April 4, 2022

NO expense

NO expense

Mary was willing to spare no expense to demonstrate her love for Jesus. What about you and me? #gburgnaz #theNOshow #lent2022 #perfume #sermon #nazarene #NOexpense

Greensburg Church of the Nazarene
31 Bluebird Lane, Greensburg, KY 42743


**not a word for word transcript, but the sermon manuscript**




Five weeks into the season of Lent, remembering the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Many during this time fast from something, something that costs them in honor of Jesus who paid it all for them. It is not for show, but an act of love.


Our passage today is following one of Jesus’s greatest miracles the gospels have recorded. He brings Lazarus back to life. Lazarus was dead for three days, and Jesus restored him to life. It is following that dramatic scene that John shares an event capturing a holy heart devoted to Jesus.




1 Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany where Lazarus was, the one Jesus had raised from the dead. 2 So they gave a dinner for him there; Martha was serving them, and Lazarus was one of those reclining at the table with him. 3 Then Mary took a pound of perfume, pure, and expensive nard, anointed Jesus’s feet, and wiped his feet with her hair. So the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. 4 Then one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot (who was about to betray him), said, 5 “Why wasn’t this perfume sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” 6 He didn’t say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief. He was in charge of the money-bag and would steal part of what was put in it. 7 Jesus answered, “Leave her alone; she has kept it for the day of my burial. 8 For you always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.” (CSB)


This is the Word of God, for the people of God, thanks be to God.



*** Key verse ***


The obvious key to this passage is what Mary does in verse 3. It reveals the nature of Judas and generates a response for Jesus. And we are told in verses 1 and 2 that this event takes place in Bethany, at a dinner featuring Martha, Lazarus, and Mary. Before making sense of Mary’s actions, we will look at the reaction of Judas and Jesus’s reaction to Judas.


** Behind the lie ***


Mary dumps the perfume on Jesus, and Judas balks at the amount of money wasted. “Why wasn’t this perfume sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” Nard was an oil extracted from a plant that grew in India. It was costly to import nard, thus expensive to purchase. According to John MacArthur, “one denarius was a day’s wage… 300 was equivalent to a year’s wages.” And Judas was not wrong, the money from selling the perfume could have helped a lot of people.


If it were not for John’s additional commentary in verse 6, Judas would appear as a man of great virtue. However, John writes, “He didn’t say this because he cared… but because he was a thief.” While outwardly, Judas’s kindness toward the poor could be applauded, it was only a mask hiding greed. Whether Judas would have stolen the money had the perfume been sold is impossible to know, but his heart could only see this event through dollar signs. When Judas is balking at the amount, he is also balking at the love Mary was displaying.


*** Behind the life ***


Before getting to how the word of Jesus connects with Mary, I do want to share what verse 8 is not saying. In verse 8, Jesus says, “For you always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.” This not Jesus excusing us from showing compassion to those in need. He is simply pointing out that Mary’s actions were not wrong.


What Jesus saw in Mary’s actions was extravagant love. A heart so filled with love that it cannot and has no desire to contain it. Mary had lost her brother Lazarus, but Jesus brought Lazarus back to life. Jesus had allowed her to sit at his feet and learn. Her love for Jesus had no concern for the material or relational cost involved. To Mary, Jesus was worthy of it all. This is what Jesus saw and this is what He affirmed.



*** What do the key verse say to us? ***


Mary demonstrated extravagant love. Really, this is the love Paul writes about in 1 Corinthians 13. This is holy love, a glimpse of how God loves us. If you are wondering what it means to love Jesus, to love God with all your heart, soul, and mind, Mary is the example.


This kind of love leaves a mark. A lasting impact on those who witness and are recipients of it. Verse three says, “the house was filled with the fragrance.” Think about it, it was not that long ago that Martha told Jesus not to open the tomb of Lazarus because it reeked of death. Now not only was death’s stench gone, but now the perfume filled the whole house.


John is not the only one to record this incident, he is the only one to identify Mary. In the gospels of Matthew and Mark, Jesus says a little more than what John records. Jesus adds, “wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her.” Mary’s demonstration of holy love has forever been preserved as a testimony to the world. Holy love leaves a legacy.


*** How does this apply to my life? ***


I mentioned this is how God loves us. Jesus was the demonstration of God’s love for us. A love that spares no expense. This is the type of love you and I are to have towards God. We are not satisfied with following Jesus because of what we can find in the moneybag, but because we love Him. There is no material item we possess that is more important than Him. And with Jesus, our dignity is not vital. All we have and all that matters is Jesus, knowing Him more and making Him known.


Not only does holy love spare no expense, but it also seeks out that for and in others. We love others, with our words, actions, and reactions. “Holiness believes the best about others.” (former professor at Kentucky Mountain Bible College) When we see someone pouring out perfume like Mary, our reaction is not focused on the cost. Our reaction is joy in seeing someone else extravagantly love Jesus, even if it looks messier and different than we think it should be.




What are you holding onto? Let it go, Jesus is worthy. What are you hiding behind? Step out from behind the mask, discover the holy love of God that can transform your heart and mind.