WWW OF SET-APARTNESS! - John 12:1-11

Shabbat Shalom all,

Wayyiqra/Leviticus 19:2 “Speak to all the congregation of the children of Yisra’ĕl, and say to them, ‘Be set-apart, for I יהוה your Elohim am set-apart.

This verse is part of our Torah readings that we will be doing in the morning, and what is being expressed here is very clear: Be set-apart! The word for ‘speak’ is דָּבַר  daḇar – Strong’s H1696 meaning, ‘to speak, command, counsel, declare, proclaimed, converse, warn, threaten, promise’, and is also the Hebrew word that is used for ‘WORD’. In a nutshell we see here that The Word for Yisra’ĕl is this: Be Set-Apart!!! And it is obedience to The WORD that sets us apart!

Tas’loniqim Aleph/1 Thessalonians 4:7 “For Elohim did not call us to uncleanness, but in set-apartness.

Set-apartness in the Greek is ἁγιασμός  hagiasmos – Strong’s G38 – ‘consecration, sanctifying’. To ‘consecrate’ means ‘to make or declare to be set-apart and be devoted to a purpose with the deepest irrevocable dedication’. We, as a chosen, set-apart and royal priesthood unto Elohim, declare and make our lives solely devoted to the purpose of serving and worshipping יהוה our Elohim, and as we have certainly learnt through the Torah portions of ‘drawing near’ to Elohim, that we can only do so by the Blood of Messiah, as we are continually being set-apart in Him through an on-going process  of being sanctified as a people for a possession. The Hebrew term equivalent to this Greek ‘hagiasmos’ is קָדוֹשׁ qadosh – Strong’s H6918 meaning, ‘consecrated, set-apart’ for which we have been called:

Shemoth/Exodus 19:6 “and you shall be to Me a reign of priests and a set-apart nation.’ Those are the words which you are to speak to the children of Yisra’ĕl.

Being set-apart has to do with separation and that is exactly what we have been called to do – be separated from that which is of the world, while still living in the world:

Qorintiyim Bet/2 Corinthians 6:17 “Therefore, “Come out from among them and be separate, says יהוה, and do not touch what is unclean, and I shall receive you.

To be set-apart means that we must not be found to be whoring after the nations, as Yisra’ĕl did and were vomited out by the land, but rather be shining the light of the Truth through our undefiled set-apart living unto the Master in every area of our lives!

While we recognise that the Word clearly teaches us to be set-apart, we often find that many fail to remain set-apart , as they find themselves hindered by the pressures of the world and the afflictions that surround us on a continual basis, and tonight I want us to be reminded that we, who have been called to set-apartness, must remain steadfast in our set-apartness, so that is may clearly be visible in our lives, no matter where we may find ourselves. Tonight in a message called, “WWW OF SET-APARTNESS!”, I would like us to look how we are to be a pleasing aroma of complete set-apartness unto Elohim. To do this I would like us to look at an event that took place 6 days before the Passover where יהושע offered up His life for the ransom of many, and learn from the account of 3 key characters that picture for us the WWW of Set-Apartness! Please turn with me to Yoḥanan/John 12:1-11 (Read)

Here we are given an account of a very great event that teaches us so much, and as we look at this supper that was made for our Master, we are able to learn a great deal from the lives of three people. Martha, El’azar and Miryam are the 3 that I would like us to look at briefly tonight, and learn a little more on our called for set-apartness as we can collectively learn from these three the WWW OF SET-APARTNESS. WWW does not stand for ‘world wide web’ in this message tonight, so I am not asking you to go and search the internet on how to be set-apart – because we have His Word that teaches us that! The WWW of this message means, WORK, WITNESS, and WORSHIP, and as we take a brief look at each one of these 3 we are able to be reminded of our called for set-apartness that must be clearly seen in our WORK, WITNESS, and WORSHIP unto the Master, in all we do!

Qolasim/Colossians 3:17 “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the Name of the Master יהושע, giving thanks to Elohim the Father through Him.

In Chapter 11 we are told how יהושע raised El’azar from the dead and now here in Chapter 12 we come to an event that took place six days before the Passover, in Bĕyth Anyah where El’azar was. A dinner was prepared in honour of our Master יהושע, and Marqos wrote that this took place at Shim’on the lepers house (Marqos/Mark 14:3), and it was certainly a joyous occasion with Martha, El’azar and Miryam there, after all we are told in:

Yoḥanan/John 11:5 “Now יהושע loved Martha and her sister and El’azar .

El’azar had been risen from the dead and where there was once weeping and sorrow there was now great joy and praise in the House of Shim’on the leper! What is well worth mentioning here is that this house was located in Bĕyth Anyah, which in Greek in called Βηθανία Bēthania – Strong’s G963 which means, house of affliction, house of dates, house of misery, which was translated from the two Hebrew words: 1) בַּיִת bayith – Strong’s H1004 meaning, house, home, building and 2) עָנִי aniy – Strong’s H6041 which means, poor, afflicted, humble, opressed, which comes from the root עָנָה anah – Strong’s H6031 which means, to be bowed down or afflicted, distressed, violated.

This town called Bĕyth Anyah (the house of affliction) was the home town of Martha, El’azar and Miryam, and we can learn from this that while we may live in a time of being continually surrounded by great affliction, as we live in the world but are not of the world, we must find great comfort in realising that the Master is with us, and that we must never stop living set-apart lives unto Him, even though we live in the midst of affliction! Do not stop your WORK, WITNESS, and WORSHIP of complete set-apartness unto the Master! This was the town where El’azar was raised from the dead, and pictures for us the great work of redemption that יהושע Messiah has brought us, and when considering this I am reminded of the following verses:

Tehillim/Psalm 107:41 “But He raises the poor up from affliction, and makes their clans like a flock.

The root word for ‘affliction’ here is עֳנִי oniy – Strong’s H6040 which  means, affliction, great pains, misery, which comes from the root עָנָה anah – Strong’s H6031, as mentioned already above.

Tehillim/Psalm 119:50 “This is my comfort in my affliction, for Your word has given me life.

Tehillim/Psalm 119:92 “If Your Torah had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction.

In the great praise for the Torah, Dawiḏ certainly expresses that without the Torah we would have no proper direction and would be on a path to destruction. And when being surrounded by, or dwelling in, a place of affliction we have comfort in recognising the fruit of meditating on the Torah day and night, and that in the working out our deliverance with fear and trembling through obedience to the Torah, we are able to set our expectation perfectly upon the favour that is to be brought to us at the revelation of יהושע Messiah. This supper being given at the house of Shim’on in Bĕyth Anyah, and the celebration of the raising of El’azar, which many came to witness, caused a great stirring among the chief priests that not only sought to kill יהושע, but also El’azar because on account of him many of the Yehuḏim believed in יהושע! Amidst the threats of being killed, Martha, El’azar and Miryam could enjoy a great evening and supper with the Master and this also reminds me of the verse in Tehillim/Psalm 23 (v.5)that tells us how יהוה, Our Shepherd, spreads before us a table in the midst of our enemies!

Bĕyth Anyah was also the place where Yoḥanan immersed and was confronted by the Pharisees:

Yoḥanan/John 1:28 “This took place in Bĕyth Anyah beyond the Yardĕn, where Yoḥanan was immersing.

Why I am emphasising the events that took place here at Bĕyth Anyah, is to simply remind us that we can be strengthened and take great courage in our Master, knowing that having been immersed in Him, and as we stay in Him and He stays in us, we can be more than overcomers in Him who has overcome the world!

Yoḥanan/John 16:33 “These  words I have spoken to you, that in Me you might have peace. In the world you have pressure, but take courage, I have overcome the world.

Now that we are able to learn and be comforted in knowing that we can have peace in the Master, and that we are able to partake of His Table with great joy, let us look briefly at Martha, El’azar and Miryam, as they collectively picture for us the WORK, WITNESS, and WORSHIP of a called for set-apartness!

1 – MARTHA – (WORK)

Μάρθα Martha – Strong’s G3136 means, she was rebellious. As we look at the service that this loved one of the Master brings, we can learn that while her name may mean that she was rebellious, we can clearly see from Scripture that she was certainly no longer rebellious. This reminds me that we are all sinners who have fallen short of the esteem of our Master, and we were all rebellious at some point in our lives! I sincerely hope that none of us find ourselves rebelling in any way against the set-apartness that we have been called to; so that we may serve with joy and great gladness of heart, and not in bitterness and heaviness! A supper was made for the Master and Martha served – this in itself shows me that she was in no way rebellious at all, but rather that she was a good servant! She ‘served’, which is the Greek word διακονέω diakoneō – Strong’s G1247 and means, to be an attendant, wait upon, serve, minister, support. This is our role too – the English word ‘deacon’ is derived from this word and speaks of being in a responsible position of serving others and ‘waiting on them’. Our role as a chosen, royal and set-apart priesthood is SERVICE – and that service is a service which guards the duty of the Set-Apart Place. Serving יהוה is a privilege and not a chore, and we are to serve יהוה cheerfully in whatever place or position He gives us, being continually aware that the opportunity to serve is a wonderful gift.

We have a role as a priesthood – to serve and do it with great alertness and joy, guarding the commands of Elohim, that are not heavy!!!

Mattithyahu/Matthew 20:25-28 “But יהושע called them near and said, “You know that the rulers of the gentiles are masters over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. 26 “But it shall not be so among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you, let him be your servant. 27 “And whoever wishes to be first among you, let him be your servant, 28 even as the Son of Aḏam did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.

Martha pictures for us our ‘work’ of set-apartness, and as I mentioned earlier from Qolasim/Colossians that whatever we do, in word or deed, we do all unto the Master! If what we are speaking or doing is not fitting, and cannot be rendered as appropriate speech, thoughts or actions toward our Master, then we should not be thinking, speaking or doing such things!

No matter what occupation you may find yourself in, you are to render your work or service with pleasure, as to the Master, and not to men! This you are to do without grumbling!!! Do you ever find yourself moaning about the work that is required of you? This should not be when you consider who you are rendering service with pleasure to!

If you grumble and moan about your required work, then you render yourself unable to shine the light of true set-apartness through your work and are in danger of being an unfit vessel which is of no use in the House!

The Blood of Messiah has cleansed us from sin, and we are to stay clean through the continual washing of the Word, and by doing so we learn how to keep away from the things that defile our set-apartness:

Timotiyos Bět/2 Timothy 2:21 “If, then, anyone cleanses himself from these matters, he shall be a vessel unto value, having been set apart, of good use to the Master, having been prepared for every good work.

As we ‘work’ unto the Master in all we do we must take careful note of the clear warning not to expect to be thanked or rewarded for simply being obedient and doing what is required of us!

Luqas/Luke 17:7-10 “But who of you, having a servant ploughing or shepherding, would say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come immediately and sit down to eat’? 8 “But would he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare somewhat for my supper, and gird yourself and serve me while I eat and drink, and afterward you shall eat and drink’? 9 “Would he thank that servant because he did what he was commanded? I think not. 10 “So also you, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants, we have done what was our duty to do.’

There are some today who assume to have a right to some reward, or think that they have a right to be served when they have been obedient to the commands! Our service never stops, and simply doing what is required does not entitle one to special privileges over another; and we are to always remember to do anything through selfishness or self-conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves, always ready to serve and do so with joy!

2 – EL’AZAR – (WITNESS)

The Greek name used here is Λάζαρος Lazaros – Strong’s H2976 and means, who El helps, which is a contraction of his proper Hebrew name אֶלְעָזָר El’azar – Strong’s H499 meaning, El has helped, coming from the two Hebrew words: 1) - אֵל Ěl – Strong’s H410 meaning, mighty one, shortened form of Elohim, and 2) - עָזַר azar – Strong’s H5826 which means, help, relief, aid, support. Elohim certainly ‘helped’ El’azar – he raised Him from the dead, after being in the tomb for four days!!! He who had been helped was now sitting at the table with the Master! The Greek term used for ‘sat at the table’ is

συνανάκειμαι sunanakeimai – Strong’s G4873 which means, to recline with (at the table), dining, dinner guest, feast together, and comes from the two words: 1) - σύν sun – Strong’s G4862 which is a primary preposition meaning, with, together with (expresses association with), accompany, companion, and 2) - ἀνάκειμαι anakeimai – Strong’s G345 which means, to be laid up, reclined, dinner guest, appointed, destined. El’azar pictures for us how those whom Elohim has helped have the assurance of being appointed a seat at the Wedding Feast of the Lamb. Having this expectation that awaits us who have been delivered and helped, we are reminded that we are to be bold ambassadors and witnesses of that Kingdom Reign that is coming! The witness of the raised life of El’azar caused many to come to believe in the Master, יהושע Messiah, and with that witness there also came the threat of persecution unto death from the enemy!

El’azar was reclining at the table with the Master, and was not threatened by any of the commotion that his raised life was bringing! Having been buried with the Master through immersion into death, we must walk in the newness of life that He has brought us through His resurrection:

Romiyim/Romans 6:7 “We were therefore buried with Him through immersion into death, that as Messiah was raised from the dead by the esteem of the Father, so also we should walk in newness of life.

Qolasim/Colossians 3:1 “If, then, you were raised with Messiah, seek the matters which are above, where Messiah is, seated at the right hand of Elohim.

‘Reclining at the table with the Master’ is a picture of freedom from enslavement and deliverance from death, and by His life, death and resurrection, being immersed in Him we are able to partake of the Master’s Table. Having said that we also must hear the clear separation of knowing that we cannot partake of the table of the Master and the table of demons, and herein lies the clear essence of our set-apart witness of whose Table we partake in! We are told that in Ḥazon/Revelation 12:17 that the dragon will fight against the remnant faithful, that is those who are guarding the commands of Elohim and are possessing the witness of יהושע Messiah! We possess His witness by guarding His commands and being steadfast as good ambassadors of His coming reign! Reclining at the table also pictures for us a rest in the Master, which in turn pictures for us the witness we are able to shine by guarding to keep the Sabbath completely, as we ‘feast with the Master’ each week together! Therefore we are able to recognise the WITNESS  of our set-apartness through our obedience, and not being threatened or called to compromise away from the needed guarding of the Sabbath in any way!

How is your ‘WITNESS’? Do you shine the light of the Truth, that can be clearly evidenced through your obedience to the Torah? Are you a good ambassador of the coming Kingdom Reign of the Master? Ela’zar’s witness brought about people who came to believe in יהושע Messiah, as well as people who wanted to kill him, and this is no different to any true ambassador of Messiah! Our ‘witness’ of the resurrected life of יהושע Messiah living in us must be clearly visible through our complete shalom filled submission and obedience to the Master, amidst the threats of affliction!

3 – MIRYAM – (WORSHIP)

The Greek name used here is Μαρία Maria  or Μαριάμ Mariam – Strong’s G3137 which means, rebellious, which is of Hebrew origin, and her name was מִרְיָם Miryam – Strong’s H4813 which means, bitterness, rebellion’, as it comes from the word מְרִי meri – Strong’s H4805 meaning, rebellious, rebels, bitter and comes from the primitive root word מָרָה  marah – Strong’s H4784 meaning, to be contentious, disobedient, hostile, provoke, openly defiant of authority.

Once again we are able to see a women who showed complete submission in her worship, picturing for us a complete deliverance from rebellion, a deliverance that the Master brings! Miryam took all she had and poured it out at the feet of the Master, as we are told in the account of Marqos/Mark 14:8 that יהושע said, what she had she used’. Herein lies a powerful picture of pure set-apart worship unto the Master – and that is to use all you have unto the Master! When Mosheh asked יהוה what he should do if the people did not believe him, יהוה asked Mosheh what was in his hand. יהוה will use that which is in your hand, as long as you are willing to give it up to Him in worship! Worship is not just about singing and praising, it is in what we do with what we have, be it in with the physical means as well as with our talents and gifts that He has given us. Our worship comprises of our ability to give Him our all in all!!!

She took a pound of costly perfume of nard and anointed the Master’s feet – an act that He said was to be told in remembrance of her, wherever the Good News would be proclaimed!

The Greek word used here for ‘perfume’ is μύρον muron – Strong’s G3464 meaning, ointment, perfumed oil, which is translated from the Hebrew word מֹר mor – Strong’s H4753 meaning, myrrh and is a white gum, issuing from the trunk and larger branches of a thorny tree resembling the acacia; Its taste is extremely bitter; but its smell, though strong, is agreeable to the senses and carries a very pleasant fragrance. It comes from the root word that means bitter. It was often used as a perfume as well as a medicine for stomach ailments. Miryam poured out what she had in total surrender and submission, and with her name meaning rebellious and being closely related to the word that means ‘bitter’ we are reminded of the place called ‘Marah’, where the Yisra’ĕlites came to and were unable to drink the waters of Marah, for they were bitter, so they grumbled against Mosheh and asked him what were they supposed to drink. Mosheh then cried out to יהוה who showed Mosheh a tree, and when Mosheh threw the tree in the waters, the waters were made sweet (Shemoth/Exodus 15:23-26)!

Here in at this supper Miryam came and humbled herself at the feet of the Master, the Tree of Life and the True source of Living Water; and Messiah is the One who has taken our bitterness and rebellion upon Himself and nourished our lives, making that which was once bitter, sweet in Him, as we surrender our all unto Him in pure faith!  

The Greek words used for ‘nard’ is πιστικός pistikos – Strong’s G4101 which is an adjective that means, trustworthy, pure and comes from the noun πίστις pistis – Strong’s G4102 meaning, faith, belief, faithfulness’. The second Greek word used here for ‘nard’ is νάρδος nardos – Strong’s G3487 which means, nard, ointment of nard, and was a highly prized aromatic oil that was extracted from the spikenard, which is a a plant that grows in India. This ointment being poured out here indicates that which is most precious, and Messiah told Martha in Luqas/Luke 10:42 that Miryam had chosen the good portion! Our belief is much more precious than gold that perishes, and when proven by fire might be found to result in praise and respect and esteem at the revelation of יהושע Messiah.

This Greek word νάρδος nardos is used in the LXX (Septuagint – Greek translation of the Tanak) in:

Shir HaShirim/Song of Songs 1:12 “While the sovereign is at his table, my nard shall give its fragrance.

I find this verse a very fitting and powerful verse that speaks of a loving Bride being a sweet fragrance to Her Husband as she gives Him her all, and the Hebrew word used here for ‘nard’ is נֵרְדְּ nerd – Strong’s H5373.

Miryam’s perfume speaks of the sweet smelling fragrance of an acceptable offering that we are to be, as a faithful remnant bride, unto our Masters and King, for this is our reasonable worship!

Romiyim/Romans 12:1 “I call upon you, therefore, brothers, through the compassion of Elohim, to present your bodies a living offering – set-apart, well-pleasing to Elohim – your reasonable worship.

Pilipiyim/Philippians 4:8 “Indeed I have all and more than enough. I have been filled, having received from Epaphroditos what you sent, a sweet-smelling fragrance, an acceptable offering, well-pleasing to Elohim.

This perfume was costly! And the Greek word used here for ‘costly’ is πολύτιμος polutimos – Strong’s G4186 which means, great price, very costly, very precious, and is constructed form two words: 1) - πολύς polus – Strong’s G4183 meaning,much, many and τιμή time – Strong’s G5092 which means, (to value, honour), a valuing, price, honour, honourable use, mark of respect. The Greek word πολύτιμος polutimos is only used in one other place in the Renewed Writings (N.T.) and it is used in describing the Reign of the Heavens:

Mattithyahu/Matthew 13:45-46 “Again, the reign of the heavens is like a man, a merchant, seeking fine pearls, 46 who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.

What we take note of here is that this parable of the reign of the heavens being described as one pearl of great price being found, speaks of the finding of the entrance to the Reign, as we take careful note of the description of the New Yerushalayim, where we are told that it has 12 gates and each gate is a giant single pearl, upon which the 12 tribes of Yisra’ĕl is written upon them!

The Greek word τιμή time – Strong’s G5092 is used in:

Qorintiyim Aleph/1 Corinthians 6:20 “For you were bought with a price, therefore esteem Elohim in your body and in your spirit, which are of Elohim.

Bought with a price! Now hear the call for pure set-apart worship – and that is to give your all unto Elohim, which is what Miryam did!

As we worship with our all and live our lives in the complete set-apartness that is called for then we are the fragrance of Messiah:

Qorintiyim Bět/2 Corinthians 2:15-16 “Because we are to Elohim the fragrance of Messiah among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. 16 To the one we are the smell of death to death, and to the other the fragrance of life to life. And who is competent for these?

Therefore, in understanding our need to worship in Spirit and in Truth, we must realise that there can be no compromise in our lives, for that would render our ointment as no longer being a sweet smelling fragrance before Elohim, but rather would become a stink!

Qoheleth/Ecclesiastes 10:1 “Dead flies make the perfumer’s ointment stink, ferment; a little folly outweighs wisdom, esteem.

Dead works and compromise will only contaminate the perfumer’s ointment and render it as ‘stink’ before the Master. Let me ask you – “are there any dead flies in your ointment?” Flies in Scripture can be referenced to that which renders a false and corrupt worship that leads to death and the title בַּעַל זְבוּב Baʽal-Zeḇuḇ - Strong’s H1176 which means, lord of flies’, was a false mighty one worshipped by the Philistines at Eqron that Aḥazyah had sent his messengers to inquire of instead of seeking  יהוה (Melaḵim Bět/2 Kings 2:2), and is also a title that is commonly used in referring to Satan as the prince of demons! The 4th plague in Mitsrayim was of flies and was a direct attack on the established worship system of which you can read more about in out Torah commentaries.

What I am simply trying to point out here is that we have been given clear instructions through the Torah of Elohim on how we are to WORK, WITNESS and WORSHIP in set-apartness; and any form of compromise in our lives will render our set-apartness as incomplete and defiled, for which we must guard against, as we allow the Word of Elohim to wash our hands and feet – that is our work and walk – every day, letting our lives bear the true witness of the Master amidst a war of affliction!

We recognise through the words of Yehuḏah from Qerioth that there will always be those who put on the appearance of worship, yet lack the power; who will ridicule and mock our complete worship unto the King. When we give our all, it will come with ridicule, slander, criticisms and affliction, even from within your own household; yet we must consider the great price that has been paid for us, and not be held back through compromise from giving our all, as we shine the light of the complete WWW OF SET-APARTNESS of an undefiled service unto our Beloved and soon coming King!

As we consider this great event and supper that took place, and as you look in to the mirror of the Word – how do you look? How is the WWW OF SET-APARTNESS looking like in your life? Is it pleasing to the Master, or has compromise in your work, your witness or your worship caused your ointment to stink? If there are any areas of dead flies in your life, throw them out and allow the Master to clean you, so that your fragrance of worship and the light of your set-apartness be seen in the witness of your life that reflects the redemptive work of the Master!

WWW OF SET-APARTNESS! – let it be seen and fragranced in you!

 

יהוה bless you and guard you; יהוה make His face shine upon you and show you favour; יהוה lift up His face to you and give you Shalom!