Let’s read John 12:1-3: “Then, six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was who had been dead, whom He had raised from the dead. There they made Him a supper; and Martha served, but Lazarus was one of those who sat at the table with Him. Then Mary took a pound of very costly oil of spikenard, anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil” (NKJV).

As we study the Gospels, we learn that Jesus had a special place in His heart for Lazarus, Martha and Mary. In chapter 11 we are taught that Lazarus had become very sick and his sisters, Martha and Mary, sent a message to Jesus saying, “Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick” (verses 1-3). Jesus said, “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it” (verse 4). Then we read “Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus” (verse 5). They were a real blessing to Jesus (because of their faith in and devotion to Him) and His love for them is recorded in God’s eternal Word for all to see. Jesus had no doubt visited them often and they were blessed to have His company in their home, and I think it’s safe to say that Jesus “felt at home there as well.” In light of this truth, it is amazing to read on and see that Jesus purposely stayed where He was until Lazarus died, and then He and His disciples came to Bethany and arrived four days later (verses 6-17). The sisters were filled with grief but Jesus comforted Martha with words of comfort, “Your brother will rise again” (verse 23). Then He made His way to the tomb of Lazarus and “He cried with a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come forth!’” and he came out in response to those words of power (verses 43-44). God was indeed glorified in this miracle along with His Son.

This is the background for what we have in our portion today. Jesus came once again to Bethany and attended a supper in His honor. We read that it was “six days before the Passover” which means in six days He would be betrayed and crucified on the cross as the “Passover Lamb” (see Matthew 26:2; 1st Corinthians 5:7 and 1st Peter 1:18-19). Yet before the “storm of God’s wrath against sin” would come down upon Him because of our sins, the “calm before the storm” took place in that blessed home where Jesus loved to go. Some believe it took place in the home of Simon the Leper as recorded in Mark 14:1-9 but that may be a separate case since that was “two days before the Passover.” What we do know and what captures our hearts, is to see that 1) Martha SERVED at the supper; 2) Lazarus SAT at the table with Jesus; and 3) Mary WORSHIPPED the Lord Jesus. I’m sure they were all filled with joy because of what Jesus had done for Lazarus and all were actively honoring the Lord in their own special way. Each brought joy to the heart of the Lord Jesus who desires those who love Him to show their love by SERVING HIM, by HAVING FELLOWSHIP WITH HIM, and by intelligently WORSHIPPING HIM. This is a beautiful picture of how God’s people today should be responding to “what the Lord has done for us.” He “raised Lazarus from physical death”; He has caused us to “pass from (spiritual) death into (eternal) life” (John 5:24). In response to His love that has saved us, we too should be SERVING HIM. Like Saul of Tarsus, we should start our day by saying, “Lord, what do You want me to do” (Acts 9:6). He will then lead us into SERVICE for Him. We should also be SITTING DOWN and HAVING FELLOWSHIP WITH HIM. This implies Him talking to us (through His Word) and us talking to Him (in prayer). We are told to “let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly” (Colossians 3;16) and to “pray without ceasing” (1st Thessalonians 5:17). And last, but not least, we should be WORSHIPPING HIM. Mary worshipped Him in view of His impending death and burial (see John 12:3-8); we worship Him by looking back, by faith, to the cross. Jesus said, “This do in remembrance of Me” (see Luke 22:19-20 along with 1st Corinthians 11:23-26).  (DO)  (529.3)