Six days before the Lord’s final Passover (12:1) the Lord went back to Bethany to visit Lazarus, and they held a sup-per in His honor (12:2) a few days later at the home of Sim-on the Leper (Mark 14:1-3). He was probably a bachelor, so Martha served (John 12:2). The Lord had probably cleansed him years earlier, but he was still called a leper for the same reason Rahab was still called a harlot even after she became a seamstress (Joshua 2:1; 2:6). Once you get a reputation as a sinner or unclean person, it is hard to shake!
You wouldn’t think you’d find Martha serving after the Lord told her that Mary made a better choice (Luke 10:38-42), but there’s nothing wrong with serving—only in making it a priority over hearing the Word.
Lazarus having supper proves he rose bodily from the dead, just as the Lord’s supping proved (Luke 24:38-43).
Supping with the Lord is symbolic of reigning with Him (Luke 22:29,30; Rev.3:20,21). The king’s business was no doubt discussed at the king’s table. So what we’re seeing here is a type of how, after kingdom saints rise from the dead, symbolized by Lazarus, they reign with Him in the kingdom, symbolized by his supping with the Lord here., cleansed from all uncleanness, as symbolized by Simon. Mephibosheth was so grateful that David let him sit at his table (ISam.9:6,7) that he felt he could never ask for anything else (IISam.19:28). God has similarly set you at His table (Eph.2:6) and we will reign with Him. How could we ask for more? David would have given Mephibosheth anything, but he was ashamed to ask for anything. If God never did anything else for you, He’s done enough.
“Spikenard” was associated with a king (Song of Solomon 1:12) and was administered by the king’s wife (v.13). This king (Solomon) was a type of Christ in the kingdom, just as David before him was a type of the warrior Christ at the Second Coming. That makes Solomon’s wife a type of the bride of Christ in the kingdom for anointing him with spikenard, and Mary a type of the bride for anointing the Lord. The ointment was nearly a year’s wages for a man (John 12:5 cf. Mt. 20:1,2), the most valuable thing she owned. Yet she used it on His feet, a type of the elders who cast their crowns at His feet (Rev.4:10,11). These crowns were their glory, yet they cast them at the Lord’s feet, and Mary’s hair was her glory (ICor.11:15). The odor of the ointment filling the house (John 12:3) is a picture of the glory of the praise of the saints that will fill the future house of God (Rev. 5:8-13), just as the glory of God filled the Old Testament house of God (IKi.8:11).
Judas is identified as Simon’s son (John 12:4), and in this context, probably the son of Simon the Leper. Simon is Greek for Simeon (which means “heard”), meaning his fa-ther heard the Lord and believed and was cleansed from his uncleanness, but his son did not. Judas’ statement (12:5) was picked up first by a few of the disciples (Mark 14:4) then by all of them (Mt.26:8,9). Does that tell you anything about the power of a negative influence (ICor.15:33)? By the way, there was nothing wrong with remembering the poor (Ps.41:1), it was Judas’ motive that was wrong (John 12:6). He just didn’t want to part with the money, so tried to make himself look good by what he said (Pr.29:7). The “bag” (Jo.12:6) was where they put contributions (Lu.8:2,3), but Judas was thieving from it (Acts 1:16-18).
Anointing the Lord for His burial (Jo.12:8) shows Mary had been listening when He said He had to die, while the disciples had not. It is good to help the poor (Deut.15:11) but if you can only do one thing, do the spiritual thing is better, as Mary did.
The chief priests planned to kill Lazarus (Jo.12:9-11) because they were Saducees (Acts 5:17) who didn’t believe in resurrection (Mt.22:23) and he was living proof that their faith was wrong! There was no evidence that he was any great preacher, but his testimony threatened them, and so had to be silenced. Does that give you any idea of the power of your testimony? And the best testimony of all is believing every word of God. That’s what made Mary’s faith famous (Mt.26:13).