By Worshipping Jesus Fully

Dustin Folden June 13, 2021 John 12:1-26
Outline

3 ways we are called to worship Jesus

I. Worship Him Above Any Earthly Gain (v1-11)

A. See Jesus for who He is

John 12:3 - Mary then took a pound of very costly perfume of pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped His feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.

B. Respond to Him regardless of the cost

C. The anointing foreshadows Christ’s death

John 12:7-8 - Therefore Jesus said, “Let her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of My burial. For you always have the poor with you, but you do not always have Me.”

D. Beware of fake piety that is not Christ-centered

II. Worship Him Above Your Worldview (v12-19)

A. The values of the world

John 12:13-15 - …took the branches of the palm trees and went out to meet Him, and began to shout, “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel.”

B. The servant King riding on a donkey

John 12:14 - Jesus, finding a young donkey, sat on it; as it is written, “Fear not, daughter of Zion; behold, your King is coming, seated on a donkey’s colt.”

C. The testimony of the disciples

John 18:36 - Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.”

John 12:17-18 - So the people, who were with Him when He called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead, continued to testify about Him. For this reason also the people went and met Him, because they heard that He had performed this sign.

III. Worship Him Above Your Very Life (v20-26)

A. The fruit of the Messiah

John 12:23-24 - And Jesus answered them, saying, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.”

B. The discipleship lesson of the grain

John 12:25-26 - He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal. If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him.

1 Peter 2:21 - For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps…

Ephesians 5:2 - …and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.

As we continue our series, Enjoying Life in His name I hope you have been encouraged as you think about who Jesus is, and that your faith in Him has increased and that you have a concern for those around you, that they too might believe and enjoy life in His name.

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Now we just recently read about Lazarus , and in that section we see that Jesus has an answer for death….at this point in the Book of John Jesus has concluded his public ministry and he recently resurrected Lazarus from death…he purposely waited to go to Lazarus until after he died so that the Glory of God would be displayed again demonstrating that he is the Messiah, the son of Man, God in the flesh, the one who has power over life and death.

So this is a sort of culmination of all the signs and miracles Jesus was doing, confirming who he was…but this last one, raising someone from the dead had a huge impact…so much that the Chief priests and the Pharisees in 11:47 convened a counsel because of all the signs Jesus had been doing and how many were believing in Him and they say,

John 11:48 - 48“If we let Him go on like this, all men will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.”

The High Priest Caiaphas says, in essence, well it is better for one man to die for the nation than the whole nation perish….and it is interesting as He speaks better than he knows,….that Jesus is going to die to provide salvation…but the Jewish leaders are planning now to Kill Jesus as they think their action will save them from Rome…but in fact Jesus is fulfilling the plan of the father and His action will save his people from a far greater enemy…death itself.

But for that to Happen, Jesus must be glorified…and note in our passage today we read that Jesus hour has come…In other words His death is imminent, and God’s glory will be on display through the death, burial and resurrection of the Messiah…and of course the proper response to this is worship…

As we look back on this event…the proper response is worship…the value Jesus above every other things in our lives, and in fact above our very lives….and that is what we will be looking at today when we consider …

Enjoying Life in His name by worshipping Jesus fully

*Read John 12:1-26

So with our time this morning lets look at…

3 ways we are called to worship Jesus

Now the Jewish leaders are not simply responding in anger to each individual instance of Jesus doing miracles o the sabbath, they are now planning strategically to seek to kill Jesus…and Jesus has withdrawn to the country, near Ephraim…and the Passover is near and he travels again to Bethany to see Mary, Martha, and Nazareth.

Now the setting is Martha is serving as is how she is often shown in the bible, Lazarus is reclining at the table with Jesus among others…and then Mary comes and shows the value, the priority she places on Jesus by pouring out very costly perfume.

In light of this we are called to…

Worship Him above any earthly gain (v1-11)

To value Jesus like this one must…believe and …

See Jesus for who He is

What Mary does indicates that she believes Jesus...who he says he is and what he says he is going to do….we see in the text that …

John 12:3 - 3Mary then took a pound of very costly perfume of pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped His feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.

  1. Notice how She anointed the feet of Jesus…
  2. In other gospel accounts of this it is emphasized how Jesus head is anointed with perfume.
  3. But the point is that Mary saw Jesus for Who he was…The Anointed one, the Messiah…the one who had come to set the people free.
  4. But anointing of the head is pretty common…anointing of the feet is less common…
  5. In the Gospel of John, Mary anointing Jesus feet is emphasized…We see Mary in a humble position, bowed down at the feet of Jesus…grasping His feet and pouring perfume on his feet and wiping his feet with her hair.
    1. Later when Jesus is resurrected…in the book of Matthew we see the people clinging to his feet and worshipping him.
  6. The feet are also significant as In the next chapter Jesus is going to teach the discipled to wash the feet of each other, humbling themselves and serving each other…but Mary sees Jesus rightly as the one who is to be served above all else…the anointed one, the one to follow and organize your life around, the one to bow down at the feet of and worship.
    1. The question for you this morning is…Do you see Jesus as the one you want to intimately serve and worship because you believe who He is.
  7. Now to is not just about seeing Jesus…it is also about responding to who Jesus is…and that usually costs something, to actually follow Jesus and actually worship him and value him above other things.
  8. And so we are to…

Respond to Him regardless of the cost

  1. Mary anoints Jesus with Pure Nard – This indicates the value that Mary views and responds to Jesus with.
  1. Nard is a perfume from a plant grown in India…so the fact that it comes from a ways away, and that it is a sweet smelling fragrance indicates how costly it was.
  1. This was most likely a roman pound, so about 11-12 ounces….We know from the text it is estimated to be valued at 300 denarii…or about a years wages…imaging pouring out your years salary on the ground…many would say it was a waste.
  1. But Mary responds to who Jesus is…and there is a cost.
  1. She uses her hair to wipe his feet…letting her hair be shown in public was something that was not done in a Jewish culture…and yet she is using her hair to wipe his feet…
  1. This is an act of intimate devotion and love of Jesus.
  1. The social cost, the perfume cost was pennies compared to the great value of the one she followed and bowed down at the feet of, and used her very hair to wipe his feet.
  1. She was serving Jesus with intimate devotion and the sweet aroma of this act filled the house.

This act did more than just indicate the worth of Jesus in Mary’s eyes…it pointed to something that was to come….you see…

The anointing foreshadows Christs death

  1. Jesus had told his disciples over and over that he was to be killed, that he was going to lay down his life for His sheep.

John 12:7–8 - 7Therefore Jesus said, “Let her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of My burial. 8“For you always have the poor with you, but you do not always have Me.”

  1. Still the disciples did not understand a great many things, but Mary’s act is preparing His body for death, for burial.
  1. A king will be anointed to rule…a King is normally inaugurated and anointed to reign in all His glory with great pomp and circumstance…but here we See Jesus anointed to die….and we will see God’s glory on display like no king in all of human history.
  1. Because Jesus is not like other kings…and we see already the Messiah is being addressed in unexpected ways….and some object to this…and so we must…

Beware of fake piety that is not Christ centered

  1. Judas speaks up and is the one who reveals the cost of the perfume of a years wages.
  2. Judas suggests this is a waste and it should have been sold and proceeds given to the poor.
    1. That is how Judas views Jesus in contrast to how Mary views Jesus.
  3. The author adds the info that Judas really is not concerned about the poor, but lining his own pockets under the guide of a concern for the poor.
  4. So for some people, their possessions are of most important to them, or their hobbies, or their comfort…and for others looking good in others eyes.
    1. For some they want it all…they want to live for themselves in private but look good like they care for others in public.
  1. Judas personifies this.
  1. Mary personifies what it looks like to worship the Lord fully
  1. Jesus is not saying here to ignore the poor…but He is saying one must recognize who he is to understand true value, and this allows one to view everything else properly.
  2. In our day and age, there is a price to pay to identify yourself as a follower of Christ…but a right view of Christ recognizes that it is worth it…
  3. There is not enough expensive perfume in the world to equal the surpassing greatness of our Lord.

Just like it seems like a waste to pour out expensive perfume on the feet…so a king who has come to die does not match expectations…and so you are called to…

Worship Him above your worldview (v12-19)

A Biblical Worldview is great, but Christ must be the Lord of your worldview…He must be above your worldview, governing it…

When we don’t focus properly on Christ, it is very easy to look at how you want things to be in the world, things that are unjust and wrong, and it is very easy to them take that and form a worldview with your own view of righteousness and justice and mercy at the center, that is based on you and how you think things should be in the world.

It is so easy to be subservient to…

The values of the world

  1. It often seems that what the crowd thinks is good and right must be good and right…but we so often see when it comes to crowds, the values of mankind are exalted where the value of God are ignored.
  2. I think we see this in the triumphal entry esp. with the people waving Palm Branches.

John 12:13–15 - 13took the branches of the palm trees and went out to meet Him, and began to shout, “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel.”

  1. Palm branches are usually used in the feast of tabernacles, but not only in Israel but in Greek and roman culture Palm branches are a symbol of victory.
  1. WE know that in the first and second centuries Jewish leadership would stamp images onto coins to express their independence from Rome with their own currency, and one of the biggest symbols used on these coins were Palm Fronds.
  1. The Greek goddess Nike, the goddess of victory is often depicted with wings and palm fronds.
  1. We also read in Rev 7:9-12 a great multitude around the throne of the Lamb rejoicing with Palm branches in their hands…
  1. IN fact, Lazarus being Alive was bringing so much attention to Jesus…that the leaders figured they best also Kill Lazarus to really stop this from spreading further.
  1. They also call out Hosanna – This is a transliteration of the Hebrew word hosanna’, which translates “Give salvation now”…The challenge is the word salvation can cover a broad range of meaning….and the salvation they are asking for…freedom from Rome, is not the salvation that the Lord is bringing…He is bringing a better salvation, not just for Israel, and not just for that timeframe, but for all people, from all nations for all time that will put their trust in the D/B/R of Jesus.
  1. So Jesus did not come to fulfill the values of the world, as good as they may be or as good as they sound at times…he has a great goal…a greater enemy to defeat, namely sin and death.
  1. You see His death is his inauguration in a sense…instead of a king returning having killed others, he is going to die for others….this sets up the triumphant entry in a whole different way than a normal king in a triumphant entry.

We see that imagery as Jesus is…

The servant King riding on a donkey

John 12:14 14Jesus, finding a young donkey, sat on it; as it is written, 15“Fear not, daughter of Zion; behold, your King is coming, seated on a donkey’s colt.”

  1. The people view messiah as a conquering king, rather than a servant king bringing peace by coming in on a beast of burden, where he is going to serve the people and bear the burden of their sin rather than simply defeat Rome.
  2. Can you imagine if Jesus rode a horse into town….there were enough people, they could have started the revolt right then and there…Hoses are bests of war as we see throughout the bible…
    1. Isaiah 31:1 - 1Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help And rely on horses, And trust in chariots because they are many And in horsemen because they are very strong, But they do not look to the Holy One of Israel, nor seek the Lord!

But the Lord is stronger than horses, and the Lord is seeking a greater battle…one that doesn’t call for a great military an political leader, but a suffering servant….

    1. Zechariah 9:9 - 9Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; He is just and endowed with salvation, Humble, and mounted on a donkey, Even on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
    2. That is why Jesus selected a donkey, first it was foretold that the King of Israel would enter on a donkey….but also that humility was going to be his greatest weapon…humility of the deepest kind…humility of laying down his life for His sheep.
    3. However,..when Jesus returns..he will be riding on…a horse to come and defeat sin, and death, and all that oppose him…but in the meantime his servants, need to have eyes of faith and trust God’s plan and timing of salvation…and focus on testify about who Jesus is and what He has done.
  1. In the test we see…

The testimony of the disciples

  1. The disciples really only understand the significance of the triumphant entry after the cross….that the people were looking for a leader to take away the crosses of Rome, not carry a cross of Rome.
  2. In fact later Jesus says to Pilate…

John 18:36 - 36Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.”

    1. We must have a worldview that looks through the value of the cross…and see what is truly important, God’s great plan of redemption for people of all nations, not just my personal circumstances that I want the Lord to adjust to my liking.
  1. It is really hard to not view God as my servant who is here to rescue me in the timing and way I want.
  1. It is like drowning in the ocean and asking God to make sure no sharks come…
  1. It is really hard if I am offended, disrespected, not treated right to think it is time to fight and God should come and fight this injustice in my time and in the way I want…and when I won’t wait for His timing, I take matters into my own hands, and I lose focus on what Jesus wants me to testify to…
  1. The disciples are going to have to focus on the Message, the good news of who Jesus is and what he came to do, as it is very easy to focus on what I want Jesus to do, instead of appreciate what He actually has done.
    1. The people who were at Bethany continued to testify about Jesus

John 12:17–18 - 17So the people, who were with Him when He called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead, continued to testify about Him. 18For this reason also the people went and met Him, because they heard that He had performed this sign.

This is what was really getting the people’s attention…someone who can raise the dead, which interestingly enough calls us to think about what is most important in life…if we have eyes to see Christ with faith…we see that you are called to…

Worship Him above your very life (v20-26)

We want to worship Jesus as he is above our possessions, even our view of how we view the world, but we also want to worship him above our very lives…notice the contrast of this with the Pharisees…

The Pharisees are exasperated…they say, this isn’t working….the Whole world is following Him….as religious leaders…they are in positions of power, and they are worried about Rome crushing them, and also taking away their position….and they are exasperated by all the people who are following Jesus, as that is a direct affront to their leadership. Their life is not going how they want it to go…

They think they have a solution…to kill Jesus …but that is actually Jesus solution to bear fruit to the glory of God.

So as we seek to worship Jesus with the devotion of Mary no matter the cost, and the clarity of the disciples looking back from the cross…well as we worship the Lord, we also should consider….

The fruit of the Messiah

John 12:23–24 - 23And Jesus answered them, saying, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.

Throughout the Gospel of John, Jesus is constantly saying my hour has not yet come…but now it has.

He is going to be glorified…in other words God’s plan for the Messiah is to be enacted, and the power of God over life and death, and to defeat sin will be on display.

Jesus speaks of what is about to happen in agricultural terms the people will understand. A single grain of wheat buried, produced a great yield…but that single grain of wheat must be sacrificed.

The Chief Priests and Pharisees think they are going to kill one man to save a nation, and they speak much better than they know.

So as we think about Who Jesus is…we must also think about what He did….what his D/B/R accomplished…the fruit that it bore.

If you have trusted in Jesus as your Lord and savior…you are part of this fruit he is talking about.

The Greeks are also part of that fruit…the test says they were there to worship at the feast..and they were wanting to See Jesus…his response is fascinating..but what he is about to do…is what is going to bring these sheep in from the gentile sheep fold to be a part of His flock.

One of the reasons you should worship Jesus with your whole life is that He gave His life for you, that you might have eternal life….so you have gotten something more valuable….

More valuable than expensive perfume…a servant king fighting a better battle…and you are getting eternal life…which is better than your earthly life.

A question we are often asking, maybe not out loud, but as we live…we are living in a way that asks the question is Jesus worth it…is he worthy to be worshipped with my whole life…the answer of course is Yes…but one of the reason is the fruit he produced by dying...what he is about to accomplish, in what seems like failure...is actually the greatest victory…and hence he is worthy of worship because of that..

Jesus concludes this section with a very important lessons…it is ….

The discipleship lesson of the grain

John 12:25–26 - 25“He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal. 26“If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him.

When Jesus says hates his life…this is a Hebrew idiom that means love less…it emphasizes priority, not hatred. We are to prioritize worshipping Jesus above everything, even our own lives

If you do not view your life as most important, and you instead worship Jesus, and trust Jesus…well the good news is he offers the free gift of eternal life…but someone who lives for their own life, they trust themselves, and they will not turn to him in faith…well they lose their life, because they trust themselves.

But it is important that Just as Mary didn’t say…Jesus, you are worth more than this perfume, I could just anoint you with it, but I am not going to…so those who trust Jesus are to not just talk about it, but actually serve and follow Him, and not worship their life above Him.

We are to follow Christ…and that means a pretty radical prioritizing of our own lives…where we don’t prioritize ourselves.

The bible affirms that following Christ is about dying to self…we can’t die like Christ for the sins of others…but we can humble ourselves like Christ and seek to be pleasing to God, and not live to please ourselves.

1 Peter 2:21 - 21For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps,

Ephesians 5:2 - 2and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.

When we do this, we too can bear much fruit, and in fact being a servant who does not exalt themselves but worships and exalts the Lord…results in the Lord honoring and exalting that person…just as the Lord has exalting the person and work of Jesus, so he exalts those who follow Him.

So This whole section defies expectations and thus reveals the glory of God how He is unlike any other.

The Messiah will reveal the glory of God, not the glory of man.….Perfume poured on feet is not a waste…a King on a donkey can conquer the greater enemy, to die actually produces more, to not love your life is what is best for your life.

I pray that the more you r read the Gospel of John, the more you believe that Jesus is worth everything…that he is more valuable than all your possessions…more valuable than how you want your life to go, and more valuable than your life itself.

If time Read Rev 7:9-12….We look forward to that day as we worship him each day…

And I pray in this process you will have great joy…enjoying life not in your name, but in His.

Authors

Dustin Folden

Roles

Pastor of Discipleship & Extension Ministries - Faith Church

Bio

B.S - Electrical Engineering, Purdue University
M.Div. - Faith Bible Seminary

Pastor Dustin Folden and his wife Trisha joined the Pastoral Staff in 2010. They have two children, Mackenna & Sawyer. They enjoy playing board games, cooking together and going on hiking adventures. Pastor Folden shepherds the 9:30 worship service, oversees the Adult Bible Fellowship ministry, the Wednesday evening Faith Community Institute as well as serves in Faith Biblical Counseling Ministries.

Read Dustin Folden's Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Folden to Faith Church.