Luke 14:1-11 Joyful Generosity #3
Pastor Nathan Nass November 19, 2017
Now the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread were only two days away, and the chief priests and the teachers of the law were looking for some sly way to arrest Jesus and kill him. 2 “But not during the Feast,” they said, “or the people may riot.” 3 While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head. 4 Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, “Why this waste of perfume? 5 It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages and the money given to the poor.” And they rebuked her harshly. 6 “Leave her alone,” said Jesus. “Why are you bother-ing her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. 7 The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. 8 She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial. 9 I tell you the truth, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.” 10 Then Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve, went to the chief priests to betray Jesus to them. 11 They were de-lighted to hear this and promised to give him money. So he watched for an oppor-tunity to hand him over.
How Much Is Jesus Worth?
We now have more cars than drivers in our household. I’m a little ashamed to ad-mit it. We recently got a minivan for our growing family, so now we have three cars. If we decide to sell one, how much would it be worth? How much is your car worth? It’s worth as much as someone is willing to pay for it, right? I could try to sell my car for $100,000. That’d be nice! I could put a nice “For Sale” sign on it. Put an ad on Craigslist. But nobody’s going to buy it for that price! A car is worth as much as someone is willing to pay for it. That’s true for just about everything, right? Money talks! Just about anything in life is worth as much as someone is willing to pay for it. So how much is Jesus worth? I want you to think about that today. How much is Jesus worth?
Sadly, to some people, Jesus isn’t worth anything at all. Here’s how our lesson starts: “Now the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread were only two days away, and the chief priests and the teachers of the law were looking for some sly way to arrest Jesus and kill him.” The Jewish leaders had had enough. It was time for Jesus to go. For too long Jesus had told them that they weren’t good enough on their own to get to heaven. They hated it. For too long he had said that sinners would be saved by believing in him. They hated it. It was time for Jesus to die! How much was Jesus worth? To them, nothing!
In contrast, Mark flashes back to an event a few days earlier. The day before Palm Sunday, Jesus went to eat at the home of Simon the Leper. It’s always great to see whom Jesus hung out with! Simon the Leper—do you know what a “leper” is? Someone who has leprosy—a terrible skin disease. Simon the Leper must have been someone whom Jesus healed of leprosy. In addition, the Gospel of John tells us that Lazarus, Martha, and Mary were there too. Remember those siblings? Lazarus is the one Jesus raised from the dead! So Jesus and the once almost dead guy Simon and the once really dead guy Lazarus were eating together. How much do you think Jesus was worth to them? Everything!
But it wasn’t Simon or Lazarus who showed that. Right in the middle of the meal “a woman”—we know it’s Mary—“came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head.” As Jesus was reclining at the table, Mary unexpectedly came in with a beautiful stone jar—alabaster was a fancy stone. In it was a pint of pure nard, which doesn’t sound good. But nard was an expensive perfume—imported all the way from the Himalayan Mountains in India. That one jar was worth a year’s wages. The Bible actually says “300 days’ wages.” How much would that be? Maybe $50,000? Mary broke the jar—that was the only way to get the perfume out—and poured the perfume on his head and on his feet and wiped them with her hair.
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