Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Impulsive, Sacrificial Love

While Jesus was in Bethany at the home of Simon the leper, and reclining at the table, there came a woman with an alabaster vial of very costly perfume of pure nard; and she broke the vial and poured it over His head. But some were indignantly remarking to one another, "Why has this perfume been wasted? For this perfume might have been sold for over three hundred denarii, and the money given to the poor." And they were scolding her. But Jesus said, "Let her alone; why do you bother her? She has done a good deed to Me. For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you wish you can do good to them; but you do not always have Me. She has done what she could; she has anointed My body beforehand for the burial. Truly I say to you, wherever the gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be spoken of in memory of her."  Mark 14:3-9

The scene is Bethany, just a few miles from Jerusalem; the time is the night before Jesus' triumphal entry.  In just a few days He will be arrested, tried, convicted, and crucified. And Jesus knows it.  He knows exactly what is going to happen.  So what does Jesus do on this night? He goes to a party given in His honor by Simon, the Leper.  As Jesus is reclining at the table along with His disciples, a woman, who must have been a part of the crowd there, is so overwhelmed with emotion that she takes an alabaster jar containing very expensive perfume, breaks the container and uses all of the precious perfume to anoint the head and feet of Jesus.  
Some there began immediately to criticize her but Jesus comes to her defense. "Leave her alone,' said Jesus. Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me.”  The word Jesus uses for beautiful is a word that speaks of something that is wonderfully significant.  He goes on to say, I tell you the truth, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.And Jesus was right, for what she did that evening has been told and retold down through the centuries as an example of pure, impulsive, sacrificial love.  
You see, it's sad to say, but most of the people who followed Jesus came to Him for selfish motives, whether they thought about it that way or not.  Sick people came hoping that He would heal their sicknesses.  Poor and hungry people came because He had the reputation of having compassion upon them.  His disciples followed Him because He talked about a kingdom, and they wanted to be a part of it.  Religious leaders followed Him because they wanted to trap Him by His words. Great crowds followed Him. But most of them were there because they were wanting something, not because they loved Him.  In fact, hardly anyone even bothered to come back and say "Thank you," after He had healed them.
Does that sound like what you see today with many who follow Jesus?  They are there to see what they can get.  Few stop to love Him.  Few take time to pour out the oil of love.  That is why this story is so special, because this woman, overwhelmed by love, found a way to express it.  
Possibly today there will be a time when you can find a quiet place to share your love for Christ.  Love, real love, is impulsive and sacrificial.

Scripture to Claim:

For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; 
2 Timothy 4:6-7

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