At Jesus' Feet

At Jesus' Feet

Scripture: John 8:1-11, Luke 10:38-42
Date: 10/04/2015 
The touching story of Mary Magdalene. As she spent time learning and praying at Jesus feet, wonderful things happened.

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There's only two records in the Bible of anyone kissing Jesus: Mary kissed His feet and served Him; Judas kissed His face and betrayed Him. Mary was content to kiss the lowest spot; Judas wanted the highest spot and He betrayed Him.

Tonight we are going to be dealing with one of the heroes of faith that is a real interest of mine. You know, she is one of the enigmatic characters that you find throughout the gospel story that appears in a number of interesting geographical situations where she's always at Jesus' feet and, through those stories, we learn a lot about the gospel and we learn a lot about salvation and our relationship with the Lord. And so, today is our case study in our heroes of faith . We're going to find out what the Bible tells about Mary.

Now, to start with, the first passage we're going to consider is from the gospel of John, chapter 8, and it's a story you only find in the gospel of John and it says here - I’ll start with the first verse, "But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Now early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people came to Him; and He sat down and taught them. Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst, they said to Him, 'Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do you say?' This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear.'"

Now, the reason that they had developed this whole trap was because they were trying to get rid of Jesus and they knew that only the Romans were allowed to pronounce the death sentence. And if any of the rabbis or religious leaders pronounced the death sentence on someone, they were going to execute Mary right away - they didn't care. Then they would run to the Romans and say, 'This rabbi, Jesus, doesn't respect your authority' - Jesus would be arrested. If Jesus said, 'No, I don't believe in the law of Moses, they were going to use their stones to create a riot and stone Jesus for rejecting the law of Moses. So they thought, 'Either way, we've got Him now.' And what they did is they created a trap.

There was a young lady that had come to Jerusalem for the feast - this was a feast week - her name was Mary and I believe it was Mary Magdalene. Magdala was a town on the Sea of Galilee that had a notorious reputation - it's where the Roman soldiers went for vacation and if, you know, they have Jesus of Nazareth - the town you're from - Mary Magdalene is Mary of Magdala but, if you were to say it today, you'd say 'Mary of Las Vegas.' you know, that kind of takes on - sin city takes on a whole different scenario and so just the very name meant something. And so they knew what her line of work was and it was easy to set her up.

Now, can you imagine if you were Mary and you're doing something that you shouldn't be doing - it is a sin - and all of a sudden, the religious leaders in the community come bursting into your place of business and without giving you a chance to get properly clothed, they drag you through the streets of the city creating a spectacle as you go and then they bring you to the holiest place on the planet and they throw you down at the feet of the holiest man who ever lived.

Would that be a shameful situation to be in? I can't imagine how embarrassed Mary must have been. But, you know, I heard a preacher say one time, 'that's probably the best place in the world you can be when you're in trouble, is at the feet of Jesus.

Amen!

And there's where she first appears in the Bible - she's at the feet of Jesus. She's in shame and when she recognized that He was willing to forgive her, she thought, 'Now here is a real man of God.' she sensed, in the presence of Jesus, the power and the love of God - and Mary had probably known a few men and they had all had ulterior motives and here was someone who was going to love her with a pure, unselfish love and it broke her heart. And I - whenever I read about Mary Magdalene I think - you've heard this story - looking for love in all the wrong places. A lot of people get into trouble because they're looking for love and that's what she was looking for. And when Jesus loved her with that pure love - that unconditional love - it melted her heart and she became His most devoted follower because she understood something no one else seemed to understand, and I’ll get to that as we go on.

Next study we're going to find Mary is at the feet of Jesus, but now she's doing Bible study. You turn to the gospel of Luke and in chapter 10 you can find where it says that there was a dinner in Galilee - and verse 38 - Luke 10:38 - "Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus' feet and heard His word. But Martha was distracted with much serving and she approached Him and said, 'Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.' And Jesus answered and said to her, 'Martha, Martha,'" - you know, it's the only time in the Bible, I think, the Lord says a woman's name twice. He often said, 'Abraham, Abraham' or the different - 'Samuel, Samuel.' - "'Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed,'" - how many things?

One.

"'One thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.'" like the demoniac we talked about the other night, she's sitting at Jesus' feet, drinking in the word. He's teaching her how not to make the same mistakes that had caused problems in the past. And, you know, when Jesus said that's the one thing, this is so important because you've got two women here - what's a woman represent?

The church.

Sisters - very opposite - one is sitting at the feet of Jesus in love and devotion and drinking in the word and the other is work, work, work. She's serving the Lord, but she's so busy with the work of the Lord, she forgets the Lord of the work. And a lot of people get involved in doing good deeds for church - for the Lord - and they don't have that one-on-one relationship - a personal relationship. Doesn't the Lord say that in the judgment, when He comes, He'll declare to many people, 'Depart from me. I don't know you.' 'Oh, but Lord, we taught in Your streets and we conducted many potlucks and we gave to the orphanages and we went to the hospitals and we took care of the clothes and we went to the prisons and He'll say, I don't know you.' That's why we're saved by a personal relationship with Jesus.

How does that happen? How do you get to know anybody? I didn't marry Karen the first day I met her. When you fall in love with somebody, you communicate. Whenever you're going to love somebody it takes communication - you talk to them, they talk to you. How does God talk to us? That's why we sing that song each night, Give Me the Bible - it's through His Word.

Do you have regular time at Jesus' feet, listening to Him? You need to - you need to make that time. It has to be more important to you than your daily bread. 'I've esteemed the words of His mouth more than my necessary food.' Jesus said, 'Man will not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.' Do you have a devotional life? And, it's not only His talking to you, it's you're talking to Him.

Do you pray? And then, of course, you show it by deeds of service and love, but first you've got to have the love relationship. We love Him because He first loved us. How do we learn about His love for us? When we look in His Word and we see what He did for us, it inspires us with love. So she sits at Jesus' feet and she Hears the word and this Helps her develop that love relationship with Jesus - and we need to have that kind of relationship with Jesus also.

Then we've got another point where Mary is at Jesus' feet praying for her brother that is dead. Now, if you look in John chapter 11, you remember a message comes to Jesus, 'Your friend that you love, Lazarus, is sick.' and Jesus does not come right away to heal Him. Several days go by and, by the time Jesus gets there, Lazarus has not only died, he's been dead several days. And they run to Jesus and you can find Mary, you can see it here in John 11:32, "Then, when Mary came where Jesus was, and saw Him, she fell down at His feet, saying to Him, 'Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.' Therefore, when Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her from the funeral - weeping, He groaned in His Spirit and was troubled. And He said, 'Where have you laid Him?' They said to Him, 'Lord, come and see.' Jesus wept." - that's the shortest verse in the Bible - at least in the English.

You know, Jesus brought them to the tomb and He said, 'Roll away the stone and they said, 'Oh Lord, but this is a - this is bad, you know, He's been dead four days.' And Jesus told Martha, He said, 'Look, I’m going to raise him up.' And she said, 'Well, I know He's going to be raised in the resurrection at the last day,' - which is an important point: when is the resurrection? The last day. I think, three or four times, just in the gospel of John it says, 'The resurrection in the last day.' It's telling us that the day of the Lord - the judgment day - 'When the Lord descends from Heaven the dead in Christ will rise' The Bible says. And He says, 'I’m not talking about that one, I’m going to do something special now. Roll away the stone.' So, reluctantly, Martha instructs the servants and they roll away the stone. And Jesus says, 'Lazarus, come forth.' And, when they roll away the stone, they can smell it. They know he's dead, but then they hear a shuffling, ruffling, muffled noise coming from the tomb and out shuffles their brother, very much alive. And Jesus says, 'Loose Him' - unwrap Him.

Was Mary glad that she spent time weeping at Jesus' feet for her brother? Did He answer that prayer? But, you know, she said, 'What took you so long?' It was later than they thought. So when you're praying for loved ones or someone that you want to have life, you must be patient.

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Sometimes it even looks hopeless. Don't give up. Keep praying. They said, 'Jesus, what took you so long?' I know ladies that have prayed for their husbands like 20 years, that they'd come to the Lord - or longer. Parents that have prayed for their children - 40 - 50 years - and then God works a miracle. I've know people that have come to the Lord years after their parents were dead and I think that God finally made a withdrawal on the prayers the parents had stored in Heaven, that they might find life. And those parents are going to be very happy - they went to their grave thinking their children were lost. In the resurrection they're going to say, 'How'd you get here?' (laughter) And the angels are going to say, 'You know all those prayers you prayed? They were compounding interest and God did something with it.' So we need to spend time believing and praying.

The reason Jesus came into this world is to save the lost. Nothing is more important that praying for the lost and we are surrounded by brothers and sisters that are dead in trespasses and sins. So the church, like Mary, needs to be doing that.

Then we need to spend some time at Jesus' feet in sacrifice. And this is a place where Mary really shines. You can find this story - and they give little perspectives that are different. In the gospel of John chapter 12, it's called the dinner in Bethany . In Mark chapter 14, in Luke chapter 7 - I think I’m going to go to Luke's version in Luke chapter 7, verse 36 - it says, "Then one of the Pharisees asked Him to eat with him. And He went to the Pharisee's house, and sat down to eat. And behold, a woman in the city who was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at the table in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil, and stood at His feet behind Him weeping; and she began to wash His feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head;" - that's a woman's glory is her hair.

This is a symbol of complete submission - at His feet, crying, anointing, kissing His feet - and the fragrant oil filled the house. And Simon, it tells us that He's called 'Simon the Leper' in the other gospels - He was a Pharisee who Jesus healed from leprosy and he has this feast in Bethany - probably the feast that Martha was rustling around and getting ready for - has this feast in Bethany to honor Jesus and Jesus comes and when they see Mary, who had a bad reputation in town, and Jesus is letting her touch Him. Simon says within himself, "This man, if He were a prophet, would know who and what manner of woman this is who's touching Him, for she is a sinner."

There you have it. There's no question about what the Bible says about Mary. He, evidently, thought she was a bigger sinner than he was. "And Jesus answered and said to him, 'Simon, I have something to say to you.'" He said, "'Master, say on.' 'There was a certain creditor who had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing with which to repay, he freely forgave them both. Tell me, therefore, which of them will love him more?' Simon answered and said, I suppose the one whom He forgave more.' And He said to Him, 'You have rightly judged.' Then He turned to the woman and said to Simon, ‘Do you see this woman?'" - everyone saw the woman. They could smell what she had done all through the house. "'...Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet,'" - which was the customary, polite thing to do - "'but she has washed my feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her Head. You gave me no kiss, but this woman has not ceased to kiss my feet since the time I came in. You did not anoint my Head with oil, but this woman has anointed my feet with fragrant oil. Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many,'" - He's not contesting that - she was a big sinner - her sins, which are many, are forgiven,'" - isn't it good to know that Jesus can forgive many sins?

Amen.

And then go - Christ goes on to say, "...for she loved much - her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.'" Is it safe to understand he who is forgiven much loves much? Who is not forgiven much? Simon, evidently, thought that she was a big sinner and He was a little sinner. Cheer up, you're all big sinners. (laughter) There are no little sinners out there. You all qualify, because no matter what you think your list of sins are, what your record looks like, your sins were enough to put Jesus on the cross all by yourself. Everything that Jesus went through, He would have had to go through for you. So you do qualify.

The thing is, do you know how much you've been forgiven? He that knows how much they've been forgiven loves much. And you know how you can tell how much you've been forgiven? How much did it cost to buy your forgiveness? They say, 'How much is something worth?' It's worth what someone'll pay for it. How much was paid for your redemption? Quite a bit. That's how much you're worth. He that knows how much they're forgiven - if you understand how much Jesus paid for you - you will love much.

And He said to the woman, "Your sins are forgiven." Wouldn't you like for Him to say that to us? Here she is, she's making this great sacrifice - she spent enough money to buy a gift for a king and she pours it out on Jesus. You know, she heard Jesus say, several times, Christ, before He goes to the cross, He says to the disciples, 'I’m going to Jerusalem. I’m going to be betrayed into the hands of sinners. I’ll be crucified. I’ll be beaten and judged and I’ll rise the third day.' And the disciples said, 'No, no, Lord. What are you talking about? No - don't - none of that!' The disciples weren't listening. Christ said it so often that even His enemies remembered it. They went to Pilate and said, 'We heard this deceiver say that He'd rise after three days.' His enemies heard it. Mary heard it too. And Jesus said, 'She's come to anoint Me before My burial.

We typically give gifts to people after they're - you know, flowers at their funeral or something. And everyone says these wonderful things after they're gone that they never said when they were alive. Some of them aren't even true and they still say wonderful things, right? Mary wanted to show her love while Jesus was alive. And if you want the Lord to know that you love Him, do it while He's blessing you. She gave a generous gift. Do you think she ever regretted making that sacrifice for Jesus?

Next, what we find, is that Mary is - she's at Jesus feet now in surrender at the cross. Now this is a fascinating picture because, you know, the apostles, in the Garden of Gethsemane, they were very bold and, at the last supper, Peter said, 'Though all men forsake Thee, I’ll not forsake You.' And when the mob first came to arrest Jesus, Peter pulled out a sword, but they all scattered and ran. And then, at the cross, it says that they stood afar off beholding these things, in the gospel of Luke, but if you go to John chapter 19, verse 25, "Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene."

It's the devoted women who were actually there at the cross. The others are standing, watching at a distance. They're afraid, but the women don't care what's going to happen to them. They're willing - they're thinking about Jesus' suffering. They want Jesus to see that they care. They're being sympathetic and empathetic and they're showing their love there at the foot of the cross.

You know, here we see Mary at Jesus' feet again, don't we? Weeping, no doubt, at His feet, beholding Him finally paying the debt for what He had promised earlier when He had said, 'Go and sin no more. I don't condemn you.' All of us, like Mary, need to spend time at Jesus' feet beholding Him as our sacrifice. How many songs are written about the cross? 'At the cross, at the cross, where I first saw the light' 'Beneath the cross of Jesus I will take my stand' 'Jesus keep me near the cross' - why did all these hymn writers write about the cross? Because the cross is the axle on which the gospel rotates. It is the very fulcrum on which the whole Bible pivots.

It's at the cross you see Christ's power of love and it's at the cross you can even see the devil's love for power. You see the great contrast between God emptying Himself at the cross and you see the diabolical villain - the arch fiend - the devil, how he's trying to extract all the suffering. Jesus is saying, 'Father, forgive them.' and it's at the cross we see His love for us.

Next, you see #6 - Mary in service at the tomb. When they took His body down from the cross, the women went along to watch after Him. Mark chapter 15, verse 45, "So when he found out from the centurion, he granted the body to Joseph. Then he bought fine linen, took Him down, and wrapped Him in the linen. And he laid Him in a sepulcher which had been hewn out of the rock, and rolled a stone against the door of the sepulcher. And Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses observed where He was laid." That means they oversaw the care of His body.

You see the devotion even there. And I - you know, before, they didn't have time to anoint His body. The Sabbath was approaching and that was very sacred to Jesus and the apostles. And it says they went home and prepared spices and kept the Sabbath according to the commandment - in Luke chapter 53 - but before they did that, they did wrap Him, because when Jesus rose, there were wrappings that He set aside. Who do you think wrapped His feet? Can't prove it, but I just picture Mary saying, 'Let me wrap His feet.' And the other Mary wrapped the top end and - you can read also about that in Luke chapter 53 - the women, also, they came with Him from Galilee - followed after - they beheld the tomb and how His body was laid.

You know, it's important to sit at His feet, but doing what Martha does is also important and that's service. But you notice the love and the listening comes before the service. Now it's interesting that, when you read in Mark 16:9, it says, 'When He arose early on the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene, which leads us to the next point: Jesus is now - or Mary is now at Jesus' feet in song.

Now think about that: of all the people that Jesus could have chosen to share the good news, why would He pick Mary? Peter had been to the tomb. Maybe His own mother had been there. John had been there - the beloved disciple. He waits until they're all gone and this person that everybody figured was an outcast from society, He reveals Himself to her. You know, if I was the Lord, I would have orchestrated the resurrection differently. I would have had Jesus, like, first appear to Pilate and say, 'Now what do you think?' (laughter) Those Roman soldiers didn't do a very good job keeping me in order.' You know, better yet, I would have gone to the Sanhedrin and then gone to Caiphas and Annas, the high priests and said, 'So, you didn't think I was the Son of God? Now what do you think?' Just look at them, you know, just watch them shake.

Jesus does things differently. He picked someone that was considered the weakest of the weak. The Lord, when He turned the world upside-down, it says, 'Not many wise, not many noble, but He takes people that have simple love.' He doesn't do things like you and I do. He takes humble means. And the Lord then used Mary and gave her the greatest message in the world. He said, I want you to go' - what is the church supposed to do? First we see her coming to Jesus in the temple in repentance. In the end she's going with a song in her heart. This is the last time Mary appears in the Bible. The last time you see her, she is running to tell others that Jesus is alive. He commissions her with the good news to go tell people about the resurrection. And this is what the church is supposed to do.

Here you see the seven points I've just given you. 1) She's at His feet weeping in the temple for forgiveness of sins. 2) She's at His feet praying for her dead brothers and sisters - for resurrection - and Jesus does it. 3) At His feet learning and listening - devotions. 4) At His feet giving. 5) At His feet beholding Him on His cross. 6) At His feet in service. 7) At His feet worshiping and proclaiming Him as the risen Savior.

Amen.

You know, if the Lord can use Mary - if could forgive Mary, He can do that for us, but all of us are like Mary. All of us need to experience those seven points - time serving, listening, praying, worshiping, proclaiming at Jesus' feet. And it begins by coming in sorrow and presenting ourselves. It doesn't matter what our sins are, He is in the business of saving us from our sins. Do you believe that, friends?

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