Study Guide Available HERE.
If we are living for ourselves, we are still asleep. When we “wake up” we begin to live sacrificially. We live sacrificially because that is how God exists. Jesus demonstrated that God existed sacrificially by coming to earth and becoming a sacrifice for us. Now He calls us to live like Him.
Ephesians 5:1-2 (NLT) Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are His dear children. 2 Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered Himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.
It seems like a tall order doesn’t it? Imitate God in everything you do. After all you are His Children. It is natural for children to act like their Dad. Live Like Jesus. He loved us so much that He offered Himself as a sacrifice.
The Narrative – Mary of Bethany
An Incredible Act. You can read this story for yourself in Matthew 26:7-13; Mark 14:3-9: and Here in John 12:1-8.
Mary was a devout follower of Jesus. Just before Passover, she and her sister Martha hosted a feast for Jesus and His disciples. Mary sat at Jesus’ feet every chance she could while Martha remained busy in the kitchen. Mary gathered her precious gifts (including the extravagant perfume) and a broken heart made whole.
Mary understood, as many women do, things that she could not articulate, but knew to be true. So instead of speaking, she acted. Her act granted her an opportunity all others were denied, the anointing of Jesus’ body for burial.
John 12:3 (NLT) Then Mary took a twelve-ounce jar of expensive perfume made from essence of nard, and she anointed Jesus’ feet with it, wiping His feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance.
In that moment, She worshipped Jesus. What was happening around her, was not going to inhibit what was happening within her. She smelled like Jesus. The cost was no object. Love was the object, worship was the reason. She looked like Jesus. She had no way of knowing that she had just perfectly captured in an image, what Jesus was about to do for all of us.
Misunderstood and Misinterpreted. No one understood Mary’s action. There was no precedent for this in Jesus’ day. People didn’t just go around throwing their life’s savings in perfume on people. (Although, it happened to Jesus twice.)
Matthew 26:8 (NLT) The disciples were indignant when they saw this. “What a waste!” they said.
Can you believe anyone could think that you could waste anything on Jesus? But for Judas, who was about to sell him out for a slaves’ price, anything was too much.
Mary didn’t care. She didn’t walk into that room for the approval of 12 clueless disciples. She was the teacher that day and still teaches us about sacrifice today. Once you discover Mary’s sacrifice and actions, you will better comprehend the Gospel itself.
Defended and Honored. If anyone in Scripture had learned that the best defense is Jesus, it was Mary. While Mary spent her time resting in Jesus’ presence, Martha tirelessly served Him and His disciples. Martha implored Jesus to make Mary help her with the feast. Meanwhile, Mary lavishly poured a year’s income upon the priceless one’s head and feet. She definitely wasn’t in the good graces of the people around her that day.
John 12:7 (NLT) “Leave her alone.”
“Leave her alone”, let that echo in your ears. All hell rises to accuse, but it doesn’t matter when Jesus is your Defense Attorney. If we would hear that spoken over us, no rumor, abuse, accusation or slur would ever stick to us again.
What To Do? WWGD – What Would God Do?
God would be patient. We get stuck on the judgments of God and overlook the mercy of God that has been rejected again and again.
God is persistent. God doesn’t quit. God doesn’t give up. God keeps at it. Man has walked away from God untold millions of times. Yet God, the Hound of Heaven as Francis Thompson discovered, keeps popping back into your life.
God would confront. One does not have to wonder if they are in trouble with God. Without Christ, they are. With Him, they are not. Israel’s many rebellions against God were not in ignorance. God sent the messengers. God called them back again and again, back into the relationship.
God would give. God gave His Son. When in doubt, imitate God. What would He do? Then do that. Ask Him what to do and then let Him lead you to the answer.
WDJD – What Did Jesus Do? So many things, but it can all be summed up in His Sacrifice. Jesus laid down His life for his enemies. For God’s Children. For You. Please, let Jesus’ sacrifice define your understanding of Love. Follow Jesus’ example, and lay down your life.
2 Corinthians 2:16 (NLT) To those who are perishing, we are a dreadful smell of death and doom. But to those who are being saved, we are a life-giving perfume. And who is adequate for such a task as this?
It Makes Scents
Wake up from your slumber and begin to live sacrificially. Imitate God and follow Jesus’ example. Let there be no doubt that you are God’s child and that you carry God’s message. Demonstrate God’s love in all things.
Challenge: So what are we gonna lay down this week? For Who?
Talk About It…
- Highlight or underline any words or phrases that you find interesting in Ephesians 5:1-2 printed at the beginning of this guide. Discuss your selections with the group.
- Read this story from Matthew 26:7-13, Mark 14:3-9, or John 12:1-8. What do you think this story means? What does this story make you feel? Why?
- What do we learn about Jesus in this story? What does Mary’s act teach us about people? What do the disciple’s reactions teach us about people?
- What is God like? Where do we get our ideas about God? How might we imitate God?
- What are some things that Jesus did while on earth that impress you? How could we follow His example.
- Discuss 2 Corinthians 2:16. What kind of “scent” do we give off? What is the cause of this “scent”? Are there any consequences of having no “scent”?
- What did you discover that you would be excited to share with a friend?
For The Kids
Video Share link – https://youtu.be/nsEjytxnDBM
- Check out our Partner site – PursueGodKids.org
- Here is a great one for today
- At the bottom of the page there are teacher packs for each age group.
- Select the one appropriate for your children’s ages.
- There are activity sheets in the teacher pack.