Gospel of John Chapter 12 Notes

Mary’s Alabaster Box Verse 3

Three times, in the Gospels, we read of Mary of Bethany. Each time, she is sitting at the Master’s feet.

1. Luke 10:38-39: Mary was at the feet of Jesus listening at what Jesus was teaching. Vs 42: Needful = demanded; required; necessary. Martha’s service which allowed Mary to hear the Word.

2. John 11:32: Mary fell at Jesus feet. This was when Lazarus had died.

3. John 12:1-3. Mary breaks the precious alabaster box, adoringly, at the feet of Jesus. Matthew 26:7; Mark 14:3 & Luke 7:37 records it as the “alabaster” box. Alabaster = a perfume vase of any material.

John 12:3 calls the contents: “spikenard.” This was the oil or perfume of a very costly plant of East India. It was very fragrant. A pound, in that day & time, was 12 ounces. It was expensive.

From these three glimpses of Mary of Bethany, we can see a three-fold example to learn from.

1. Mary sat at Jesus feet, to learn: Luke 10:39

2. Mary took her grief to the feet of Jesus: John 11:32 3. She gave her best while at the feet of Jesus: John 12:3

3. In this third example: John 12:3; we have an excellent example of consecration to Christ. In this story, we have five very prominent figures: Martha; Mary; Judas; Lazarus; Jesus.

Busy Martha typifies service. Lazarus eating, typifies communion with the Lord.

Mary typifies consecration to the Lord. Judas typifies the world’s attitude towards consecration.

Jesus represents the Divine attitude.

The act of Mary, bringing her precious ointment to the feet of Jesus, illustrates consecration in the following:

1. It was costly

2. It involved being broken

3. It was fragrant

4. It was discerning, verse 7.

5. It was misunderstood by others.

6. It was prized by the Lord and He blessed it.  Judas represents the worldly attitude of condemnation: why the waste? Mark 14:4; John 12:5-6. Why not sell it & give it to the poor? This was a false and hypocritical statement. Judas stands condemned by history as well as by Christ.

The Lord represents the divine attitude.  Jesus praised Mary’s sacrifice: Matthew 26:10. Good = valuable; virtuous; honest; worthy.

Consecration: True consecration to Christ makes the Christian life simple.

1. It leaves the management of it to the Lord.

2. It also unifies because it bends all our motives and activities in one aim (controlled by the Lord), to please Him.

3. It purifies life because it gets rid of all the things that He disapproves of in our lives.

4. It amplifies life because it gives the divine will a spacious fulfillment through the believer so that we will uplift Him.

5. It glorifies life because it makes the believer a blessing to others and a praise to the Lord.

Above all else, the consecration that the Lord desires of us; far more than our service; prayers; time; talents; money; is when we think of all the unsaved people around us. Recognize our need to be a witness; a light house; to give forth the Gospel; to endeavor to win the unsaved to Christ.

Are all Christians consecrated? The answer is no.

Do they desire to be consecrated? The answer is yes.

Why are not all Christians consecrated? For a Christian to completely hand over everything to the Lord, is a hard thing to do. It deals with the self centered ego in the life of the Christian. Some may give up certain sins is somewhat tolerable to many.

To give up self-management; self motives; grudges; plans; and self-everything is utterly unbearable to our Adam sin nature. The resistance by the devil and the world and even other Christians is the supporting factor in this.

John 12:3: the act of Mary pouring out this very expensive fragrance, was the form in which Mary’s love to Christ, at so much cost to herself, poured her love out. This was Mary’s grand testimonial of love. She thought that nothing was too good for her Lord. She brought him the best she had, for her love was generous.

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