The Book of John

Friday: Jesus and Mary of Bethany


Theme: A Lasting Memorial
In this week’s lessons, we learn about Mary’s love for Jesus, and see that our own love for and service of the Lord needs to be self-sacrificing as well.
Scripture: John 12:1-11
Well, there’s one other thing to be said about this story. It’s not here in John, but it is mentioned elsewhere. In Mark 14:9, Jesus said of this woman, “What she has done is going to be a memorial for her throughout all generations.” And so it is, because it is here in the Bible. Look how many centuries it has been since this happened, and here we are studying what this woman did. We remember her, because of the love she showed to Jesus Christ and the understanding she had of his coming death and burial. Do you want to be remembered? Most people want to be remembered. The worst thing many of us can think of is to be forgotten. If you want to be remembered, show love to Jesus Christ. Because if you show love and give yourself to Jesus Christ, he will redirect that so you show love and serve others. If you give yourself in a self-sacrificing way for others, going out of your way, giving yourself, sacrificing that which is most precious to you in order to help other people, you’ll be demonstrating your love for him and they will remember you. And not only will they remember you, they will remember that you did it because you love Jesus; and by the grace of God, many of them will come to love him too.
I want to say one other thing, something about Martha. Martha was remembered, too, you know. Jesus made a point of saying that Mary would be remembered, and she is, and certainly hers is a great story. Martha, we’re told, served. That’s what she’s doing here, and it’s what she was doing earlier. It seems to be what she did best, and she’s remembered for it. That’s not bad either. And so I say to you, serve others. Love others. Give to others, and you’ll find yourself blessed.
Some place in my reading I came across the story of a businessman who wanted to show his love for Jesus Christ. He had earlier in his life wanted to be a preacher, but either he didn’t have the opportunity to prepare for it or he didn’t have the gifts. So he went into business instead, and did very well. He was also highly regarded in the city in which he worked, but he wanted somehow to do something that would show his love for Christ.
And so what he would do is after he finished work at night, he would go to a little mission in the center of the city. It would be all closed up at the time, but he had a key that had been given to him, and he would go in there after hours and change his clothes, get on old working clothes, and he’d scrub the floor. Well, the people from the mission came by on one occasion, stumbled upon him, found out what he was doing, and they were aghast that he was in there cleaning up after them. They had noticed that they had clean floors but nobody ever bothered to ask where all those clean floors came from. And here was this prominent businessman doing it. They said, “Oh you shouldn’t be doing that. Come on, put that aside. You don’t have to do that. We’ll get somebody else to do it.” He replied that he wanted to do that because he wanted to do something for Jesus.
If you do that, however humble it may be, that is the sort of thing that Jesus notices, and praises, and says will be a memorial to you. It may be in this life that nobody is going to see that. You may go through a long time of serving, which nobody is ever going to know about. But Jesus knows about it. It’s going to be written down in the book of heaven, and he is going to receive praise to the glory of his grace one day from you, and from what you did because you loved him. You know, there is a day when we’re going to stand in the presence of Jesus Christ and the books of heaven are going to be opened. All the things that we have done, and oh, what a surprise there will be in that day. It is going to be when those books are opened, and all the people that we think are so important are going to be standing there. Jesus is hardly going to notice them at all. They had their glory here.
And then there are going to be the little people that you and I maybe hardly even notice, the people who just aren’t paid attention to at all, that get no attention whatsoever. But in this life, here and there they did things for their neighbors, going out of their way to faithfully serve and love others because of their love for Jesus Christ. Jesus is going to notice that. He’s going to say, “Yes, I noticed when you scrubbed the floor of that neighbor who was sick in bed and couldn’t do it. I noticed when you took in food to that widow who was grieving and could hardly cope for herself. I noticed when you gave that money to help that student get through and paid the bill so they could go on and get a good education. I noticed it all, and it’s all written down here.” And Jesus is going to say, “Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your Lord.” We want praise now, but we would be wise to forfeit that and follow Jesus to receive his praise hereafter. 
Study Questions:

What important point about Mary does Jesus make elsewhere other than in John’s account of this story?
What does it mean for us that if we are Christians, Jesus will remember us, too?

Application: How is the Lord calling you to love and serve others in his name? In what ways can you encourage others in their own obedience and discipleship?

Study Questions
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