- Sermon Notes
Love Like This
1. Do you love God?
2. If you said “Yes”, then the next question is “How much do you love God?”
3. But the questions do not stop there for there is another question that logically follows the first two; “Why do you love God?”
3. In other words, what is the motive for your love for God?
4. One of the most beautiful pictures of the kind of love that God wants to see in us is found in Matthew 26:1-16.
5. In fact, as we study this passage tonight, we will discover how Jesus literally pointed to this example and said to us all, “Love like this!”
1. Three weeks ago, we concluded our study of the Olivet Discourse in Matthew 24-25. It is called the Olivet Discourse because Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives when He taught His disciples about the things to come in the last days.
2. Jesus gave us the “signs of the times” so that when we see them, we will know the end is near.
3. Jesus concluded the Olivet Discourse with parables. As we noted in our previous studies, there is a sobering personal application for each parable; specifically, that we will give an account for what we did with our lives.
4. This leads us directly into Matthew 26:1-16, where four different scenes are described by the Apostle Matthew; each capturing conversations with or about Jesus.
a. First, Jesus reminded His disciples that He, the Son of Man, would be handed over to be crucified during the Passover. (1-2)
b. The second scene recorded the religious leaders’ plot to secretly capture Jesus and kill Him after the Passover because they were afraid a riot would break out if they did so during the feast. (3-5)
c. During the third scene, we are told that Jesus was anointed with expensive perfume in preparation for His upcoming burial. (6-13)
d. Finally, in verses 14-16, we’re told of the plot between a disgruntled apostle, Judas Iscariot, and Israel’s priests and elders to betray Jesus.
5. As we have seen throughout our study of Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus polarized people. Some loved Him and others, quite frankly, hated Him and wanted Him dead.
6. Not much has changed in over 2,000 years. Some love Jesus and others do not.
Transition – While our focus will be on the third scene, all four scenes have great spiritual significance in their application to our lives. The first application is that the Lord wants our love for Him to be first, fully, and forever. Meaning, we must …
I. Love God with an Extravagant Love
• When we love God first and fully, then our love for Him will be extravagant.
• In the town of Bethany, a dinner was held in Jesus’ honor at the home of a person that Jesus had cleansed; a former leper named Simon. (6)
• While Jesus was reclining at the table, a woman came to Him with an alabaster jar of Spikenard, an extremely expensive perfume.
• The jar itself was expensive since it was made of alabaster, but the perfume, approximately one pint, was valued at more than 300 denarii, almost an entire year’s worth of wages. (Mark 14:5; John 12:3, 5) In today’s economy, that would be about $40,000.
ILLUS – Guys, with Christmas around the corner, I want to help you with some gift ideas …
• In John 12, we are told the woman’s name was Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus.
• In fact, Martha, true to form was serving the dinner, while Lazarus, whom Jesus had raised from the dead just days before was reclining at the table with Jesus. (John 12:2)
• During the dinner, Mary entered the former leper’s home and demonstrated her love for Jesus when she broke open the expensive alabaster jar and poured the perfume on Jesus’ head and feet.
• Mary glorified the Lord further when she humbled herself and wiped His feet with her hair. (John 12:3)
Transition – Why did Mary do this? Because Mary had heard the heart of Jesus and remembered His words.
A. Always remember how much God loves you
1. Remember, Jesus had just told them that He, the Son of Man, would be delivered over to be crucified. (2)
a. It was not the first time that He had said this.
b. In fact, as we have seen in our study of Matthew, Jesus had been preparing His disciples for His death and resurrection early on in His ministry.
2. But we have also seen that His disciples didn’t want to hear this from Jesus, and it also appears that they didn’t fully grasp what His words meant.
3. But Mary had learned something very important from Jesus.
a. She had learned the importance of sitting at Jesus’ feet and listening to His every word.
b. At His feet, I am convinced, Mary heard Jesus’ heart and thought, “If my Lord is going to be crucified, then I will anoint Him now for His burial.”
c. It was an act of extravagant love!
4. Why did Mary love Jesus so extravagantly?
a. Because Mary understood how much Jesus loved her.
b. Jesus had just raised her brother, Lazarus, from the dead; something that was far beyond her greatest expectation. (John 11:20-45)
5. When Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, this miracle taught Mary about God’s power over death; that Jesus is the resurrection and the life.
a. As it was for Mary, so it is for us, a declaration of God’s extravagant love.
b. Personally, this means everything to me.
APPL – You see, if we can only understand and remember how extravagant God’s love is for us, it would radically change our lives forever.
• In fact, we need to understand just how extravagant God’s love is for us so that we may love God first and fully in return.
1 John 3:1, See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are.
• In Luke 7, we are told of another time when Jesus was anointed, but that time it was with perfume and tears. From this passage, we learn why we should love God so extravagantly.
ILLUS – Jesus spoke of two debtors; one who owed 500 denarii and the other 50. The moneylender graciously forgave both of their debts. Jesus asked, “So which one of them will love him more?” (Luke 7:42)
Luke 7:47, For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little.
APPL – May we always remember God’s extravagant love for us so that we may extravagantly love Him in return.
B. Always remember true service follows true love
1. The disciples were indignant with Mary and called her extravagant love for Jesus a “waste”. (8)
2. According to John, Judas Iscariot was the catalyst for the disciples’ outrage. (John 12:4-6)
3. Jesus corrected Judas and the other eleven, saying, “Why do you bother the woman? For she has done a good deed to Me. For you always have the poor with you; but you do not always have Me.” (10-11)
APPL – Jesus was not saying that there is anything wrong with helping the poor.
• The Bible encourages us to have a heart of compassion for those who are in need, and to help them.
• But Mary understood the importance of loving God first, and loving God extravagantly, so that out of the abundance of the heart, we have a heart to serve.
• True service always follows true love!
4. Mary and Martha had both learned this lesson.
Luke 10:38-42, Now as they were traveling along, He entered a village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord’s feet, listening to His word. But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.” But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”
APPL – Mary had chosen the better part; to sit at Jesus’ feet.
• When you think about the life that is effective and accomplishes much, it’s tempting to think the prize will go to the one who works the hardest; the one who sweats the most. But God gives us a better word.
Psalm 127:1-2, Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it; unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman keeps awake in vain. It is vain for you to rise up early, to retire late, to eat the bread of painful labors; for He gives to His beloved even in his sleep.
• Other Bible passages emphasize the same point.
Isaiah 40:29-31, He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power. Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.
ILLUS – Standing on Mt. Carmel where the prophet Elijah prayed, and it began to rain after three and a half years of drought.
James 5:16, The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.
APPL – It’s about a relationship with our loving God! The Holy Spirit will empower us to effectively serve.
Zechariah 4:6, “Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord of hosts.
II. Leave a Legacy of Extravagant Love
• When Mary poured the alabaster jar of perfume upon Jesus, Simon the leper’s home was filled with the aroma of perfume.
• What a beautiful picture of Mary’s heart.
• In fact, all who love God first and fully, extravagantly, are the aroma of Christ.
2 Corinthians 2:14, But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place.
A. Loving God is never a waste
1. As we noted earlier, Judas and the other disciples were indignant when Mary anointed Jesus for His burial. They cried out, “Why this waste?” (8)
2. From John’s Gospel, we’re told the true motives behind Judas’s words.
John 12:6, Now he said this, not because he was concerned about the poor, but because he was a thief, and as he had the money box, he used to pilfer what was put into it.
APPL – Why this waste?
• It wasn’t a waste. Worshiping Jesus is never a waste.
• It was extravagant love.
• Mary loved Jesus first and Mary loved Jesus fully.
APPL – I believe the true “waste” was Judas Iscariot!
• Judas had witnessed firsthand all the miracles that Jesus had done.
• He was there when Jesus calmed and even walked on the Sea of Galilee.
• He saw the cleansing of lepers, including Simon, the host of their dinner.
• He witnessed the casting out a legion of demons when Jesus simply spoke the command.
• And Judas witnessed the raising of Lazarus from the dead after he was in the grave for four days.
• God had revealed so much to Judas Iscariot, but he could only think of himself. What a waste!
APPL – Too many people have only one motivation; themselves.
Philippians 2:3-4, Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.
• God says for very good reason, to focus only on yourself is to poison one’s soul.
• Here’s the deal; Judas was with the apostles, but he was not a true disciple of Jesus!
• It’s not enough to be with Christ’s disciples, you must receive Jesus as your Savior and become a disciple!
• The truth found Judas out for his life took a tragic turn when he agreed to betray Jesus for 30 silver coins!
• What a waste!
ILLUS – Getting wasted in the 60s
B. A legacy of love is a legacy with no regrets
1. Several days later, this same Mary would see Jesus’ prophecy of His crucifixion and resurrection fulfilled before her very eyes.
2. It would be then that she would have no regrets for having loved Jesus so extravagantly.
3. In fact, Matthew recorded Jesus’ words when He said of Mary’s extravagant love, “Truly I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be spoken of in memory of her.” (13)
4. What a legacy! Mary’s life was well-spent because she loved Jesus.
APPL – A legacy of love is a legacy with no regrets.
ILLUS – The legacy of William Borden
APPL – How we live our lives matters.
• Love God first.
• Love God fully.
• Love God forever.
• Lord, help us to love like this!
Matthew 26:1-16 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
1 When Jesus had finished all these words, He said to His disciples, 2 “You know that after two days the Passover is coming, and the Son of Man is to be handed over for crucifixion.”
3 Then the chief priests and the elders of the people were gathered together in the court of the high priest, named Caiaphas; 4 and they plotted together to seize Jesus by stealth and kill Him. 5 But they were saying, “Not during the festival, otherwise a riot might occur among the people.”
The Precious Ointment
6 Now when Jesus was in Bethany, at the home of Simon the leper, 7 a woman came to Him with an alabaster vial of very costly perfume, and she poured it on His head as He reclined at the table. 8 But the disciples were indignant when they saw this, and said, “Why this waste? 9 For this perfume might have been sold for a high price and the money given to the poor.” 10 But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why do you bother the woman? For she has done a good deed to Me. 11 For you always have the poor with you; but you do not always have Me. 12 For when she poured this perfume on My body, she did it to prepare Me for burial. 13 Truly I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be spoken of in memory of her.”
14 Then one of the twelve, named Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests 15 and said, “What are you willing to give me [a]to [b]betray Him to you?” And they weighed out thirty [c]pieces of silver to him. 16 From then on he began looking for a good opportunity to [d]betray [e]Jesus.