All Is Well – John 12

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The shadow of Ruth fulfilled in beautiful worship.



but we need to hear from the word of God that we would be filled with with all of his assurance and all of his power that we might learn as he has taught us to say it is well and so I’m gonna skip through all of this And I want us to come to John chapter 12 We spent some seven weeks in, in John chapter 11 And now we come to to John chapter # 12 And the first of it is such a glorious and beautiful picture of peace that that that that that christian and I sat in the office and and tried to to build this this whole sermon, this whole service around just these first few verses, something that we so desperately need uh in a in a time of confusion in a time where it seems like the world is doing everything it can to to to pit men against other men and people against other people and and even Children against other Children. And we need to know that there is peace and it’s not just a drop of peace. It is a flowing river. It is a, it is a river of life and it can, it should and it must flow from us even as the Lord gives us more than our cup can contain. So john chapter 12 verse number one, six days before the passover, Jesus therefore came to Bethany, you remember there was that great drama uh and and and jesus went to the freedom to get away from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders who had officially now turned their uh their hatred against him and made official the plot to kill the christ. And so he goes to Ephraim. But now as the time of his hour is on its way, it’s six days away, right seven days away, Jesus comes to Bethany and he goes to the house where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. That that was the final straw in in in in in in taking it from a momentary emotional expression to kill christ to a full on governmental plot and they hid out in their bunker. No, they gave a dinner for him there, Martha served and Lazarus was one of those reclining with him at the table mary, therefore took a pound of expensive ointment made from 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. But judas Iscariot, one of the disciples, the one who would betray him said Why was not this ointment sold for 300 genera and given to the poor. He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief and having charge of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it and jesus said leave her alone for she has for she four jesus said leave her alone so that she may keep it for the day of my burial for the poor, you always have with you, but you do not always have me. And when the large crowd of the jews heard that jesus was there, they came not only on account of him, but to see Lazarus whom he had raised from the dead. So the chief priest made plans to put Lazarus to death as well because on account of the jews were going away because many of the jews were going away believing in jesus. Now I want you to notice something uh in the greek, definite articles are definite right and verse number nine says when the large crowd, it’s not just a large crowd, it’s the large crowd, it’s the crowd that we’re told about at the end of chapter 11, the crowd that that had seen the raising of Lazarus had seen the wondrous power of christ, in raising Lazarus from the dead had seen the wonderful care that he had shown uh in in in in in dealing with mary and Martha, the compassion and the love that he had shown and being moved by it, they hated him and they and they in selfishness, ran off to the Pharisees and to the chief priests hoping that they might gain some kind of favor in tackling on jesus and now when they hear he is back in Bethany they come back, they come back on account of jesus and they also come back on account of Lazarus, but the gospel and the love of christ is so powerful that some of them were even being converted. And so the chief priests added to their official hit list, not just jesus but Lazarus. And that’s where we find ourselves today right now. We have talked about in the last two weeks, who can we trust just exactly in this world? Who can we trust? I remember back when when Covid first started that I panicked man, I didn’t know what to do. You had, you had and I’m ashamed to say I panicked right? But you know what to do because you couldn’t get any real information. You turn on one channel and it was the black plague. You turn on another channel and it it’s a soft breeze you turn on one channel and it’s a really bad flu. That could be very dangerous to your older people. You turn on another one and and and oh, if you breathe this stuff in, you’ll live forever. You know, and and it’s hard to get truth anymore. It’s hard even to trust yourselves ourselves. I remember that that that that I fretted about it, you know, and then and then brian and I fretted about it together and then we got the deacons in here and we were like a football pass away from one another in here trying to figure out what to do just what was best. And it was so very difficult because we couldn’t find that information and then finally I don’t remember bob or ray or somebody said, Hey, let’s pray about it. You know, and we did. And, and then you know, the the other times we just had a hard time with information who do you trust? And then looking at some things lately that, that even search engines and things like that have algorithms in them to make you mad to make you on edge. Right. If you read a particular article, it will send you two more articles like that to where you’re, you’re eventually pulling the hair out of your head. Now there’s real trouble in the world, don’t get me wrong, The world is dark and it always has been right. But where can we find trust? Sometimes we can’t even trust ourselves. I’ve had a hard time this week and every time I ate I got sick. Hey. And so I thought, well I’ll take make the best of this and try to lose some weight. Bill, don’t eat bill. Don’t eat bill, whatever you do before church. Don’t eat Charles brings in donuts. I was telling myself, don’t eat a donut as I was walking to the donuts when I picked up a donut, I said, don’t eat this donut and I wasn’t going to until the smell hit my nose. That’s oreo cookie. You know what I did ate the donut, I can’t even trust myself and we know that oftentimes we can’t trust ourselves, right. I know for a fact no demons live in the basement of this church. But if ever I come here and I have to do something in the basement of the church, the light to turn off the basements at the end down there and I clicked the light And I take two steps at normal speed and then the rest of it is like flash Gordon? I tell myself, don’t get upset. Will leaves his wet towels on the floor, don’t get upset. That will leaves us wet towels on the floor. He leaves his wet towel on the floor. And what do I do upset? Who can we trust? And we’ve looked at that the only person that we could truly trust in every and any situation is God. And then hopefully God living within us. We learn to trust one another, right? That I could trust my life with Charles, really knowing that he would not kiss my cheek in order to turn me over. And when we learn that we can have trust, then peace will follow right? We’ve seen over the last five chapters and why we spent so much time in it is we have seen the power of governments are after jesus and now Lazarus, The mobs of people. The mobs of the corrupt are after them. The populace as a whole has turned on Jesus in John 666, right? And the power behind both the governments, the religious authorities and then just the mob as a whole seems insurmountable. The political machinations that are going on the intimidation of just that many people and and that kind of clout and now and now we see that they pick up the police and corrupted ones at that, you know, who aren’t really police, but brutal enforcers of whim and not law, right. The army will get involved in all of this as the Praetorian guard comes the power of intimidation and and seemingly insurmountable odds lined against christ and those who would follow him. And I want you to see that around these verses, there is an official decree that brackets the little story that we’re gonna look at today and next week that reveals the heart of humanity and the highest danger that man can press against another man we determine, and we officially determined and we unofficially have a mob to kill you. Speaking of Jesus and Lazarus. And if mary and Martha get caught up in that they get caught up in that right. And yet with all of that danger that surrounds this story and all that we’ve looked at the five times they picked up stones and now the two official proclamations, all that surrounds this story, it’s presented almost as a, as a tableau, right? As a, as a fresco in a, in a, in a, in a in a renaissance church, I mean, look at it six days after the or six days before the Tabernacle, jesus, therefore came to Bethany Lazarus was there, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. And then it’s almost as a, as a picture that defend Da Vinci might have done or or rafael, they gave a dinner and Lazarus is reclining at the table with jesus and mary’s at his feet and Martha serving right? But listen, this is not the hopeful imagination of some artist or sculptor. This is reality of life with christ peace in the midst of any storm, right? You see, to know, christ is to know peace because he is the prince of peace. And this is no little thing people, because you remember at the announcement of his arrival on the earth, what was the song that the angels sang Peace on earth? And then with that, knowing who to trust and with that peace, goodwill toward men. When he enters into Jerusalem at that last triumphal entry, that last entry into the city, what is the song that’s sung Peace, Peace in heaven between God and man. This whole picture reminds me of Psalm 23 and I know I’ve mentioned this a number of times, but hang on, I’m gonna mention it more. I love this picture and I didn’t see it till this year. That’s why you’re gonna hear it a whole lot, right? I love the picture of, of jesus leading someone through that dark valley and dangerous, you know, snipping and sniping at their heels and when it comes time to refresh in energy, it’s not a clark bar in the mouth or a piece of jerky God says, alright let’s just stop, I’ll set the table right here in the midst of your enemies. That’s how we know that enemies are following through in that valley, love that there’s no need to worry, no need to hurry, no need to fret. I am with you, we’re not just gonna eat a piece of jerky on the run, like some gomer, like somebody who’s scared, we’re gonna set a table and we’re gonna sit and eat. That’s how little we have to fear anything when God is ours and we are his love that picture. Then you remember the story of jesus and his disciples are in the boat and the winds contrary to them and professional fishermen are ready to say we’re gonna die. And jesus comes walking on the water and with one word dispels the storm and all becomes peace and then he lands on that island after a major storm like that. You can imagine the gloom, you can imagine the eerie scene and then these two, these two demon possessed guys that that that that that no men are able to come come running down the hill and with one word, jesus dispels the storm the storm without the storm within jesus and both find peace right? You can almost see the drawing here, you can almost see the painting, but it’s much more glorious, knowing that it’s true now where and how does this kind of piece originate right by putting full trust in jesus christ by putting our full trust in God christ the messiah and in the man jesus as people I said we don’t know who to trust and and and and you see it in the story here in the new testament that most of the people trusted the Pharisees even though the Pharisees were the bane of their life. The pharisee said that we own you, the priest said we own the temple and the people and yet they put their trust in them and then look at the rest of this little story, judas is trusted by the other disciples, judas is the one they decided should be their treasurer and carry the money bag. And even though judas does something incredibly impertinent, can you imagine going to a funeral and seeing a casket at the front and going, I can’t believe they spent that much money on a casket. Now you might say that in the car on the way home, right, but could you imagine doing that out loud in service and yet judas does it And Matthew and Mark said he even drew some of the other disciples into grumbling about that as well. They trust judas right and jesus said twice. One of you has a devil, he’ll say it again at the table and no one picks judas because he could talk a good game. He could play a good game. He sounds like a good guy, like he cares about the poor, right? And he fools. Men who probably thought that they could not be fooled. They trust judas. I think that’s why that’s here with this beautiful tableau. And what does judas do? Judas will sell his chance for salvation. And the Pharisees who they trust, The priests, who they trust, will buy it with their own damnation. Who do we trust? Now look at mary, mary, therefore took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard right and anointed the feet of jesus and washed it with her hair, washed his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of perfume. Right? But judas is scary at one of the disciples. He wanted to ruin all this picture. I was disappointment. Not sold for 300 Denarii that we could feed the poor. He said this not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief and he was in charge of the money bag and he used to help himself to it. And jesus said, and I don’t think he said this one kindly. I think there was a little growl in his voice, leave her alone so that she may keep it for the day of my burial, right, for the poor. You always have with you, but me just a little longer you, but you do not always have me, Jesus is saying here that she has anointed me for my death and he’s trying to get them to to see something beautiful. He’s just raised Lazarus from the dead. He has said that he is what I am the resurrection and the life whoever lives and believes in me will never die. This needs to be the only anointing ever again. Let me see if I can say that in a different way. It makes more sense when mary anoints Jesus for his death, right? It’s the last such anointing that there ever need be because Jesus has come to offer what hit eternal life, Jesus has come down for what eternal I’ve now, I know that the body will fall away and I know that embalming and all of that is in that But but you see the picture here, the typology, right? I’ve raised Lazarus from the dead, I’ve said I am the resurrection and the life, I’ve said that I offer you eternal life now she is in joining me for my burial and this is the last time this ever needs to happen in this way. And you fellas, you’ve got your eyes on the world rather than on me and you’re missing the beautiful piece that this picture should provide. Right. Notice the difference in the last chapter, Lazarus is death as a man by now. He what by now he stinks, but when mary anoints, jesus for his death, the house is filled with a sweet smelling savor right. The glory of the difference right? She took a pound of expensive ointment, pure nard, she poured it out on him anointing him and then washed his feet with her hair. What does this mean? Why does she do this? Well, two things mary is the only one who washed the feet of christ christ will later on wash the feet of every disciple because they haven’t gotten it yet right serving one another mary gets it, man mary understands it, she’s washing the feet of christ. But remember an old testament story about the great great grandmother of jesus, her name was ruth and you all remember that weird little story sounds really weird to us according aspects of that story. When ruth is in trouble and trouble is completely surrounding ruth and without help she and her mother in law to they’re gonna die right. And she is told of a man who seems to be a good man and so and so her and Naomi not or four if it was the other daughter in law, Her and Naomi they go and and they watch this man, she’s told he was a good man, she watches and and she, she thinks he’s a good man. And so one night after he’s worked long and hard in the field right along with his servants when he is tired and when he is protecting the grain that they have harvested against robbers ruth makes her way into the silage and she lays out her hair on the feet of boaz right hoping that this one will care for her and feed her right? You see she risks her life that boaz is a good man because he could have been a bad man and gotten up and what far beyond your imaginations can think right from beating her to using her to taking her as a slave. But she risks everything that that he is a good man. She takes the risk to trust and in all of that you see God’s providential care. It turns out that boaz is related to her like second or third cousins, not, you know, they don’t get married in that Mississippi way that you know uh Alabama way, sorry hey, and he is her kinsman redeemer. And she becomes the great great grandmother of jesus. It is a beautiful picture of surrender and trust. And now you see mary doing the same thing, there’s trouble all around them, right? They’re not just having a nice little family dinner alone, there’s a great crowd outside right, remember we read that there’s a great crowd outside and the Pharisees and the scribes who have those official papers to kill jesus and to kill Lazarus is in there and mary puts herself in the most vulnerable position possible. She pours out all the money that she has and she she she lays her hair across the feet of christ knowing he is going to die, mary says I will put my my my my trust in a man that I know is heading to certain execution. I will trust him because I believe what he says, that he is the resurrection and the life and they may take me and by vile hands misuse me, they may, they may kill me, but three days I will what I will rise from the dead mary puts her trust in that unbelievable story, revealed the picture in the old testament. And right here a reality mary fully submits to him. Ruth risked her life. That boaz was a good man, mary goes further, she risks her life. That jesus is good, not just a good man, that he is good that death cannot contain him. Hell will not hold him and the grave is nothing but a motel room for a few days and that he can fulfill his promises and extend that life that love, that hope, that certainty to her fellas, listen to me look at what she’s doing, she gets it and because her eyes are on me, she’s at peace. Her hopes in me. She’s at peace. Lazarus is at peace. Right? Listen, when we pursue happiness, we will never find it, okay, when we pursue happiness, we will never find it. Joy and peace are extremely elusive blessings. And when we reach out our hands to grasp them, we find that they vanish away or they crumble in our in our fingers. Because now get this. It’s the whole sermon, I’m done in two minutes, lori, real two minutes. Because joy and peace are not suitable goals for man. Joy and peace are not suitable goals to pursue. They are the byproducts of love, right? God gives them not when we pursue them, but when we pursue him in love and because he loves us so much, he says, now you’re at peace. I’ll give you my peace. I’ll give you my joy, I’ll give you my life and I’ll make it better every single day. And we can fully put our trust in him. The self conscious pursuit of happiness will always end in failure, right? But when we forget ourselves in the self giving service of love toward jesus christ. Then joy and peace come flooding into our lives. And and and they are unbreakable realities. They are unbanned fishing realities. They are that they are the truth that surround us and and and is under us whereby we might stand and tell the world I am loved of God and God loves me, right? It’s a beautiful story. It’s a gorgeous story and it’s just one snapshot, right? One painting by rafael, but it’s more beautiful than than than any of that, right? All of this. Trouble, all the ravening mob outside the official papers to to execute jesus and the official papers to execute Lazarus and what’s going on in that house because jesus is there. They’re sitting at a table and eating. I’ll take care of this fellas. I’ll take care of this mary and mary anoints him for the last death anointing there ever need be right. There will be no decay for us. There will be no disillusion for us. There there will be no dissolving back into dust for us. We are christ and at that moment before our last breath is taken, he will come and snatch us away that we might be with him always Now. 2nd thought really fast, right? He has put himself in the lives of these people in here. Now, while our trust is fully in him, we must learn to what trust one another. One of the great problems in hindering christian, one of the great sorry christian, didn’t know you were there, one of the great one of the one of the great problems and one of the great temptations of christians right now is to do this way too much. We’re spending far too much time looking where out of the world, I’m not saying we ought not, we don’t need to give up ground. Uh we need to fight for those who can’t fight for themselves and all of that, right, But that’s not where our hope is and our hope is not in any agency out there. Our hope is where it said the Lord, It’s in Brandon, being a good husband, It’s in it’s in Donna being a good wife. It’s in it’s in novella being a good grandmother and letting that light shine and knowing that we have peace and when someone is coming by us and they are sinking in the sand of this world that we can reach out our hand, right and aid them with the power and the gospel that christ has given us. I thought this would take 15 minutes. But y’all know me better than I know me. I can’t trust myself, right? But I want to leave you with just that picture snarling mob on the outside. far more than the 13 or so that are inside the building official papers from the government backed by a brutal police and a corrupted army, right? At least in Jerusalem and jesus and Lazarus and Martha and mary at a table eating Because the Lord is my shepherd, he anoints my head with oil. She anointed his feet right? Because that’s all she is worthy of. And then he turns around and does what he anoints her head with oil. Now you’re mine, right? And I will make you a royal priestess. Let’s forget about the Royals out there. I’m a child of the king of the universe. Not just a one little city in one little country in the Middle East and he has anointed me with his love and his blessing forever. Uh that’s worth worshiping. Worth exulting in and worth living out as we go father. I thank you.

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