By Worshipping Jesus Fully

Stefan Nitzschke June 27, 2021 John 12:1-26

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.

  • Allow me to begin our time with a question for your consideration:
  • What do you want more than anything in the whole world?
  • Another way to phrase it may be: if God were to guarantee ONE THING for you, what would you want Him to give you?
  • Some may say security and relative comfort
  • Some may want a measure of control over their circumstances and surroundings
  • The clever ones out there may “wish for more wishes” as it were…
  • Some, like Solomon, may ask for wisdom/knowledge
  • There are a lot of parents out there who would humbly ask that the Lord guarantee the salvation of their children
  • The list goes on…
  • Because how you answer that question (what do you want more than anything) shows what you value above all else
  • And if your HONEST response is anything besides the proper response, you may find yourself falling into the various pitfalls we will see in our passage this morning
  • So please open up with me to John 12 – you will find that on pg _________ of the back section of the Bible if you are using one of the Bibles underneath the chairs
  • *context: Jesus has just raised Lazarus + plot to kill Jesus (prophesy)

*Read John 12:1-26

  • This morning, we are going to be Enjoying Life in His Name by Worshipping Jesus Fully
  • And we will see from our text 3 ways we are called to worship Jesus
  • The passage begins with a rather uncommon scene
  • The text says they were holding a dinner for Jesus, since He raised Lazarus from the dead
  • *joke
  • Another interesting thing to note – who was serving them?
  • Martha!
  • Luke 10 comes to mind, where Martha was serving and Mary was occupied by sitting at Jesus feet and listening to His teaching
  • And here we are again – poor Martha is looking around for a hand from her sister – Oh, here she is, maybe she’ll lend a hand…
  • Nope, she’s gonna pour a bunch of perfume on Jesus feet wipe it with her hair: I suppose there is one in every family, right?
  • This was sacrifice…
  • There is the obvious sacrifice of the very expensive ointment that she freely emptied onto Jesus’ feet
  • But what about the social sacrifice?
  • Mary got down, in front of her sister, who had a history of tattling on her
  • She got down in front of the disciples, some of which were obviously overtly critical of the action
  • She got down in front of the revered Messiah – not knowing how He would respond – and proceeded to carry out this beautiful act

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

  • I don’t think it is unfair to conclude that she wants Jesus more than anything – and no cost, whether it is financial, social, or otherwise it going to get in the way
  • But in order for her to get there (and for us to get there), we need to first…

A) See Jesus for who He is

  • Jesus had not failed Mary
  • Like Peter concluded, she knew He alone has the Words of eternal life – that’s why she was learning at His feet and trusting in His words
  • His plan is dependable – even when she didn’t see it at the time – much like the time leading up to Lazarus’ death
  • His power is undeniable, even able to resurrect the dead
  • His love is inexhaustible – His very presence in the world was evidence of that (John 3:16)
  • Do you see Jesus for who He is?
  • As you consider that which you would desire more than anything else, how does it compare to Jesus?
  • Even if you had security and control, Jesus alone is sovereign over all
  • How does any amount riches compare to the infinite value of the Almighty?
  • And what could we possibly give our affections towards that would satisfy anywhere near how Jesus satisfies?
  • If you must be a fool in the eyes of everyone around you to get Jesus – GET JESUS
  • Whatever you may desire in this world – Jesus is incomparably better
  • I hope you see Jesus for who He truly is – if not, the rest of the message will not make any sense to you

B) Respond to Him regardless of the cost

  • If Judas provides anything positive to this passage, he emphasizes the incredible sacrifice that Mary made here
  • It is believed that the cost of the perfume was upwards of 1 years’ salary by our equivalent today
  • Following Jesus – the One who is of infinite value – is costly: a point that Jesus never attempts to hide
  • In Luke 14, Jesus compels us to count the cost of being His disciple
  • In Mark 8, Jesus makes it clear that we will need to deny our very selves and take up a cross in order to follow after Him
  • In Matthew 13, Jesus equates the kingdom of God to treasure found in a field – a field that must first be purchased
  • And we must be willing to forsake all in order to gain Christ – regardless of the cost
  • But this act did more than show her devotion to Jesus…

C) The anointing foreshadows Christ’s death

  • Oh yeah – the gospel!
  • *gospel plug + anointed King
  • Instead, their value is placed elsewhere – as Judas makes abundantly clear
  • As we are seeking to worship Jesus above any other worldly gain, we must…

D) Beware fake piety that is not Christ centered

  • What did Judas want everyone in that room to think of him? (*explain)
  • What does John, the author, curiously expose about Judas?
  • What he REALLY wants – money
  • Mark expounds on Jesus’ reproof of the disciples a bit, closing with this:
  • Mark 14:8-9 – She has done what she could; she has anointed My body beforehand for the burial. Truly I say to you, wherever the gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be spoken of in memory of her.”
  • The next line?
  • Mark 14:10-11 – Then Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve, went off to the chief priests in order to betray Him to them. They were glad when they heard this, and promised to give him money. And he began seeking how to betray Him at an opportune time.
  • What did Judas want more than anything else? (MONEY)
  • When he was denied a great quantity (Mary poured it out), he went and found a way to get what he really wanted – and probably had an airtight internal justification for his actions
  • Do you find yourself like Judas – giving the appearance of piety – all the while seeking after that you REALLY want
  • Our actions – specifically when we choose to SIN – expose what we really want
  • And it’s the moments when we think no one knows – no one can see – no one can hear – THOSE are the moments that reveal the answer to our question
  • But like the author John exposed Judas’s true intent, there is someone who can see all and knows the true intent of your heart
  • When He is gracious enough to expose what it is that you are desiring above Him, use that as an opportunity to repent and run to Him! Don’t double down, like what Judas did
  • The closing passage in this section makes that abundantly clear
  • Judas thinks if he can just get his hands on a bit of cash, that will make him happy – so he runs into the arms of the enemy
  • But look at vs 10 as well (pause)
  • The chief priests want power and position, so what do they plan on doing?
  • Putting Lazarus to death
  • *joke
  • Your entire thought process is warped when you are dead set on your sin
  • Jesus, however, is able to clear everything up
  • That’s why He calls us to…

II. Worship Him above your worldview (v12-19)

  • Simple enough: a worldview is your perception or the lens through which you understand/interpret reality
  • By way of example: a humanistic worldview understands everything through the lens of what? Man is ultimate – therefore whatever WE/I say, goes
  • And atheistic worldview perceives life by what foundational principle? There is no God (you can imagine all the implications: no accountability, no real meaning, only matter matters, etc.)
  • The lens through which you view the world drastically impacts what you value
  • In this next section, we are able to see on high display…

A) The values of the world

  • Palm branches had a significant meaning in the Jewish culture as well as the culture of their occupiers
  • The Jews would use palm branches in the feast of tabernacles, if you remember our time in John 7 – the palm was also lining the interior of the tabernacle
  • Additionally, the Roman empire held the palm branch to be a symbol of victory
  • Why do you suppose the Jews took up palm branches, shouted Hosanna (“give salvation now”), and heralded Jesus as king?
  • To them, what was their greatest problem? (the Roman occupation)
  • They believed their biggest problem was Roman oppression
  • Brothers and sisters – what was (and subsequently still now is) the greatest problem?
  • Our sin!!
  • What is the worst that Rome could do to them?
  • As Scripture says, kill the body
  • What are the implications of sin, unaddressed? (*explain)
  • But praise be to God, they got what they were not asking for
  • In their warped worldview – a view that many still hold today – they thought salvation comes through the right leadership or the overturning of systems
  • Yet they failed to see what was right in front of them…

B) The servant King riding on a donkey

  • Though He is never what we expect, He’s always exactly what we NEED
  • And yes, a day is coming when He will ride on a horse, army in trial, to slaughter His enemies and usher in His kingdom in total victory
  • But here He comes to win a people to Himself by His own blood
  • 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.
  • Though they didn’t outright perceive what He was doing, we later have…

C) The testimony of the disciples

  • V 16 shows that after the resurrection, the disciples rightly understood what Jesus had done and was doing
  • What was it that brought them to that point?
  • Their understanding of the Word of God (in this instance, Ps 118 and Zech 9)
  • Brothers and sisters – what type of worldview are we called to have?
  • a BIBLICAL worldview
  • We can accurately understand that our greatest need is an answer to our sin
  • We can more fully see Jesus for who He is and delight in Him as our greatest treasure
  • 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.
  • Like Mary, we are called to worship Him above any earthly thing
  • As the disciples would later develop, we are to worship Jesus with the proper biblical worldview
  • And as our last section points out, Jesus charges us to…

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

  • They talk with Philip, the disciple with a Greek name, who they likely were most comfortable approaching
  • Philip recruits Andrew and the two of them approach Jesus with the Greek’s request
  • A number of interesting things follow this request
  • 1) Jesus starts off by proclaiming that the hour HAS FINALLY COME
  • All throughout the Gospel of John so far, we have heard Jesus say that His hour has not yet come
  • …but guess what – it’s finally here
  • Commentators believe this may be due to something larger happening here
  • Some even speculate that when the Greeks begin showing interest in the Kingdom of God (or perhaps Jesus as their own King), that was the sign to Jesus that the hour had come
  • Jesus, knowing the heart of every man, knows precisely what to say at the exact right time – what follows His declaration that the time has come is both an indirect response to the Greeks as well as a discipleship teaching opportunity
  • While we don’t quite know why the Greeks desired an audience with Jesus, we can safely assume that His response addresses their actual need, rather than a perceived one
  • And the discipleship lesson is rich – even for us today

A) The fruit of the Messiah

  • Primarily, who is the “seed” Jesus is referencing that must die in order to produce much fruit? (Himself)
  • Jesus couldn’t be the Emancipator that the Jews desired Him to be – He needed to die in order to produce something better
  • Jesus couldn’t be the better king than Caesar to the Romans/Greeks – He needed to die in order to usher in a better kingdom
  • *gospel reminder

B) The discipleship lesson of the grain

  • What about the Christian who’s only goal is personal survival?
  • Preserve my life
  • Preserve my comfort
  • Preserve my reputation
  • DIE
  • Be willing to lay down his life for the sake of Christ
  • Readily sacrifice comfort for the spreading of the gospel
  • Forsake reputation that Jesus’ name may be lifted high
  • 1) this is not heaven
  • 2) your work is not finished
  • 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.
  • You must see Jesus for who He truly is if you desire to follow Him in this way – Above Every Earthly Gain
  • You must value His way above every other way – taking on His worldview
  • And you must worship Him only – even above your very life
  • Maybe you desire the things of the world too much – like Judas – and struggle to see how Jesus is infinitely better (*explain)
  • Perhaps you have a warped worldview – one that would come into conflict with the truth of the Word of God
  • Guess what your HW is? Read God’s Word and when you find it contradicting what you believe, guess who needs to change?
  • And let me give you a hint – if your heart is pumping red blood right now, you struggle with this in some fashion
  • The life of a Christian is characterized by growing in this discipleship lesson from the seed – that’s why Jesus, in Mark 8, calls His disciples to take up their cross… how often? DAILY


Stefan Nitzschke


Pastor of College Ministries - Faith Church

Director of Faith West Community Center - Community Ministries West


B.S. - Management Information Systems, Iowa State University
M.Div. - Faith Bible Seminary

Stefan has been serving on the pastoral team at Faith Church since 2016. He and his wife have a passion for discipleship and evangelism and are the blessed parents of four carefree boys and one sweet girl. Stefan is certified as a biblical counselor through the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC) and is pursuing a Ph.D. in Christian Preaching at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.