Samuel Rodriguez - Who's At Your Table?
One of the greatest declarations you can make, you can easily just repeat the words of the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:10, "By the grace of God, I am what I am". Please look at your neighbor and tell them, "This is the bi-product of amazing grace". Yeah. This is what grace does. This is what Jesus did. This is the blood of Jesus, the truth of Jesus, the love of Jesus. I'm so glad you're here. Hey, give it up for Jesus one more time, just for his presence and his mercy. I'm so glad you're here. You may be seated. Once upon a time there was a dinner party, once upon a time there was a dinner party. That dinner party took place right after a very powerful, supernatural encounter that the people of Judea, of Bethany had with the power of God through the declarative presence and expression of Jesus Christ. Once upon a time there was a dinner party, they gathered, John chapter 12. This is under the subject matter of terrific tension. Same series.
If you have not been listening to our series, please listen to our podcast on pray.com or Spotify, iTunes. The reason you should listen is because we've been covering for a number of weeks terrific tension moments between Jesus and not the bad guys, but Jesus and the people around him. Because you are who surrounds you. And on many occasions, you will have moments of what we deem as terrific tension. Some of the greatest truth's ever expressed in the Bible, in the new testament, came about via the conduit of Jesus having a terrific tension moment with the people around him.
Hence today, John chapter 12, this is the dinner party. "Six days before the Passover celebration began, Jesus arrived in Bethany, the home of Lazarus, the man he had raised from the dead. A dinner was prepared in Jesus' honor, Martha served, and Lazarus was among those who ate with him. Then Mary," somebody say, "Mary took a twelve-ounce jar of expensive perfume made from the essence of Nard, and she anointed Jesus' feet. Wiping his feet with her hair". Wow. "The house was filled with the fragrance but Judas," somebody say, "But Judas".
See, notice you gotta juxtapose, "Then Mary," right here and then right here put, "But Judas". Here you have, "Then Mary". But then you have a "But Judas". Notice how it didn't say, "Then Mary, then Judas". It said, "Then Mary", conjunction junction, what's your function. "But Judas the disciple who would soon betray him said, 'that perfume is worth a year's wages! One year's wages! It should have been sold and the money given to the poor'". What a compassionate guy that guy was. And here's what the Bible says, "Not that he cared for the poor, he was a thief and since he was in charge of the disciples' money, the ministry money, he often stole some for himself". So Jesus, he hears Judas say, "No! Don't waste your money on him for that"! Jesus says, "Leave her alone! Leave her alone. Leave her alone".
I wanna speak to you briefly on the subject matter, dinner party, who's at your table? Ask your neighbor, "Who's at your table"? Ask your other neighbor, who will never invite you to their table, ask them, "Who's at your table"? The first point, if you're taking any notes and good luck with that. It's the tension between tears and joy. "A dinner was prepared in Jesus' honor, Martha served".
Who's at your table? So, lets look at the table, the main characters I want to break this down for you, I was compelled to illustrate this. This represents life. The table is a metaphor, this illustration here, even in John chapter 12. It can serve as the prophetic metaphor, a vivid descriptor of what life is all about. To a great degree let me lay out for you, for your prayerful deliberation and consideration the following. This is you and your walk. You and i, we look just like this and you may be saying, "I look like a croissant"? No! No, no. You look just like this, let me explain, this is your life table, you always have to ask yourself who's at your table. So I wanna break down the characters here. Well, you are?
— You're Mary. You're Mary. And this is Mary, so today you're gon' break expensive perfume and your gonna wipe the feet of Jesus with your hair. Thank you for volunteering. You're Mary. So who's Lazarus here? You both can't be Lazarus. Who's Lazarus here? No you can't, you both, so, which one is it? It's you? It's you. You're sure it's you? Okay. So you are? You're Judas. Okay. So you're?
— You are?
— You say, "Judas"? You know, I saw that and you are?
— And you are?
— You're not Peter, dude, Peter's not here! No, no. Okay stop. Jesus! There's no Peter in this story. Oh, go, hold on, we're, and we're streaming live. Hold on a second. To all of our friends and followers around the world welcome to new season! Thank you for our dress rehearsal. Welcome live! We're now live. Here we go. We're gonna illustrate a sermon today and... Who are you?
— I'm Mary.
— Who are you?
— You are?
— I used to be a teacher for 5 years in high school, I went through this a lot. Who are you?
— I'm Jesus.
— Yes! Are there any questions? Alright, true story, this morning I'm meeting with my staff and my production, my creative team, my media director looks at me and says, "Here's the cast, Pastor Sam, here are your volunteers. You're gonna have Mary and then you're gonna have Jesus, and you're gonna have Lazarus and Pastor Jeff is gonna be Judas". And then I looked at it, and then I went "Alright, what's the optic? The only white guy is the betrayer and the thief, right"? I go nope! Flip the script! If you gonna have a black Jesus you're gonna have a white Lazarus. You gonna have a multiethnic diversity. Praise be the Lord! Hallelujah. Hey, glory to God! We're that kind of church.
True story, this really happened. They were all there. So, in your table, you're gonna have the same identical characters. In my table I must be cognizant of the fact and make room that this is my life and in my life I'm gonna have the same identical realities. Let me explain. Right next to Jesus was whom? Lazarus. Lazarus wasn't just anyone! Lazarus wasn't even an acquaintance. Lazarus was Jesus' friend. In John chapter 11 we heard it, we preached the last two weeks. It was Lazarus in John 11 that Jesus cried for when he died. This is the man he prayed for, of course he resurrected and called him out of the tomb, but he cried for him. Stop for a moment. Lazarus wasn't just anyone. Matter of fact, we see Jesus weeping over Jerusalem and weeping over his buddy. So Lazarus was not just "My disciple and my follower, my church member".
This is his friend, arguably one of his closest friends according to many theologians. His friend, and when he died he cried for him. Stop! Who's at the table? Lazarus. The same person he cried for was now at his table. The same person he prayed for was now at his table. I'm here to tell you in Jesus name, make room at your table. You're gonna get this. I need you to make him, do you have enough faith to believe that you will pray with the people you pray for. Lemme do it, are you ready to celebrate with, the same people you cried for are the same people you're about to rejoice with. The same people you went to war for are the same people you're about to worship with. I don't know if you've been praying for someone? Have you been praying for someone? Have you cried for someone? Have you fought things for someone?
Then I need you to make room at your table. Because in Jesus, in Jesus name, everyone's asking, "What's gonna happen now after COVID, what's gonna happen after COVID? What's happening after COVID"? I'mma tell you what's gonna happen after COVID, you're about to sit at the table, with the same people you've been praying for, the same people you've been crying for, the same people you've been going to war for. God has the power. Someone say, "God has the power". To bring to your table, the same people you prayed for and you cried for. You're about to worship God with the same people you went to war for. You're about to have dinner with the same people that were once wrapped up in the past, wrapped up in drama, wrapped up in shame, you're about to come to church. Somebody say, "You're about to come to church".
I'm even go deeper, you're about to have communion with the people you once cried for. If you believe that, give God the biggest shout of "I know it's gonna happen". Anybody here ready to see your family saved? Anybody here ready to see your children and your children saved? Anybody here ready to see your loved ones saved? How many believe in 2022 you will actually worship with and praise with and you're gonna have a Starbucks with the same people you've been crying for and praying for! Acts 11:14 "He will tell you and everyone in your household how they can be saved through Christ". Acts 11:14. Everyone means, everyone. I love this. Who was at the table? The miracle, the answered prayer. In your life, you will have your miracle and your answered prayer. You will see it, it'll be your testimony. And you'll have it with you in your life table, I have a miracle and an answered prayer.
How many already have a viable, verifiable miracle that you can't deny? Anybody here can actually say "Hey, preacher man, no joke, there's something that God did in my life that is so real, that it wasn't man and it wasn't me, it was God". Raise both hands. How many served, and you're serving God and you even have seen God do things in your life that you haven't told other people, because if you tell them they're gonna think you're crazy. That you know, that you know that it was only God, that it was supernatural but if other people would hear it that don't believe, they're gonna think you're coo coo for coco puff and put you away in a paddy wagon. But how many of you can't deny that God showed up when other people did not show up? How many of you cannot deny that the power of God intervened? You're gonna be seated with your miracle at your table.
True story. One year salary. Okay. Right after COVID this is the new determination so right now the average income in America post COVID with inflation numbers included is $62.000 per person. Sixty-two thousand bucks. She spent the equivalent of today's money would be $62.000 for a bottle of perfume that she anointed his feet with. No, no stop. She gave him everything she had. She gave him everything she had. Sixty-two, her entire year salary on a bottle of perfume and she pours it out... How much did your worship cost you? How much does your honor cost you? Cheap perfume goes away after two or three hours. Axe will destroy your skin. But the expensive content will last all day. Religious experiences go away but a relational encounter with the risen Christ will last forever. We don't need anymore Axe wearing Brut 33 believers. We need the kind of believers that carry the kind of anointing that will last through the storm and last through the rain and last through the desert and last through the battle.
Is there anyone here who still smells like you're saved? Is there anyone here? Is there anyone here who still shines like the glory of God has risen upon you? And even though he saved you two years ago or four years ago, some of you have been saved for ten years. How many of you have been saved for 20 years? Some of you have been saved for 30 years. I'm not even gonna ask, I know there's a lady in this place over 80 years of age who has been saved for over 65 years! And why do you still come to God's house and why are you still in love with Jesus? Because you didn't get Axe or Brut 33, you were saved by the grace of Almighty God and your worship! Your worship.
Here it is, 2 Samuel 24:24: "I will not offer burnt offerings to the Lord that cost me nothing". You gave God your worst when you first encountered him, your sins, your past. Now it's time to give him your best, your honor, your worship and your praise. Romans 12:1: "Beloved friends, what should be your proper reason to God's marvelous mercies. I encourage you to surrender yourself to God, to be his sacred living sacrifice, to live in holiness, experiencing all the delights of his heart for this becomes your genuine expression of worship". You are that perfume. You give God your all. Don't give God the cheap stuff. Give him your everything, stop giving God a Sunday for an hour and a half and whine about him Monday to Saturday. Don't give God just a portion of your life, don't give God a religious sort of sentiment, don't give him the cheap stuff.
This woman gave him what? She gave him everything she had. Stop for a second. She gave him everything she had. And Judas, somebody say, "But Judas". And I'mma say this one more time. At your table you have a Lazarus, you have a Mary, you have your miracle and your worship. Your life will be filled of your answered prayer and your worship. Your promise and your praise are together. Your healing and your honor are together. But Judas, Judas said, "No! No! Don't spend $62.418, on that guy! Give it to the poor! No"! He opened up his mouth the moment he saw her worship and her honor. What's the last time your worship was so powerful that it provoked the haters and the lies around you to speak up?
I want you to know that some people will never understand your worship. Some people will never comprehend your praise. Some people will never get why you pray the way you're praying. You praise the way you praise, why you live the way you live, why you give the way you give. They don't get it. Some people will never understand you. If you live the kind of life where people will never question why you do what you do and why you live the way you live and why you praise the way you praise, then you may not be living in the fullness, where God ordained you to live. Because the moment you live, and I'm not telling you to be weird. I am telling you to be wired! What does that mean? She did not come down, she did not say, "By the way, I'm going to do this privately". She did not say, "When everybody else leaves, I'm going to do it". She had Lazarus there, she had the disciples there.
People were in that place, right there in that house, unlimited, but she said, "Even though I'm in public, I could do this privately, but right here! Right now! I don't care who criticizes me, I'm gonna give you everything I got, because you are worthy"! Because you are worthy! We need people to rise up, privately and publicly the moment she did that, he came along and said, "No! No". What provoked her? What prompted her to pour out an entire years salary of perfume? What prompted her? What did Jesus do for her? What did he do for her? What prayer did God answer for her? Yeah. If Jesus would get your brother out of the tomb, would you praise him that way? Would you worship him that way? If Jesus would get your sister out of the tomb, would you worship him that way? Would you honor him that way?
So I need you to get ready. If Jesus would get your family member's out of addiction, would you worship him that way? Would you honor him that way? You're not getting that. I need you to get ready. Tell your neighbor "Get ready"! I need you to tell your neighbor, "What Jesus did for her, he's about to do for you"! I need you to get ready. Your brother is coming out of the tomb! Your sister is coming out of your tomb! Your husband is coming out of his tomb! Your wife is coming out of her tomb! Your children and your children's children, they are coming out of the tomb! The same Jesus that did it for Mary is the same Jesus that'll do it for you! If you believe that, worship him the way that Mary worshipped him! Somebody lift up your hands! Give him glory and give him honor the way that Mary gave him glory and honor.
How many believe with me? That the people you love are about to come out of the tomb? Ah, y'all don't believe it. How many truly believe that we're about to see people come out of the tomb just like it took place with Lazarus? The tomb of sin and depression and fear and anxiety and addiction, if you truly believe that lift up your hands. If you believe God's about to call the people you love out of their tombs, raise both hands. If you believe the same God that did it before is the same God that never changes and he will do it again, raise both hands and a foot. And if you are committed to giving him glory, to worshipping him, to honoring him, with unbridled worship and honor just like Mary did, even if you're criticized, if you're willing to live the rest of your life with a testimony, telling everybody, not, "Look what the devil did". But, "Look what the Lord has done".
Is there anybody here who can say, "Look what the Lord..." Is there anybody in Sacramento, California who can actually say, "Look what the Lord has done"! Somebody worship like God did something amazing in your life! Honor him! Worship him! Praise him! Glorify him! Magnify him! Lift him up! Somebody say, "Look what the Lord has done"! Tell your neighbor, "Look what the Lord has done"! Look what the Lord has done. All the Mary's in the house, worship him! Lift up your hands. We're done. Lift up your hands. We are done. There it is. Stand with me. You are standing, those that are not standing. Jesus... he... oh. If God takes your brother out of tomb, how would you respond?
Get ready, I'm telling you to get your best perfume. I don't mean, you don't have to go to Neiman Marcus or Nordstrom. Your life expression, your testimony. Not just publicly, by the way, your private. What you do in private is always more important than what you do publicly. What you do when no one is watching, and, by the way, to think no one is watching, oh, it's either God or big tech, someone is watching. So help me. Everything, there's no privacy. Get over yourself. Really. Live your private life in such a way, that even when you're alone with him you just go, "I don't deserve to be here. You took the people around my life out of the tombs, but you took me out first". "And I will give you my best, I'm not gonna give you leftovers, I'm not gonna give you my afterthought. I'm not going to wake up in the morning and look at my Instagram account and Facebook and Twitter and my text and go through my agenda for the day and then when I have time pray. You're not my afterthought. I wake up in the morning thinking about you. I go to sleep thinking about you".
There are people that don't get up in the morning. So I get up every morning and I go, "Thank you for life. Thank you for another day to shine you and to praise you, to preach you, to live you, to occupy your promise". If you're getting this raise your hand. Your brothers coming out, your sisters coming out, your husbands coming out, your wife is coming out, your children are coming out. Can we declare it? Your generation is coming out. Can I say one thing? California is coming out of her tomb in the name of Jesus. I'mma do it one more time, you need to hear it. California is coming out of her tomb in the name of Jesus! This state will come out of her tomb because we still have Mary's in California that know how to worship! We have Lazarus's who are living testimonies of, "Look what the Lord has done".
As you stand with me. But Judas didn't understand, Judas couldn't understand cause he was not just a traitor, the Bible says, he was a thief. He sold Jesus out for 30 pieces of silver. In other words, to Judas, Jesus was worth 30 pieces of silver. To Mary of Bethany, Jesus was worth everything. How much is Jesus worth to you? Stop. Who's at the table? Your miracle and your answered prayer. Your life of worship and honor, not just any worship, unbridled, unparalleled, uncensored. The kind of worship that provoked every Judas around you... to speak up.
If your worship does not provoke the Judas around you to speak up, but I want to make you cognizant of the fact, I can't deny it, that at your table, unfortunately but fortunately you'll understand this, Judas will show up. Right next to your miracle, there will always be an attempt by the enemy to disrupt your miracle. Right next to your answered prayer, right next to your calling and your God ordained purpose there will be an attempt to disrupt. Literally the Bible says, he was a thief! Right next to your miracle and right next to your worship. There will be an attempt to steal your joy and steal your peace. The enemies objective is to steal, to take away. He's a thief! John 10:10: "The enemy came to", that's right.