• There was only one place on theplanet were Jesus was welcome.
• Even on the 6 days, preceding His crucifixion, Jesus would go to Jerusalem in the daytime but would retreat to Bethany at night.
BETHANY IS THE PLACE WHERE JESUS WAS UTTERLY WELCOME
• Martha welcomed Him into her house. Luke 10:38
• Bethany was home to Mary, Martha, Lazarus and Simon the leper.• Of course, when Jesus comes, so does the 12 disciples. • When Jesus comes, He is treated as if He owned the house.
• Receiving Jesus means giving the place of primacy.• Jesus will not share space with anyone or anything else in that place. • Jesus wants to be more than a guest. • He wants to be Master.
• Receiving Christ also means receiving His entire ministry.• We receive Him in His own terms, not our terms.
• Receiving Jesus also means receiving all who belong to Him. • Those who reject His loved ones reject Him.
• Jesus is looking for a place where He is completely received and welcomed. • Do you have a place for Him?
BETHANY IS A PLACE WHERE WOMEN AND MEN ARE HIS DISCIPLES
• Martha had a sister called Mary who also sat at Jesus feet and heard His word. Luke 10:39
• Mary is sitting in the men’s place. • Mary is sitting with the disciples.
• Bethany is a place where both men and women sit equally at His feet.• Jesus treats men and women as equals.
• But one thing is needful: and Mary hathchosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her. Luke 10:42
• That good part is “to love Christ”.• Many Christians are busy serving God inmany places. Yet many forget the good part and that is to know and love the Lord.
• Are in ministry? Do not forget “the good part?• Are you so busy with working for the Lord you have forgotten the Lord of the work?
BETHANY IS WHERE JESUS IS LOVED AND BEFRIENDED.
• The sisters sent to Him, saying “ Lord,behold, he whom you love is sick…(Jesus said to His disciples) “Our friend Lazarus sleeps, but I go that I may wake him up. John 11:3, 11
• Bethany is the place where Jesus loves His own. • Jesus desires friends over servants. He desires love over servitude.
• Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you. John 15:15
• In the cold temple of Jerusalem God was served. In the warmth of a Bethany home, He was loved and befriended.
• In our church, is Jesus served and loved?• Would Jesus feel at home in your house? • How about your heart?
• And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and hisface was bound about with a napkin. Jesussaith unto them, Loose him, and let him go. John 11:44
• Bethany is the place where God’s people are free from all bondage- from sin, legalism, serving God in the flesh etc.
• Take off the grave clothes and let him go- is the command to the crowd. • Jesus did not unbind Lazarus. He told the crowd to do it.
• We are the Lord’s colleagues in setting others free.• God will not do for us what we can do for ourselves.
• Are we in bondage?• Is the Lord asking us to help set others free?
BETHANY IS WHERE THE SUPREME WORTH OF CHRIST IS RECOGNIZED
• Then took Mary a pound of ointment ofspikenard, very costly and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment. John 12:3
• John 12, Matthew 26 and Mark 4 • It’s a feast for Jesus with cleansed leper Simon and resurrected friend Lazarus. There is eating, laughing, telling stories, playing.• This is a family feasting in the presence of Jesus.
• P240,000 in 2010 (Philippines)• Probably her inheritance, savings, future, her security.
• Extravagant worship. • Profuse loyalty.• Lavish love and devotion.
• What is the most extravagant & lavish gift that you can give the Lord?
• When people allow Christ to break them, the fragrance of His life can be sensed by those around.
• It is impossible to give more than is necessary to Jesus. • There is nothing too costly to lay at His feet.• When we know Him, we will waste our lives gladly and recklessly on Him.
• What about Judas’ and Jesus’ comments? • Helping the poor is also close to God’s heart.
• But Jesus is more important than any ministry. (including medical missions) • Jesus is more important than any doctrine (including Ellen White, vegetarianism & the Sabbath)• Jesus is more important than any person or position.• Christ is central. Everything else is for Him.
BETHANY IS THE PLACE WHERE CHRIST IS MINISTERED TO
• Early in the morning, as he was on his way back to the city, he was hungry. Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, "May you never bear fruit again!" Immediately the tree withered. Matthew 21:18-22 •
• Interestingly Bethany means “house of figs”.• When a fig tree has leaves it means it has fruits.
• Who ministered to Jesus in His hunger? • The home of Mary provided Jesus with food and abode.
• Let this be a warning to us:• Anyone who hoards the benefits he receives from Christ will be cursed.
• The house in Bethany ministered to Jesus. How do we minister to Him now? • By ministering to others.
• And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them. And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven. Luke 24:50,51
• Interestingly, Jesus chose Bethany as the place of His ascension. • Why? It was home. It was close to His heart.
• But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 2: 4-6
• When Christ ascended, we too ascended with Him and are now seated with Him in heavenly places.
• If we ascended and sit with Jesus:• We can walk with Jesus and the assurance of salvation and supremacy. • We can leave a footprint of our Lord wherever we go.