and crucified. The Lord knew that it would be a brutal experience and therefore He wanted to spend some quiet time alone with His dearest friends. Among His dearest friends in Bethany were Mary, Martha and Lazarus. Just a short time prior to this, Jesus had raised Lazarus from the dead and therefore you can imagine the excitement of these three as Jesus came for a visit. And so in vs. 2 we read that they wanted to do something to honor and thank Him. The word used here for supper refers to the main meal of the day and therefore it was a feast held in Jesus’ honor. But Matthew’s Gospel gives us a slightly different slant.

The great feast wasn’t held in the home of Mary, Martha and Lazarus as you might imagine. It was held in the home of a man by the name of Simon, who had been a leper. No doubt Jesus had healed Simon and therefore he too wanted to show his gratitude. But knowing what you know about Martha, can you imagine her being content to allow a meal to be fed without her supervision? There’s no way that Martha could leave the details of such an important event to the care of someone who have lived most of his life in a leper colony. And so it doesn’t surprise us to find Martha in the kitchen. And it shouldn’t surprise us to find Lazarus once again being the one who gets to enjoy the blessings. He’s sitting at the table with Jesus, eating the meal. And so that leaves Mary. Where do you expect to find Mary?

1. The Extravagance of Broken and Spilled Out Love

John 12
3  Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment.

We find Mary where we always find Mary – at the feet of Jesus. When we first learn of Mary, we find her waiting at the feet of Jesus. Later we find Mary weeping at Jesus’ feet. Now we find Mary worshipping at the feet of Jesus.

We’re told that Mary brought in an alabaster box of very costly perfume; spikenard, which was a special and expensive perfume imported from India. How extravagant was Mary’s gift?

4  Then saith one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, which should betray him,
5  Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor?

Judas estimated the value of the perfume to have been around 300 pence which means that it was worth approximately a year’s salary for the average person. At least $10,000 to $15,000 by our standards. Judas was the best one to set the value because John tells us something important about Judas –

6 This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein.

Judas pretended that he wanted it given to the poor, but in reality he wanted it to go into the money bag so that he could skim off of the top.

Where did Mary get the money to buy such an extravagant gift? We find Mary and her two siblings mentioned several times in scripture, but we never find any mention of their parents. Probably they both were dead. If that is the case, then most likely Mary bought the extravagant gift with her part of the family inheritance. Let’s take it a step further. Perhaps this was Mary’s dowry. This was all that she had. This was her life savings. This was her future and she poured it all out upon Jesus. Can you imagine going to the bank and withdrawing all that you have and in one lump sum, give it as an act of worship? That’s what Mary did and therefore that’s why I say – “The Extravagance of Broken and Spilled Out Love.”

2. The Example of Broken and Spilled Out Love

Can you try to imagine what must have been going through Mary’s mind during the meal? She must have had a hard time concentrating and containing her emotions, knowing that her gift was sitting there on a shelf. When would she present it? How would she present it? Do you just walk up to Jesus and say, “Master, I have something that’s very important to me, it’s my whole life savings, it’s all there is about me and I would like to give You?”

Finally she could contain herself no longer and she rushed to where the alabaster box was hidden, grabbed it and ran to Jesus. Without saying a word, she broke the seal and the fragrance began to fill the room. I’ve seen many young brides giggle with nervousness during their wedding. I wonder if young Mary nervously giggled. I’m sure that as all eyes fell on her, she blushed. And then, as she began to realize who it actually was that she was anointing, she must have begun to weep.

As the ointment began to drip off of the ends of His hair and down His beard, some of it made its way to His feet and this pure worshipper couldn’t help but to fall with it. She dropped to her knees and began to lovingly touch His feet and to anoint them with the residue of the perfume. No doubt, much of it was mingled with her tears and without thinking, she paused and released her hair, allowing it to fall around her shoulders so that she could use it to wipe His’ feet. This was worship at its highest moment.

Matthew 26
13  Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, there shall also this, that this woman hath done, be told for a memorial of her.

Mary has set an example for each of us to follow. This young, simple girl, perhaps no more than a teenager, teaches us what it means to worship the Lord. Her extravagance is an example for every believer and it is an example that many have followed. Eleven of the twelve disciples watching that day, eventually had their lives broken and spilled out for the cause of Christ. Church history is full of others who have done so as well. May that be said of us today.

3. The Explanation of Broken and Spilled Out Love

7  Then said Jesus, Let her alone: against the day of my burying hath she kept this.

Some have said that Mary didn’t fully realize what she was doing when she anointed Jesus. She was just worshipping Him and He turned it into something deeper. Personally I believe that Mary had learned a lot while sitting at Jesus’ feet. She had learned that the Explanation of Broken and Spilled Out Love is a Savior who would give His life for our sins.

1 Corinthians 11
23  For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread:
24  And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.
25  After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.

Christ’s body was broken as it was whipped, beaten and nailed to the cross. The vessel that had contained the glory of God for 33 1/2 years was brutally broken and spilled out the precious blood of Christ. Several years ago Gloria Gaither wrote a song and Steve Green recorded it. Allow me to share the words with you.

Broken and Spilled Out, Gloria Gaither

One day a plain village woman – Driven by love for her Lord
Recklessly poured out a valuable essence – Disregarding the scorn
And once it was broken and spilled out – A fragrance filled all the room
Like a prisoner released from his shackles –
Like a spirit set free from the tomb

Broken and spilled out – Just for love of you, Jesus
My most precious treasure – Lavished on thee
Broken and spilled out – And poured at your feet
In sweet abandon – Let me be spilled out – And used up for Thee

Lord you were God’s precious treasure – His loved and his own perfect Son
Sent here to show me the love of the Father – Just for love it was done
And though you were perfect and holy – You gave up yourself willingly
You spared no expense for my pardon – You were used up and wasted for me

Broken and spilled out – Just for love of me Jesus
God’s most precious treasure – Lavished on me
Broken and spilled out – And poured at my feet
In sweet abandon – Lord you were spilled out – And used up for me

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