John, The Love of God
We are getting close to cooking the biggest feast of the year…Thanksgiving dinner! We will prepare our homes, get out the best china and other heirloom dishes, and deep clean with care. Why? We want to give our best for those we love dearly. Randy and I are preparing even now! (Well, after time with God, asking for help in doing our best.) We love God with all our heart, mind and soul. God loved us first and teaches us to love like He loves every day. Our desire is to hold nothing back in our love and gratitude for what He has done, is doing and will do.
I think of this as we read our next passage in John’s gospel. It has been a few days since the raising of Lazarus. It is six days before Jesus will complete His mission here on earth and die on a cruel cross for our sins. Jesus has been invited to the house of Lazarus and his sisters, Mary and Martha. Can you imagine THIS thanksgiving dinner? They must be giddy and still smiling in the afterglow of their brother being raised for the dead! How grateful to Jesus they must be! “Martha served”. The busy sister is bringing out all the best dishes filled with food for a King. This is her act of love for Jesus. Lazarus sits with Jesus at the table. Can we try to imagine the joyful conversations about how God was glorified in that day of coming out of the tomb alive. Lazarus is alive and grateful. Jesus is thinking about how He will do the same in a few days…
Mary appears with a jar of very expensive perfume, the kind that was sealed in a jar with a long neck. They only way for that perfume to pour out was to break the jar. This might have been Mary’s dowry, saved by a bride to give to her husband on their marriage. OR maybe it was the burial perfume NOT used in the now alive Lazarus? All we know from Scripture is that it was VERY expensive and she used it to pour over the feet of Jesus with great love and humble gratitude. This was Mary’s act of extravagant love.
The critics gasp, beginning with the one who would betray Jesus in a few days with a kiss. Ironic. Judas indignantly quips, “that could have been sold and given to the poor”. Jesus knew his heart and knew that Judas was more upset that he couldn’t get his hands on it to make a profit for himself.
Jesus also knows Mary’s heart and comes to her rescue. Jesus is like that. “Let her alone. She’s anticipating and honoring the day of my burial.” Mary, full of gratitude and love for her Master, gave the best she had. We do that for people we love with all our hearts, minds and souls. Jesus did that for us…He was broken and spilled out in payment for our sin. This was HIS act of extravagant love.
Why not bring our best EVERY day? Bring out the good china and surprise your family and others with your best when they least expect it. There is no better way to express your love than to act upon that love with humble gratitude, full of grace with the best you have.
John 12, The Message
Anointing His Feet
1-3 Six days before Passover, Jesus entered Bethany where Lazarus, so recently raised from the dead, was living. Lazarus and his sisters invited Jesus to dinner at their home. Martha served. Lazarus was one of those sitting at the table with them. Mary came in with a jar of very expensive aromatic oils, anointed and massaged Jesus’ feet, and then wiped them with her hair. The fragrance of the oils filled the house.
4-6 Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples, even then getting ready to betray him, said, “Why wasn’t this oil sold and the money given to the poor? It would have easily brought three hundred silver pieces.” He said this not because he cared two cents about the poor but because he was a thief. He was in charge of their common funds, but also embezzled them.
7-8 Jesus said, “Let her alone. She’s anticipating and honoring the day of my burial. You always have the poor with you. You don’t always have me.”
9-11 Word got out among the Jews that he was back in town. The people came to take a look, not only at Jesus but also at Lazarus, who had been raised from the dead. So the high priests plotted to kill Lazarus because so many of the Jews were going over and believing in Jesus on account of him.
“We love him because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:19
Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank You for Your salvation. Thank you for your love, mercy and grace expressed in Your act of sacrifice. You gave Your best for us. Your are teaching us to do give our best back to You and others. Help us to be and do all that pleases You and makes you smile.
In Jesus Name, Amen
And I’m singing…
Give of your best to the Master;
Give Him first place in your heart;
Give Him first place in your service;
Consecrate every part.
Give, and to you will be given;
God His beloved Son gave;
Gratefully seeking to serve Him,
Give Him the best that you have.