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A Dinner in His Honor

A Dinner in His Honor
Words of Faith 12-27-16
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2016
Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL
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John 12
Six days before the Passover, Jesus arrived at Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. [2] Here a dinner was given in Jesus' honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. [3] Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus' feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.

As the Passover approached, Jesus prepared for His final week of earthly ministry. He attended a dinner given in His honor in Bethany. Mark and Luke tell us this dinner was in the home of a man named Simon the Leper (Mt 26:6; Mk, 14:3). Martha catered the event and Lazarus was a special guest.
The dinner may have been an evening of testimony and celebration to thank Jesus for all He had done. “Simon the Leper” was obviously a man who had much to be grateful for. He apparently had suffered from the horror of leprosy but had been healed of the disease by Jesus. People with leprosy did not host parties so Simon must have been healed be Jesus. Perhaps he was the one leper who had returned to thank Jesus (Luke 17:12). Now, Simon was hosting a dinner honoring Jesus.
At a dinner such as this, everyone brought something to say or give in gratitude for the guest of honor. Lazarus had a remarkable testimony to give of being called from death to life. Simon had much gratitude to express for being restored from a living death to abundant life. Martha had her gift of serving and hospitality to offer in gratitude for raising her brother.
But Mary offered a different gift. A material gift called nard.
What is nard? (For one, it is a great Scrabble word. I got 33 points for it in a game with my wife! Great points and it looks so much nicer than ‘darn’.)
Pure nard was a fragrant oil prepared from the roots and stems of an aromatic herb from northern India. It was a very expensive perfume, imported in a sealed alabaster flask. Such a precious bottle of perfume was often passed from mother to daughter as part of her dowry and was used when honoring special guests on special occasions.
Mary’s gift was lavish because she did not anoint Jesus with a drop or even two. She poured out the entire jar on Jesus’ head. What is more, she broke the jar, as if to say, “No guest will ever be so honored in my life as this one I anoint today. The house was filled with the fragrance of her extravagant gift.
Mary’s gift is a powerful image. Just how many drops does one use to honor Jesus? One? Two? Ten? No, only the whole jar is appropriate. And, in fact, the jar should be broken and never used for honoring anything else in the same way. Just how much of our life should we offer to honor Jesus? A drop. Two? Ten? No, we are called to be a life broken and poured out for Him.
Why such extravagance? It is because He has loved us with extravagance. Jesus did not offer only one drop of His blood. Or two. Or ten. He was broken and spilled out for you without reservation.
The image of Mary calls us to be people who are extravagant in our love of Jesus. We are called to worship Him without reservation. We are called with give to Him without holding back. We are called to serve Him and love others on His behalf without calculation. We are called to filled the rooms of our lives with the fragrance of loving Jesus.

Lord, forgive me for holding back. Forgive me for giving only a drop or two of myself when You really desire all of me. May my life be filled with the fragrance of loving You. In Jesus’ name.

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© Jeffrey D. Hoy 2002, 2016
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy - Faith Fellowship Church (EFCA)
2820 Business Center Blvd.
Melbourne, Florida 32940 (321)-259-7200
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The Words of Faith devotion is published five days a week by E-mail excluding Federal holidays. Please feel free to forward this devotion to a friend who might be blessed by this devotion. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is quoted from the New International Version (R) of The Holy Bible. Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved. Words of Faith (c) 1997, 2010 Jeffrey D. Hoy. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to forward this copyrighted material or use portions of it with appropriate notation of the source for non-profit purposes.