The Worth of Jesus Christ – the Gospel:
Last week, our church family looked into John 12 for our study. This passage takes place after Lazarus had been raised from the dead and just days before the death of Jesus Christ. As the Passover is just ahead, Jesus has dinner with a family that is very dear to Him. At the table is none other than Lazarus. Martha is serving. In the midst of the evening, Mary enters the room and anoints the feet of Jesus Christ with a very costly ointment, and then she proceeds to wipe Jesus’ feet with her hair.
This passage loudly expresses the inestimable worth of Christ! Although, Mary often receives the attention in this passage, this passage is really about Jesus Christ. It is a passage that shows forth the priceless worth of Jesus Christ. It is a passage that serves the Gospel of John by showing Jesus to be the Son of God. This is the intention of the writing (John 20:31).
One of the points of emphasis in the passage is not found in the anointing of Jesus; but rather by looking at the person seated at the table. Lazarus is seated at the table with Jesus Christ. We do not know the details of where he is seated at the table; but, nonetheless, he is there on public display for all to see that he really is alive. A short time before, his body had begun the process of decomposition in a grave; but Jesus came and miraculously raised Lazarus from the dead.
What is interesting is that in John 12, you might be prone to think that the writer is writing this Gospel record to incompetent people. The reason I say this is because the writer keeps mentioning that Lazarus had been dead and was now alive, as if this was not evident. Stop and ponder that for just a moment. Notice the verses.
Then Jesus six days before the passover came to Bethany, where Lazarus was which had been dead, whom he raised from the dead.
Much people of the Jews therefore knew that he was there: and they came not for Jesus’ sake only, but that they might see Lazarus also, whom he had raised from the dead.
The writer is not only stating the obvious, but he is re-stating the obvious. Why? Why take such measures to be so repetitive? It would seem that the readers need to be continually reminded of something that would seem to be nominal. That is just it! It is not nominal! In affirming the deity of Jesus Christ, the writer is perpetually reminding the readers of Jesus’ EVIDENT dominance over death. What this means is that Jesus was already a Victor over death before His own resurrection. This further affirms that fact that Jesus had to lay down His life, since death did not dominate Him.
But why all of the repetition? It was a constant reminder of the Gospel. The passage, including the anointing portion, points to the death and burial [specifically] of Jesus Christ. The fact that Lazarus was there, as a testament to the power of Jesus Christ over death, shows that the passage also has intimations of Jesus resurrection power; hence, the passage is inclusive of the Gospel.
As we consider the implications of these truths and the application, we are forced to adore Christ. We are forced to consider His inestimable worth; but why? We are forced to do so because of the Gospel in our lives. We must perpetually be reminded that Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life that walked to the tomb where we lay as stillborns. It was there that the Resurrection brought life to me and to all those who have believed on Jesus Christ.
Though our salvation is a matter of history, it is a history that must be repeated in our hearts and minds daily. It is a history that must be reckoned perpetually (Romans 6:11). Daily, we must consider that we were dead. Daily, we must repeat the matter of what Jesus alone accomplished to bring us eternal life. I am convinced that the reason many believers have lost the wonder of their salvation, is not because it did not take place, but rather because they have stopped visiting the Cross and the Empty Tomb. They have stopped the repetition of the fact that they were dead, but now are made alive in Jesus.
Daily, we must be gripped by the fact of Who Jesus is, and What He did in the Gospel. To those who believe, He is precious! (I Peter 2:7)
For more on this message, see message preached at Grace Baptist Church on December 30, 2015.