Have you ever spent money or time or some other resource in a way that seemed wasteful to others but was meaningful and worthwhile to you? Share with the group.
This Sunday, our guest preacher, Zach Carstens, led us in a reading of John 12:1-11, pushing us to ask ourselves, “How much is Jesus actually worth?”
Re-read the text together. Identify the main players in the story.
- What do we learn about Jesus here?
- What do we learn about Judas here?
- What do we learn about Mary here?
Is there anything in this story you don’t understand? Anything you find interesting or challenging?
Why do you think this story is in the Bible? What’s important about it? What do we need to see/know/do?
Zach said on Sunday that church in America is on a reservation. He said, “We're tolerated but we need to stay in our place and not get in the way.” Has that been your experience? What does it mean to be a Christian in America right now? Is it hard? Is it inconvenient?
We said that in this story Mary's love matches Jesus' worth, and Judas' love (for money) contradicts Jesus' worth.
Is there anything you love that contradicts Jesus’ worth? Anything competing for your attention, loyalty, or devotion?
Consider the following questions from Zach:
- What is Jesus actually worth to you?
- Does your love for him match his value?
- Does pouring out a year's wages as a gesture of your love seem insane to you?
- Does letting Jesus have his way, even if it leads to war with Rome, seem insane to you?
- Does trusting him blindly, taking your hands off the wheel and your eyes off the bank statements, seem insane to you?
- Does going to war with our wicked culture seem too risky, too costly, to you?
Do any of those questions make you feel uncomfortable? Which one(s)? Why?
Have you ever had a Mary moment--a time when you got to show your love for Jesus in a dramatic and luxurious way? Do tell.
What about a Judas moment? Have you ever let some excuse get in the way of a powerful, heartfelt sacrifice?
Make a list of things you love that are contradicting Jesus’ worth, loyalties getting in the way of you giving God your whole heart. Pray together as a group that God would overthrow those strongholds in your heart.
Be sure to tell Jesus you love Him in the prayer tonight.
If you have some extra time, here’s a monologue delivered from the perspective of Mary about that moment when she washed Jesus’ feet: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hzoUPeac2hA