The First Followers A Candid Look At The Disciples Of Jesus
Mary Of Bethany
- Lived in Bethany near Jerusalem
- Siblings Martha and Lazarus
- Known among the Jewish community (based on the many people who came to lament the death of Lazarus)
- Comes from a family of wealth (family vault & Mary’s possession of perfume of purest spikenard valued at 300 denarii)
Mary’s Personality & Character Traits
- Sacrificially Generous
Jesus’ Encounters With Mary / At the Home of Martha and Mary
As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. (Luke 10)
- This was controversial (a woman being taught by a Rabbi as a disciple)
- She was attentive, engaged, and courageous
But Martha, distracted by all the preparations asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume [worth a year’s wages]; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. (John 12)
Judas Iscariot objects to what he calls “a waste”
- Jesus defends Mary
- “Leave her alone. It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial.” (John 12)
One commentator notes, “Mary seems to have been the only one who was sensitive to the impending death of Jesus and who was willing to give a material expression of her esteem for him.
Reading Between The Lines
Mary faced opposition as a disciple.
- Human nature and cultural ‘norms’ would indicate Mary was resented by other followers.
- Martha (“make her help me”)
- The Twelve
- Matthew’s gospel states, “the disciples were indignant” (Mary’s anointing of Jesus)
An Important Reminder
- Don’t be discouraged by difficulties.
- See me, God.
- See yourself as I see you.
- You are my delight.
- I long for you to see me.
- I see your progress.
When you realize that your mind has wandered away, don’t be alarmed or surprised. The world is filled with distractions. When you plow through your distractions to communicate with me, you achieve a great victory.
Significant Life Lesson
- Choose what is best – the one thing that matters.
- Don’t be more concerned about “fitting in” than “following.”
- Discover the divine life and let nothing distract you from “the pearl of great price.”
Pastor Dan Burchett ~ Open Door ~ November 6, 2016
ODM website: opendoorlongbeach.org