Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and many went up from the country to Jerusalem before the Passover to purify themselves. They were looking for Jesus and saying to one another as they stood in the temple, “What do you think? That he will not come to the feast at all?” Now the chief priests and the Pharisees had given orders that if anyone knew where he was, he should let them know, so that they might arrest him.
Six days before the Passover, Jesus therefore came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. So they gave a dinner for him there. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those reclining with him at table.
John 11: 55-12: 2
Our tracking of Jesus’ route back to Jerusalem since the raising of Lazarus returns to the gospel of John. Of the past few days we have been following this journey through the Synoptic gospels, for John’s narrative mentions simply this, ‘Jesus therefore no longer walked openly among the Jews, but went from there to the region near the wilderness, to a town called Ephraim, and there he stayed with the disciples.’ (Jn. 11:54) so that the content for our trail since Jesus left Ephraim has come only Mark, Matthew and Luke. But today, we return to John, where in chapter 11 at verses 55 we read, now the Passover of the Jews was at hand" and may commence along with John once again.
Now we may surmise from our previous texts that sometime on Thursday or perhaps Friday morning, one week before the Passover, Jesus left Jericho and traveled to Bethany. Bethany sat on the eastern slope of Mount Oilivet, less than a mile from its peak and approximately 10 - 14 miles from Jericho when traveled by road. A walk from Bethany up to the mountain peak would place one in the village or 'suburb' of Jerusalem known as Bethpage. From there there you may gaze west over the Garden of Gethsemane, and across the Kidron Valley toward Jerusalem and the Eastern Gate of the temple. In Bethany, Jesus was less than four miles from the temple and He came there this night to dine in the home of people whom he loved. It was one week before he would die for the sins of the world, and – there – in this place and by sharing a meal, an extravagance of worship occurred.
Mary therefore took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. 4 But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (he who was about to betray him), said, 5 “Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?
John 12: 3-5
Today I participated in the funeral of my cousins wife. She lived her entire life, from cradle to grave, in one town - Celina, TX. She grew up there, and was a loyal member of the First Baptist Church. Though a loyal Celina Bobcat who never missed a game, more than this - she loved Christ and her church – never missing worship there either. Her pastor talked about how unique her life was. He opined that in our world of transience, she was the exception because she never left this one town - 'it was her home' - he said, then added, 'and for Ruthie, home was everything’.
Thinking of this, I am reminded that Jesus values home. Also that God’s word values the home, too. God was the one who instituted the home and, in Egypt, it was to each home that He brought the feast we know as Passover. Following this, He instructed His people to teach His precepts to their children - day, night, sitting, eating, standing, and even when going to bed - in their homes! Our very fist churches were in homes, with our first pastors being those ‘ruling their households well.’ So that we must know that what happened in this home that evening, extravagant worship of Jesus, which thickened the air with a fragrance worth one years wage, was a most wonderful and natural thing to do.
Right now I am readying myself for Sunday’s service. Following in our story, Jesus likely left Bethany on this same morning, which was after the Sabbath and our Sunday- 'Palm Sunday'. He sent His disciples ahead to the village of Bethpage where they retrieved for Him a colt - one upon which he was soon to ride triumphantly into Jerusalem. It was tied in from of the home of a friend, and just up the mountain from the home of these three with whom he'd dined. Yes, Jesus was comfortable with people in their homes. And In the home of these on that night long ago, He was worshipped – ever so extravagantly! Which cause me to wonder?... ... Is he worshipped like this in mine? And, may I ask you.... is He worshipped like this in yours?
I pray so,