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91: Dinner at Bethany

May 15, 2009

Major Text: John 11:55-12:11

Harmony Texts:

Matt. 26:6-13      Mark 14:3-9      John 12:2-8

Context/Discussion/Comments:

Many pilgrims are traveling to Jerusalem and many are already there to have time to be purified before Passover. The Jews, both pilgrims and leaders, were looking for Jesus. Some wanted to see Him and hear Him teach. The leaders wanted to arrest Him and have Him killed.

Jesus stops at Bethany, two miles outside Jerusalem, to visit with His friends [Mary, Martha, and Lazarus]. A dinner in Jesus honor is held Saturday evening after the Sabbath at the home of Simon the leper. Simon, no doubt, was a follower of Jesus too. Jesus probably had healed Simon earlier. They probably used Simon’s house because it was large. Jesus was traveling with His twelve disciples and, most likely, other family members [see Lesson 88]. Plus, many in Bethany wanted to attend because Lazarus was raised from the dead about one month earlier. Martha is back to serving the people and Mary is serving Jesus by breaking an expensive bottle of perfume over Jesus’ feet and wiping them with her hair. Jesus will serve His disciples in a similar way in a few days. Mary evidently understood Jesus was to die soon just as He had been teaching. This action is that of a humble servant and an “anointing” in preparation for burial. Judas objects to this action because he had his “hand in the cookie jar”. He said the politically correct words but had the wrong intention. Jesus defends Mary, acknowledges her servant heart and devotion, and states we will always have the poor to care for but we will not always have Him. Some people might take this as a very callous and pompous remark. But Jesus is saying He is not going to be with them very much longer and there will be plenty of opportunity to help the poor after He is gone. We must take advantage of the King’s presence to personally worship the King.

In the meantime, the furor builds in Jerusalem and the Jewish leaders become intent on killing Jesus because He is becoming more popular than they. There is freedom and salvation in Jesus. There is slavery and oppression with the traditions imposed by the Jewish leaders.

Lessons/Applications:

  1. Take every opportunity to serve Jesus. It is an act of worship.
  2. Consider what He has done and what He has said. He brings freedom and salvation to all who place their faith in Him.

To Honor Him is to Love Him.

To Seek Him is to Find Him.

When you find Him, honor Him.

Do not kill Him.

Seek Jesus, Follow Jesus, Serve Jesus, and Worship Jesus.

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