Sweet Perfume

If you worship God, here is a result that is felt in your life – a godly, heavenly perfume in your life that blesses and refreshes and inspires others.

Scripture: John 12:1, Mark 14


Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, my dear radio friend. How in the world are you? Yes, this is your good friend Bob Cook and I’m back with you once again for a few moments to share from the Word of God. What a delight. What a privilege. What a luxury. What an absolute thrill it is to open the Word of God and find the Holy Spirit speaking to your own heart from it. That’s the continuing miracle of the Christian life, isn’t it? “As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God,” Paul says in Romans 8. God speaks to His people through His Word and by His Holy Spirit. May that be true for you, my precious friend, this very day.

I’m looking now at John Chapter 12. We are in the Gospel of John, going through it verse by verse, trying to put a handle on it so that you can get hold of it for yourself. John 12:1, “Then Jesus, six days before the Passover, came to Bethany where Lazarus was which had been dead whom He raised from the dead. There, they made them a supper and Martha served, but Lazarus was one of them that sat at the table with Him. 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 odor of the ointment. Then said one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son which should betray him, ‘Why was not this ointment sold for 300 pence and given to the poor?’ This he said. Not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief and had the bag and bear what was put therein. Then said Jesus, ‘Let her alone, against the day of My burying hath she kept to this, for the poor always you have with you but Me, ye have not always.'”

John gives us this story and so indeed do Mark and Matthew. Matthew 26 and Mark 14, the story is similar, differing only in a detail or two to fill out the story. It says in Verse 8 of Matthew 26, “When his disciples saw it.” Now, Judas started it, but the others echoed it. “When his disciples saw it, they had indignation saying, ‘To what purpose is this waste?'” Small thought here while we think of it. Grumbling is contagious. Griping is contagious. You start complaining about something and other people will join you. Adverse side of the coin is true as well, praise is contagious. You start praising and rejoicing and other people will follow you. His disciples.

And the Lord Jesus said, “Why trouble ye the woman? She hath wrought a good work upon me. She hath wrought a good work upon me. It’s not how much but for whom that counts.” Then he mentions that, “She has poured this ointment on my body. She did it for my burial.” Mary was probably the only one who understood what the Lord Jesus said when He talked rather constantly about His dying and rising again. The rest of them didn’t seem to get the point. Mary did. “She did it for My burial.”

Now there’s that one, then you have the other record is found in Mark 14. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Mark 14. And Mark tells about it as well. But now it says, “There was this woman with an alabaster box of perfume. She opened the box, poured it on his head.” And it says, “There was some that had indignation and they murmured against her.” Judas started it, the disciples echoed it and finally the whole crowd was upset about it.

What do you make of all that? You wanna talk about that for a while? First of all, there was a difference in Martha, I want you to notice that. The last time we had any contact with Martha, she was saying, “Lord, you blew it. Should’ve been here.” Before that when we had a contact with Martha, she was complaining that nobody helped her, “Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? Bid her therefore that she helped me.” Period, end of sentence.

The “me” quality has to be taken out of our service and out of our praying before we get very far with God. You wanna think about that? How much of a “me” factor is there in you? Some of the most “spiritual” people I know are naively concerned with how they feel and what they’re doing and what other people are doing that affect them. [chuckle] I suppose we’re all blithely self-centered. Whose face do you look for first in any group photo? [chuckle] I know that. But at the same time, there can be a change in your outlook. There can be a change in your outlook so far as your own concerns are involved.

Martha was grumbling about nobody helping her. She further complained that the Lord was late in helping her brother but now, you find her serving and there’s no hint of any problem whatsoever. Tell me, has the Lord done anything for you along that line? I think it might be an excellent matter if you and I would just remember to ask Him for His deep and wonderful working in our own lives so far as our attitude toward ourselves and others is concerned. “He must increase and I must decrease,” said John. John the Baptist found his greatness in being involved with the Lord Jesus Christ. He said, “My joy therefore is to hear His voice and see Him work.” Well, Martha had gotten somewhere spiritually by the time John 12 rolled around. Martha served, Lazarus was sitting at the table with him, that was the place of honor to be with the Lord Jesus.

So, Mary comes with this container of perfume. Judas knew the cost of things. Some of the most rascally people you will ever meet are also the smartest in evaluating. [chuckle] It sometimes, not always, sometimes seems to go together. Judas knew that this was worth a year’s wages, 300 pence. So it says she anointed the feet of Jesus. Another gospel record which I read for you there said she poured it on His head so it was on His head and His feet. The custom was, they tell me, that when you had an extremely important and honored guest, you poured some kind of ointment or perfume upon him or her. And this was then her way of saying this is a most important guest, not Lazarus, but Jesus is the important one. And it says, “She wiped His feet with her hair.” She must have had long hair. If she had a short curly bob it would pretty hard to do, wouldn’t it? [chuckle]

And it says, “The house was filled with the odor of the ointment.” Wherever Mary went after that, she spread perfume. That reminds me of the verse in 2 Corinthians 2, “God always causeth us to triumph in Christ and maketh manifest, by us, the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.” God wants you to be His perfume spreader. Can you think that there’s been much of that going on in your life? Well, of course, I suppose if you really are spreading God’s perfume, you’re not always aware of it. The person who is aware of His importance is probably not all that significant.

So you may not know it, but the fact is that if you have lavished your love and adoration and worship upon the Lord Jesus Christ, there is a result that is felt in your life and there is a perfume, a godly, heavenly perfume in your life that blesses and refreshes and inspires others. The house was filled. Why? Well, Mary’s hair was full of perfume. Wherever she went in helping with that dinner, there was the perfume.

So, all right, then the test. One of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, the one that was going to betray him. This is one of the tragic verses of the Bible. Judas Iscariot was known as Simon’s son. Let me say a word to young people who are saying, “Well, anything I do it only hurts me, anyway. Why is everybody daunting me? Well, I have to do my thing, leave me alone. Don’t preach to me, daddy. Leave me alone. Let me do my thing because it’s my life.” Well, yes, buddy, that’s true. It’s your life but it’s also your father’s life and your mother’s life because you are part of them.

Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed, has been known for 2,000 years as Simon’s son. How that father must have grieved over his boy. How his heart must have broken again and again with distress, and agony, and shame, and rage over the perfidy, and dishonesty, and greed, and finally, the murderous conspiracy into which Judas Iscariot entered. Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son. What are they saying of you, buddy? What are they saying about you, daughter? John Q. Citizen, somebody’s son. Mary Q. Citizen, somebody’s daughter.

And what you are says something about your folks. What you do says something about your parents. Oh, yes it does. Don’t any longer say, “It’s my life and I have to live it.” Yes, that’s true my beloved friend, but it is also the life of your parents and you are inextricably tied up with them. The Bible still says, “Honor thy Father and thy Mother.” Think about that will you? The next time you’re tempted to cut the corners and just say, “Well, it doesn’t matter now,” it always matters. For 2,000 years, it has mattered to a man who, with his wife, became the parents of a boy named Judas. Simon’s son. Oh, live so that your folks can be proud of you. Live so your folks can feel the presence of God in your life. That’s what counts after all.

Father God today, oh, may we be a credit to our own people and to Thee. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!

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