Sermon – January 26, 2020
Last week, as we celebrated a baptism, we witnessed the picture given to us which best represents our union with Christ. In our baptism, we are buried with Christ in his death and raised in his life. We are with him, united to him, tied to him. But is this just passive? In a certain sense, yes; we rely fully and finally on God’s abiding presence with us. After all, the Son took on flesh to save us – we didn’t come to him. But these realities do not mean that we have no responsibility in our union to Christ. John 12:1-11 shows us something of what it means to know and belong to Christ; to love him and revere him. If we belong to Christ, let us:
1. Be present with Jesus
While the heart of the story here revolves around Mary and the anointing of Jesus, John helpfully presents us with two incidental figures in Mary and Lazarus. Given the nature of the miracle of Lazarus’ resurrection, it should not be surprising to find that both are present with Jesus. Such presence should be the natural outgrowth of what Jesus has done for us. Friends, spend time with Jesus. There are two primary ways to do this: individually, in reading his word; and collectively by gathering with his body, the church.
2. Bring presents for Jesus
The gift that Mary brings is extraordinary in its expense. It might not be clear how we can copy such a gift, given that this was given in his presence physically. Yet, Scripture does implore us on how we are to do this: we lay down our lives for Jesus. We let him control them, doing what he instructs us to do. This is, of course, reasonable worship. It makes sense, because we belong to Jesus!
3. Be pure before Jesus
Judas’ objection is likely the direction that all of us are pulled in. Yet, the problem with his objection is primarily that all he cares about are how things appear. His objection is just to protect the world from his greed and hypocrisy. At the same time, Mary’s gift was pure and right before Jesus, with no ulterior motive in sight. Let our giving be like this! Give purely to Jesus and others, for you belong to a God who sees all that you give, and is faithful to reward those gifts!
4. Be prepared with Jesus
In vv. 9-11, we learn that Lazarus’ life was in danger simply because he had received grace from Jesus, and that grace was so exemplary that it was leading people to Jesus. We need to be prepared, as Jesus was and we hope Lazarus is, to die daily to our own needs. Be prepared daily to give your life up for Jesus, for if we belong to him, let us give our all for him.