The Price of Christ #2

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

“Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment” (John 12:3 KJV).

How much should Jesus Christ be worth in the eyes of Christians?

About six days before His crucifixion, Jesus is in Bethany, a town one or two miles (1.6 or 3.2 kilometers) southeast of Jerusalem. He has raised Lazarus from the dead just a short time earlier (John chapter 11), and they are holding a supper for Jesus there in Bethany (John 12:1-9). Lazarus’s sister Mary (cf. John 11:2) anoints Jesus’ feet as recorded in today’s Scripture.

Mary took a “pound” (roughly a pint or 0.5 liter) of the very intense aromatic essential oil “spikenard” and poured it onto Jesus’ feet. She then wiped His feet with her hair. (You can grasp Mary’s humility by remembering that sandaled feet that trod hot Middle Eastern sand were quite filthy, sweaty, and smelly. Can you imagine wiping your hair on those feet?)

Spikenard, whose plant derivative is still unknown, was just as the Bible says—“very costly.” In fact, when Judas—the thieving treasurer of the apostles—saw what Mary did, he bemoaned, “Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor?” (John 12:5). Verse 6 says, “This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein.” Judas just wanted the spikenard sold so he could pocket the money!

The word “pence” in our King James Bible means the Roman coins called denarii. A denarius was equal to one day’s wages, so 300 pence was roughly ten month’s wages (the denarius was originally worth the price of ten donkeys, so 300 pence was 3,000 donkeys!). Mary recognized the great value of the Lord Jesus Christ: He was worth far more than the mere 30 pieces of silver (three or four months’ wages) Judas later received for betraying Him. May we Christians value the Lord of glory, Jesus Christ, as much as Mary did!

Bible Q&A #370: “How could Jesus say His killers knew not what they were doing?

Two Bodies

Sunday, October 30, 2016

“And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go” (John 11:43,44 KJV).

Now, compare this with Jesus’ resurrected body!

“Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie, And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself” (John 20:6,7). Jesus had vanished within those clothes! When He called Lazarus out of his burial cave, Lazarus was still wearing grave clothes. Lazarus actually came hopping, bound, and needing someone to loose him; yet, Jesus’ burial clothes remained in His tomb. What exactly was going on?

There is a difference between simply being raised from the dead, and being resurrected. Lazarus, the son of the widow of Nain, Jairus’ daughter, and others were raised from the dead, but they died again. However, Jesus was resurrected, never to die again. Hence, Jesus had a (resurrected) body quite different from Lazarus’ (raised) body.

Comparing Lazarus’ raised body with Christ’s resurrected body, we see similarities and differences. Both were physical bodies that could eat physical food and be touched by physical hands (John 11:1,2; John 20:17; Luke 24:37-43). But, Jesus’ body passed through His burial clothes. Those clothes lay in the grave just as they had buried Him! His resurrected body had an amazing structure, one far beyond the grasp of our puny minds. In fact, Jesus later literally vanished into thin air (Luke 24:31), and even passed through locked doors to instantly reappear (Luke 24:36; John 20:19,26)!!

Brethren, this is all very exciting, for Scripture says: “For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself” (Philippians 3:20,21). Those remarkable bodies, like His glorified body, will enable us to function in heaven for His glory throughout eternity’s endless ages! 🙂

The Price of Christ #2

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

“Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment” (John 12:3 KJV).

How much should Jesus Christ be worth in the eyes of Christians?

About six days before His crucifixion, Jesus is in Bethany, a town one or two miles (1.6 or 3.2 kilometers) southeast of Jerusalem. He has raised Lazarus from the dead just a short time earlier (John chapter 11), and they are holding a supper for Jesus there in Bethany (John 12:1-9). Lazarus’s sister Mary (cf. John 11:2) anoints Jesus’ feet as recorded in today’s Scripture.

Mary took a “pound” (roughly a pint or 0.5 liter) of the very intense aromatic essential oil “spikenard” and poured it onto Jesus’ feet. She then wiped His feet with her hair. (You can grasp Mary’s humility by remembering that sandaled feet that trod hot Middle Eastern sand were quite filthy, sweaty, and smelly. Can you imagine wiping your hair on those feet?)

Spikenard, whose plant derivative is still unknown, was just as the Bible says—“very costly.” In fact, when Judas—the thieving treasurer of the apostles—saw what Mary did, he bemoaned, “Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor?” (John 12:5). Verse 6 says, “This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein.” Judas just wanted the spikenard sold so he could pocket the money!

The word “pence” in our King James Bible means the Roman coins called denarii. A denarius was equal to one day’s wages, so 300 pence was roughly ten month’s wages (the denarius was originally worth the price of ten donkeys, so 300 pence was 3,000 donkeys!). Mary recognized the great value of the Lord Jesus Christ: He was worth far more than the mere 30 pieces of silver (three or four months’ wages) Judas later received for betraying Him. May we Christians value the Lord of glory, Jesus Christ, as much as Mary did!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What is the ‘falling away’ of 2 Thessalonians 2:3?

When Sadness Fled Concerning the Dead

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

“Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life; he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?” (John 11:25,26 KJV).

Scripture says Jesus attended three “funerals” during His earthly ministry. Today’s Scripture says all three services were canceled!

Evolutionary theory postulates that death is good, eliminating the sick and weak so the young and healthy can have the maximum number of resources to continue their species. However, God’s Word declares death as something bad. The Lord Jesus Christ is life: as the living God, He can impart and has given us life. He never intended death in His creation. Alas, “As by one man [Adam] sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned” (Romans 5:12). Bad news! Where sin is, physical death and spiritual death are certain. Good news! Where Jesus Christ is, physical life and spiritual life are sure.

It is never easy when loved ones die. Imagine how grief-stricken the widow of Nain was as the coffin of her only son passed through the city. Grief and heartache! Consider how distraught Mary and Martha were when their ill brother Lazarus died. Tears and wailing! Imagine Jairus’ heartbreak when his little 12-year-old daughter died from her sickness. Sorrow and sadness!

As Jesus entered Nain, He saw the funeral procession exiting the city (Luke 7:11-18). He cried out to the bereaved widow, “Weep not!” Approaching the platform holding the corpse, Jesus touched it and commanded, “Young man, I say unto thee, Arise!” The dead man arose! Later, Jairus’ only daughter grew sick and was dying (Matthew 9:18-19,23-26; Mark 5:22-24,35-43; Luke 8:41-42,49-56). He begged Jesus to come and heal her. As Jesus was coming, He was delayed, and she died. The Lord said, “Weep not; she is not dead, but sleepeth!” The Jews laughed. “Maid, arise!” She came back to life! Just before Christ’s death, Lazarus died of sickness. His sisters were sad to hear Jesus deliberately came late. He encouraged them with today’s Scripture. “Lazarus, come forth!” And, Lazarus lived again!

Three “funerals” history will NEVER forget! 🙂

Up From the Grave He Arose #1

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

“And he [Joseph of Arimathaea] bought fine linen, and took him [Jesus] down, and wrapped him in the linen, and laid him in a sepulchre which was hewn out of a rock, and rolled a stone unto the door of the sepulchre” (Mark 15:46 KJV).

The first verse of Robert Lowry’s classic 1874 hymn “Up From the Grave He Arose” highlights today’s Scripture.

“Low in the grave He lay,
Jesus my Savior,
waiting the coming day,
Jesus my Lord!”

The Prophet Isaiah wrote the following Messianic prophecy some 700 years B.C.: “And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth” (Isaiah 53:9). As a carpenter, Jesus was a poor man. His family was so destitute that they could not purchase a tomb for Him! We read about a “rich man,” “Joseph of Arimathaea,” a disciple of Jesus, who begged Governor Pilate for Jesus’ corpse. Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, “and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock” (Matthew 27:57-60; cf. today’s Scripture).

Psalm 16:9,10 are two more Messianic verses, written by King David over 1,000 years before Jesus Christ spoke them to the Father concerning His death: “[9] Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope. [10] For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.” Knowing these Scriptures, Jesus Christ was fully expectant that Father God would raise Him again on the third day.

Jesus’ physical body lay dead, perfectly still, deep in that rock tomb for three days and three nights. Strangely, the Bible says there was not the slightest evidence of decomposition (“corruption”) on that body. After four days in a similar rock tomb, or cave, Lazarus’ carcass began to stink (John 11:39). Only dead for three days, Jesus’ body never emitted a foul odor. Once those three days and three nights expired (cf. Matthew 12:39,40), the Lord Jesus Christ burst forth, alive and well!

Two Testimonies to (Try to) Silence!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

“But the chief priests consulted that they might put Lazarus also to death; Because that by reason of him many of the Jews went away, and believed on Jesus” (John 12:10,11 KJV).

To save their religion, these Israeli chief priests are willing to kill twice!

In the previous chapter, Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. Verses 45-48 continue: “[45] Then many of the Jews which came to Mary, and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on him. [46] But some of them went their ways to the Pharisees, and told them what things Jesus had done. [47] Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, and said, What do we? for this man doeth many miracles. [48] If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation.”

“Then from that day forth they took counsel for to put him [Jesus] to death” (verse 53). Jesus immediately escaped from Bethany, going out into the wilderness, and abiding in a city called Ephraim, about 10 miles (16 kilometers) north of Jerusalem. As chapter 12 opens, it is six days before the Passover (and His death). Jesus returns to Bethany, where Lazarus is living (again!). There, Lazarus attends a supper held in Jesus’ honor.

Verse 9 says, “Much people of the Jews therefore knew that he was there: and they came not for Jesus’ sake only, but that they might see Lazarus also, whom he had raised from the dead.” Now we reach today’s Scripture. Lazarus’ living testimony is a threat to their religion—many have converted to Jesus because of His miracle of raising Lazarus from the dead. Now, these chief priests start plotting to kill Lazarus also; they had been conspiring for some days to kill the Lord Jesus, and now they want to silence His friend, too! The plan to murder Jesus was effective because He gave Himself up. However, the scheme to kill Lazarus was evidently unsuccessful. God had him stay around for more witnessing!

Imagine their horror, when they killed Jesus… and then He came back from the grave, too!

The Price of Christ #2

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

“Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment” (John 12:3 KJV).

How much should Jesus Christ be worth in the eyes of Christians?

About six days before His crucifixion, Jesus is in Bethany, a town one or two miles (1.6 or 3.2 kilometers) southeast of Jerusalem. He has raised Lazarus from the dead just a short time earlier (John chapter 11), and they are holding a supper for Jesus there in Bethany (John 12:1-9). Lazarus’s sister Mary (cf. John 11:2) anoints Jesus’ feet as recorded in today’s Scripture.

Mary took a “pound” (roughly a pint or 0.5 liter) of the very intense aromatic essential oil “spikenard” and poured it onto Jesus’ feet. She then wiped His feet with her hair. (You can grasp Mary’s humility by remembering that sandaled feet that trod hot Middle Eastern sand were quite filthy, sweaty, and smelly. Can you imagine wiping your hair on those feet?)

Spikenard, whose plant derivative is still unknown, was just as the Bible says—“very costly.” In fact, when Judas—the thieving treasurer of the apostles—saw what Mary did, he bemoaned, “Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor?” (John 12:5). Verse 6 says, “This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein.” Judas just wanted the spikenard sold so he could pocket the money!

The word “pence” in our King James Bible means the Roman coins called denarii. A denarius was equal to one day’s wages, so 300 pence was roughly ten month’s wages (the denarius was originally worth the price of ten donkeys, so 300 pence was 3,000 donkeys!). Mary recognized the great value of the Lord Jesus Christ: He was worth far more than the mere 30 pieces of silver (three or four months’ wages) Judas later received for betraying Him. May we Christians value the Lord of glory, Jesus Christ, as much as Mary did!