Posted by: randydunning | January 12, 2008

Day 12 | John 12


Text: John 12

Key Verse: 8
“For you always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.”

Jesus is less than one week out from his crucifixion and after a dinner served at the home of Mary, Martha and Lazarus, Mary comes out and anoints the feet of Jesus with exceedingly valuable perfume that is also exceedingly fragrant. No doubt the conversation around the table stopped abruptly when the scent filled the air.

Judas, the treasurer, then makes a stink about what he perceives to be the perfume’s misuse. His argument is that the perfume, now wasted on the feet of Jesus, would have better served the needs of the poor once sold at market value. Perhaps the proceeds would have fed five thousand people a good meal of fish and barley bread.

Even though he is a great advocate of the poor, Jesus does not attend to the suggestion of Judas on the grounds that there will be ample opportunity to serve and bless the poor in the future. Yet, there were only a few more days to honor God’s son while he resided in the flesh.

The lesson I draw is this: extreme sacrifice for Jesus needs to be coupled with extravagant worship of Jesus. What is the point of pouring great blessings upon the poor if it isn’t done in the name and instruction of Christ? And what is the point of laying our heart at the feet of Jesus in worship without serving those in need. The gospel includes both worshiping God for who he is and serving people in his name.

The point is that all must be done for Jesus! If we give abundantly to satisfy ourselves (ease a guilty conscience or look good before others) or create a worship environment to sate emotional needs and bring personal enjoyment, then we miss the mark.

Jesus must be the object of our sacrificial giving (not the poor) and Jesus must be the object of our extravagant worship (not ourselves). Both service and worship are desired by God but especially when our motive is pleasing his Son.

Lord, help Your servants see that extravagant service and extravagant worship are not mutually exclusive, but that both please You. May I please You more by making You the object of everything I do.



  1. That is such an excellent point that I so often overlook. It is so easy to get wrapped up in the deeds (however good) that we forget the One who has called us to do the deed.

    I am always amazed at Jesus’ statment in this verse: “you will always have the poor among you.” It is a reminder to me that the social aspect of the gospel (ex. feeding the poor) is not the gospel that saves. So often social change organizations and even Christian organizations want to help the poor but shy away from the actual gospel message. This is not the whole message Jesus brings, for Jesus is convinced the poor will always be on this earth. This passage helps keep the focus where Jesus does. I think one could say he is primarily concerned with the spiritual nature, and so often the physical nature is involved as well

  2. Andrew: So, Philip, what should we tell those Greeks?
    Philip: I don’t know. I won’t understand anything about what Jesus says until after He’s glorified.

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