Lessons From a Dinner Party

In the Gospel of John chapter 12, Jesus and the disciples are invited to Mary, Martha, and Lazarus’s home. Just a week before this dinner party event, we learn in John 11 of Jesus’ most astonishing miracle, raising Lazarus from the dead. 

The miracle of Lazarus was more than just healing but taught us two essential truths about life.

#1 Reveals the extent of God’s power. 

If you’ve put limits on God’s ability to answer prayer, this display of supernatural power crushes every limitation. If you’re in the habit of praying safe, manageable prayers, this miracle is meant to change that.

Awareness of the power of God is to be the guiding force when we pray.

Don’t allow limited experiences or the mountain in front of you to extinguish your faith in God to do the impossible. 

#2 Illustrated the resurrection of believers. 

This divine healing illustrated what happens instantaneously when a believer dies. Our last breath on earth is greeted by our first breath in Heaven. 

Jesus takes the sting out of death by ushering every believer into Heaven. Jesus told the thief on the cross who confessed faith in Him that he would be with Him in paradise that day, Luke 23:43. Furthermore, 2 Corinthians 5:8 teaches that to be absent in body is to be present with Christ. 

At this dinner party, we discover three attributes every follower of Jesus should develop in their life. 

#1 Work.

In verse two, we see Martha busy preparing dinner for everyone, true to her character. But this time, she isn’t complaining. 

If you recall the last time when she invited Jesus for dinner, Martha complained how Mary was not helping with preparations, but instead, she sat and listened to Jesus teach. 

“Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.” Colossians 3:23

Martha discovered that her work/service brought honor to God. No matter who signs your paycheck, commit your work to God and turn work into an act of honoring God. 

#2 Worship.

Next, we are introduced to Mary, who takes a container of expensive ointment and begins to anoint Jesus’ feet. 

The cost of the ointment takes center stage, valued at a year’s wage. But that should not overshadow the act; instead, it should underscore her offering. 

This offering was not only the best she had, but it was also an act of complete trust in God. Giving the best you have to the One who gave His all for you is the essence of worship! 

“I will not offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God that cost me nothing.” 2 Samuel 24:24

If your worship and devotion to God doesn’t cost you something, you may not be as devoted as you think nor giving your best. 

Some at the party did not understand Mary’s act of worship because it was her response to what God has done for her. 

What has God done for you?

Is your devotion and worship an adequate reflection of who God is and what He’s done for you? You may be thinking, “God has done so much for me I could never match it.” Then make it your life mission to try. 

After pouring this fragrant ointment on His feet, she proceeds to wipe His feet with her hair. Culturally speaking, this was a bit scandalous. So why would Mary do that? 

1 Corinthians 11:15 explains that a women’s hair is her glory. Mary was humbling herself and laying down her glory at Jesus’ feet.

#3 Witness.

Lazarus was a walking billboard of God’s glory. From the minute he woke up each morning to the moment he laid his head down, he was a witness. There was nowhere he could go without people knowing who he was. 

But here’s the thing, his testimony put a target on his back. 

10 So the chief priests made plans to put Lazarus to death as well, 11 because on account of him many of the Jews were going away and believing in Jesus.” John 12:10-11

Why does it seem that when God does something amazing in your life, that suddenly you are blindsided with something that attempts to rob you of your joy?

The reason is your enemy doesn’t want you to glorify God. He will do anything he can to steal God’s glory by silencing your witness. Laz’s life was a witness to the world of the goodness of God. It directed people to the knowledge and existence of God.  

Likewise, your witness points people to the reality of God. You are a testament to God’s ability to save a wretched sinner, restore a broken vessel, and transform a life into a display of His amazing grace.

As you walk out your faith, let work, worship, and your witness be an active part of your life. 

4 thoughts on “Lessons From a Dinner Party

  1. I loved this message Sunday Pastor Mike! Really resonated with me. I need to be Mary and not Martha, always complaining 😉
    Thanks for a great sermon!


  2. Hi Pastor Mike!

    I hope all is well! And that everyone in your lovely family is safe and healthy!

    My BFF is a contra costa teacher and school Resumes Thursday this week part time? Is voluntary for Students to opt in. So far of her 14 students, 4 are coming!

    Is your Children’s school district starting up soon? Am so out of loop as Nick (28!) is my youngest hah!

    Evergreen School district (is that your school district?) is great! My children attended that district from k-10 and then they each chose very different paths for the rest of high school. I purchased my first home in 1994 very close to a vacant lot promised to be “Evergreen Valley high school” 🏫 by the time my little 2 & 4 year olds were ready for HS. And it was! It just didn’t work for each of them for individual reasons.

    I hope your kids are looking forward to normalcy again or a different new kind of “normal?”

    Anyhoo….am sure I could “Google it” but thought I’d say “hi” and ask a question 🙋‍♀️?

    I really have been struggling with the complexities of Martha vs Mary (and have been discussing this in our weekly Wednesday bible study too this same topic!).

    Kelly Minter spoke about Mary just Wednesday night! Your sermon was very well received in my heart so thanks!

    You mentioned in John chapter 12 the Jews were wanting Lazarus dead after Jesus raised him from the dead. Does anyone know how Lazarus eventually died and hopefully this wasn’t completed after resurrection?



    On Mon, Mar 22, 2021 at 11:21 AM Life To The Fullest wrote:

    > michaeljtodd posted: ” In the Gospel of John chapter 12, Jesus and the > disciples are invited to Mary, Martha, and Lazarus’s home. Just a week > before this dinner party event, we learn in John 11 of Jesus’ most > astonishing miracle, raising Lazarus from the dead. The” >

    Liked by 1 person

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