In the House of Simon the Leper Mk 14: 3-9 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
Jesus resided in Bethany before his crucifixion. In just a few days he would be dead. He had had a big run in with the Pharisees. He had cleansed the temple. But here he is with friends [Jn 11:11]. He was at the home of Simon the leper [Matt 26:6, who was some relation to Martha, Mary and Lazarus (perhaps their father)]; he could even have been Martha’s husband [compare Mk 14:3 “his house” with Lk 10:38 “her house”].
It is interesting that he is called Simon the leper. We know him by his past condition. But then the Bible also says, “where Lazarus was which had been dead,” [Jn 12:1]. We know him by the fact that he had been dead.
So, at this supper, we find:
- Martha the cumbered [Lk 10:40] who is now serving without fuss or complaint [Jn 12:2].
- Lazarus the dead [Jn 11:14] who was now raised from the dead.
- Simon the leper [Matt 26:6] who was now cleansed.
- Mary the saint [Lk 10:39] who was now anointing the body of Jesus for his burial.
What can we learn from knowing bad things about the people who were friends of Jesus, with whom he was enjoying sweet fellowship? We learn that:
We are in need of Jesus. Martha was cumbered. Jesus had reproved her. Reproofs of instruction can be hard to take. But they are beneficial when they are heeded. Now Martha was serving. Simon had been a leper; Lazarus had been dead. Everyone here needed Jesus. Even Mary needed him [Lk 10:42]. We all need him.
We are new creatures in Christ. We are reminded of what they were, so that we can rejoice in what they are now. Jesus knows what we had been. But he fixed that. Simon was no longer a leper and Lazarus was no longer dead. You are a new creature in Christ. In Mk 16:9 we find that Mary Magdalene was the first person to whom Jesus appeared and he had cast seven devils out of her. What grace.
We are Jesus’ friends. Jesus desires fellowship with us; he doesn’t just tolerate us. Sometimes, we sulk about our past and why we are not good enough to be Jesus’ friend because of what we were. Jesus doesn’t care about that. He’s only concerned with what we are now.
We can’t worry about what others think. In Matt 26:8-10 the disciples troubled Mary about anointing the body of Jesus and wasting that ointment. Consider who started this indignation [Jn 12:4]. Judas Iscariot was a devil and the devil is the accuser of the brethren [Rev 12:10]. He’ll stir up some commotion about you if you decide to do something special for Jesus. Don’t stop to appease the critics.
We are Jesus’ testimony. Lazarus had been dead and everybody knew it. Simon had been a leper and everybody knew it. Your changed life can be the cause of others coming to Christ [Jn 12:10-11]. The more you die to the life you had and live to the eternal life you have, the more profoundly your testimony is going to affect those who know you. Do you realize that Mary’s anointing of Jesus was not the first time he had been anointed with ointment from an alabaster box by a woman. In Lk 7:37-38 a woman who was a sinner [with a reputation] did this for Jesus. Her changed life was a testimony to Mary.
We don’t need a bad testimony to have a good one. We have called Mary “the saint” because we don’t know anything bad in her past. You don’t have to have a bad past to have a great testimony for the Lord. Jesus said of her, “Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her [Mk 14:9]. That is quite a testimony. Keep your life clean and stay in good fellowship with Jesus.
Conclusion: Don’t let the fact that you have something bad in your past keep you from enjoying perfect fellowship with Jesus Christ. He changed you when he saved you. And if you haven’t messed up, don’t mess up now. Stay close to the Lord.