Godly Extravagance


12:1 Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. 2 Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. 3 Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.
4 But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, 5 “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.” 6 He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.
7 “Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. “It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. 8 You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.”
9 Meanwhile a large crowd of Jews found out that Jesus was there and came, not only because of him but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. 10 So the chief priests made plans to kill Lazarus as well, 11 for on account of him many of the Jews were going over to Jesus and believing in him. (Jn 12:1–11).

The Apostle John gives us a glimpse of the dynamic of faith and love in action when he recorded this notable occasion, this a very dramatic insight into how Mary was willing to give sacrificially for her Lord. Mary shows that she is willing to part with a very expensive product for the sake of Jesus. Nard cost about six months wages and, was often purchased by a family and used sparingly each time there was a burial. Nard was an expensive perfume and  certainly was not normally poured out copiously upon a person. Mary in her devotion to Jesus was breaking all the conventional rules. Judas is such a contrast to Mary here we see someone who is dishonest, trying to argue that the money should have been given to the poor, if that had been the case the money would have passed through his hands and he would have taken what he wanted. The question is wether the poor would have received anything, judas was on the lookout for himself. Mary’s actions are all Christ centered, here she displays her love in a way that is costly for her because she sees the importance of Jesus and what he is doing. She probably did not realise the full significance of what she was doing. We don’t know how much she believed about the future for Jesus. However, she wanted to express her love for Jesus in the most extravagant way possible to her. Jesus at once realises the significance of this act, he knows what is before him and he knows that he needs to be prepared for his coming death and burial, Mary’s act is seen by him as one of those preparatory acts.

This story gives us some insights into the nature of a truly vibrant yet humble faith, all that Mary does is Christ centered, she takes the place of humility at his feet. She makes no claim on Jesusbut she acknowledges who he he is and her need of him.  This story of course is part of the preparation for the culmination of the gospel story, the death and resurrection of Jesus. It shows to us that willingness that early Christians had to give everything for the cause of their Saviour.

The references to the poor puzzle some people because they feel that surely Jesus cared for the poor, yes he did and still does. Moreoverministry to the poor is most effective when it comes from hearts consecrated to God. The history of revivals shows this time and again as do present day charities such as Christians Against Poverty and Tearfund, These two British charities have very different missions but both are guided by their desire to follow Christ and put him first in all that they do. The example of Mary calls us to give up all and follow Jesus wherever he calls us to go.

About pneumaandlogos

David Rollings was born in Luton in1949 and raised by my Christian parents in the Gospel Standard Strict Baptist denomination( Hyper-Calvinistic} in the sixties I rebelled against this background and got involved in left-wing politics. I became a Christian in 1969 and soon started reading Francis Schaeffer's books and came to embrace a Christian Worldview. I had the privilege of being on the staff of L'Abti Fellowship from1975 - 1979. After L'abri I studied at London School of Theology where I gained my BA.(1983) A few years later I studied for my MA by distance learning with The Nazarene Theological College Manchester (1999) For the last 22 years, I have been an elder of Shoreham-by-Sea Baptist Church. I also regularly attend the Christian Doctrine Study Group of the Tyndale Fellowship.
This entry was posted in Anointing, Apostolic church, body of Christ, Church, faith, God's love, grace, Theology and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Godly Extravagance

  1. Charles Pocock says:

    Living in the bush in northern Mozambique in the fifties where forests abounded and where only wild plants grew and animals roamed; at Christmas time, the wild orchids grew in profusion and not taken any notice of by the natives. It was known, however, that as missionaries, we were known to pick them near the tracks we walked when visiting the villages and one Christmas, a huge bunch of multi coloured orchids were given to us by one who knew we liked them. “This is food for your eyes”, he said as he handed them to us! They were and added to the meagre decorations we had about the house. God IS truly EXTRAGAVANT! There, in the African bush our eyes were fed with an abundance of the evidence of God’s creative generosity. And as David pointed out above, we too can show the same generosity by sharing the love He has poured into our hearts with those who need it most.

  2. Charles Pocock says:

    EXTRAVAGANT! Sorry!

  3. m88 says:

    I take pleasure in, lead to I found just what I used to be having a look for.
    You’ve ended my 4 day long hunt! God Bless you man. Have a
    nice day. Bye

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