"Celebrating His Victory
We pass from chapter 11 of John to chapter 12. "Jesus therefore six days before the Passover came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus raised from the dead. So they made Him a supper there: and Martha served" (evidently she had not gathered, from the Lord's words to her, that service was wrong; she is still serving - it is all right now); "but Lazarus was one of them that sat at meat with Him. Mary therefore took a pound of ointment of spikenard, very precious, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odor of the ointment."
Here we have the feast, and the feast has several elements. One, represented by Mary and her action, speaks of worship. Once again, it is the appreciation of Christ that is in view. That is worship. Worship - according to God's thought - is always simply the appreciation of the Lord Jesus; bringing up before God the sweet odor of a heart-appreciation of His Son. That may sound simple, but worship in its purest essence is what we think of the Lord Jesus, expressed to the Father. That is worship. The assembly is for that. Bethany speaks of that.
Martha - yes, Martha served. But it is adjusted service. She is still serving, but it is all right; there is no rebuke now. Thee is no circling around of her face with anxiety now; she is not drawn around with care: she is serving in a resurrection house. Here is adjusted service, and service in the Lord's house is quite according to His mind when the service is in fellowship with, and in right proportion to, the worship. There is an adjustment between the sisters now, you see. They were disjointed before, because things were ill-proportioned and out of balance; now the adjustment has been made and they are just getting on constantly together. It is adjusted service.
Lazarus sat at meat, and of course he is the principle of life, resurrection life. That, again, is a mark of the Lord's spiritual house.So we have worship, adjusted service, resurrection life.
Yes, but there is always some sinister thing not far away: "Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor?" When you get the assembly just as the Lord wants it you will always find that the devil is lurking very near. That may be a compliment to the assembly, for anything that the devil does not cast his eye on jealously will surely not be that which is satisfying the heart of the Lord. But it is always like that. Just begin to get something that is according to the Lord's heart, and you find a sinister thing begin to circle around with a view to destroying that worship, to divert that appreciation of the Lord. It becomes a feature of the very assembly itself, that the devil jealously casts his eyes upon what the Lord is getting, and would have that for himself.
You see, the Church is that which brings to the Lord Jesus what He ought to have, and from eternity the devil has been out to rob Him of that, and he will do it in the assembly if he can, because the assembly is that in which the Lord does get what His heart is set upon.
(continued with # 12 - "Outward and Upward")