The Shepherd of Hope blog is here to serve you, to help you know Jesus better and to find hope in Him. This blog relies on the Spirit of God using the word of God to build people of God. All material has been prayerfully submitted for your encouragement and spiritual edification. Your questions and comments are welcome.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

A Passion for Jesus – Part 4

“Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her” – Mark 14:9

In the opening part of this series we defined passion as a driving force, a deep emotion in the heart, a fire in the belly, a heart aflame. People have a passion for many things, but how many have a passion for Jesus? We also said that passion for Jesus based on popularity, politics, provision, self-promotion, or pride will not stand the test of time; it will only be a Palm Sunday passion.

 In the second part of the series we saw that a passion for Jesus begins with falling at His feet in recognition of our depth and debt of sin and that through faith in Jesus we can be forgiven. In part 3 we saw a passion for Jesus falls at His feet aware of His living hope (power over death.)

In part 4 we will see that a passion for Jesus is rooted in an awareness of His atoning death on the cross. In this part we will look at the keystone segment of scripture in Mark 14:1-11. Again we will see a woman’s passion for Jesus. This is an incredible picture of a passion for Jesus. Here we will see something that is all too often lacking in our walk with God and in amongst His bride the church. Let’s look at this passage of passion.

After two days it was the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. And the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might take Him by trickery and put Him to death. 2 But they said, “Not during the feast, lest there be an uproar of the people.”
This incident happens on Passover, hours before Jesus would go to the cross. The reason the chief priests and scribes are there is to find an opportunity to arrest Jesus.

3 And being in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper,

Bethany was like is a small town suburb  located a short distance from Jerusalem. It was at Simon the Leper’s house not the house of Lazarus that this incident took place. This incident is likely different from the one studied in part 3 of this series in John 12.

as He sat at the table, a woman came having an alabaster flask of very costly oil of spikenard.

Again it is a woman who comes to Jesus with a valuable anointing oil of spikenard.

Then she broke the flask and poured it on His head.

When you have a passion for Jesus there is always a breaking involved. God will do whatever it takes to bring you to Him. He will allow into your life whatever it takes to bring you home to Him and light a fire of passion in your heart. That involves breaking. Like a bucking bronco we have to be broken of our self-will, self-reliance, self-centeredness, anything that challenges Jesus rule and lordship in our lives. This is all illustrated in the broken flask.  Just as breaking the flask releases the costly oil; breaking us precedes the work of the Spirit in and through us.  

This woman poured the contents of the costly anointing oil on Jesus’ head. It was a picture of Jesus anointing in the Spirit for His redemptive mission to the cross.

4 But there were some who were indignant among themselves, and said, “Why was this fragrant oil wasted? 5 For it might have been sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor.” And they criticized her sharply.

The critics posed as those more concerned with being good stewards with these resources. Jesus approves of costly, passionate acts of worship. 300 denarii was about a year’s wages. Costly! Lavish! Extravagant! When was the last time you worshipped Jesus like this? Have you ever been moved with passion for Jesus to this extent?

6 But Jesus said, “Let her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a good work for Me.

“Let her alone” Jesus said just as He did before. “Why do you trouble her? She has done a good work or Me.” Worship is the work of the people. If you aren’t worshipping Jesus, you’re missing out on one of His most favorite works. Worship is not merely singing on Sunday. Worship is how you live your life. “Oh, worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness!” (Psalm 96:9). Are yo worshiping the LORD with the way you live?

 7 For you have the poor with you always, and whenever you wish you may do them good; but Me you do not have always.

Jesus isn’t minimizing the importance of helping the poor. He is maximizing the value of worshipping Him.

 8 She has done what she could.

Do all you can as often as you can for Jesus. She did what she could. That was acceptable to Jesus. Jesus only always asks us to do what we can do. If He asks us to do something, He will enable us to do it.

She has come beforehand to anoint My body for burial.

Here Jesus gives us a key insight into the passion of this woman. “She has come beforehand to anoint My body for burial.” This woman had the cross of Christ in view. While the disciples were slow to understand the mission of Jesus – the atoning death of Jesus on the cross – this woman apparently understood the redemptive path Jesus was about to take.

9 Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her.”

Her act of passion for Jesus is connected by Him with the gospel. Why? Because: She brought her valuables to Jesus – She gave something that cost her something. She gave her relationships to Jesus - This flask of spikenard was probably her dowry. In effect, with the poured out flask she was saying, “Here Jesus, I give for You all my hopes of marriage and happiness; it’s all on You.” She gave her life to Jesus - This oil may have also served as her own anointing oil should she die before marriage. Therefore she is also saying, “With this oil Jesus, I give You my life.” She gave her all to Jesus - She was giving her all to Jesus! That’s how people need to come to Jesus; giving their all! That’s the only right response to the gospel. “But know this: Nothing that is given to Jesus is wasted.[1]

10 Then Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve, went to the chief priests to betray Him to them. 11 And when they heard it, they were glad, and promised to give him money. So he sought how he might conveniently betray Him.

Judas, self-centered sinful Judas, just couldn’t take this extravagant act of worship poured out on Jesus. This was what pushed him over the edge to betray Jesus. For him, it was just too much.

How much is too much for you? What would it take to get you to betray Jesus? When was the last time (if ever) you worshipped Jesus like this woman? Does that describe you? Or do you look at extravagant acts of worship as “a waste”? Have you given your all to Jesus? Do you have such a passion for Jesus and His cross?

John Newton (1725-1807), the author of Amazing Grace is known for another poem that is appropriate to quote here:

In Evil Long I Took Delight

In evil long I took delight,
Unawed by shame or fear,
Till a new object struck my sight,
And stopp'd my wild career:
I saw One hanging on a Tree
In agonies and blood,
Who fix'd His languid eyes on me.
As near His Cross I stood.

Sure never till my latest breath,
Can I forget that look:
It seem'd to charge me with His death,
Though not a word He spoke:
My conscience felt and own'd the guilt,
And plunged me in despair:
I saw my sins His Blood had spilt,
And help'd to nail Him there.

Alas! I knew not what I did!
But now my tears are vain:
Where shall my trembling soul be hid?
For I the Lord have slain!

A second look He gave, which said,
"I freely all forgive;
This blood is for thy ransom paid;
I die that thou may'st live."

Thus, while His death my sin displays
In all its blackest hue,
Such is the mystery of grace,
It seals my pardon too.
With pleasing grief, and mournful joy,
My spirit now if fill'd,
That I should such a life destroy,
Yet live by Him I kill'd!

Who or what do you have in view?

The passion we are speaking about has another name, Revival. Martyn Lloyd Jones described revival in the following way:

Revival, above everything else, is a glorification of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God. It is the restoration of him to the center of the life of the Church. . . . his atonement, his death upon the cross, his broken body and his shed blood. . . . You will find that in every period of revival, without exception, there has been a tremendous emphasis upon the blood of Christ. . . . But in periods of revival, she [the Church] glories in the cross, she makes her boast in the blood. Because as the author of the epistle to the Hebrews puts it, there is only one way in which we can enter with boldness into the holiest of all, and that is by the blood of Jesus (see Heb. 10:19). This is the thing the Holy Ghost honors.”[2]

A passion for Jesus is a revival passion. That is what we need. Do you have a passion for Jesus?

[1] Chuck Smith WFT note – Mark 14:4.
[2] Martin Lloyd Jones, Revival, (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 1987) pgs. 47-48

1 comment:

  1. A gift is now delivered and proven to the whole world as a witness. Satan has deceived the whole world until the woman of Rev 12 delivers the true word of God. She is not a church, nor Mary, nor Israel. She is the prophet like unto Moses Num 12:3 raised up of her brethren Acts 3:21-23 proving the power of God in the spirit of Elijah Matt 17:3, Luke 1:17 to restore Matt 17:11 the true word John 1:1 from the wilderness Rev 12:6 to prepare a people. God our true Father will not put any child of his into a hell fire no matter what their sins, no matter if they repent in this life or not. It never entered the heart or mind of God to ever do such a thing Jer7:31, Jer 19:5. Turn your heart to the children of God. Begin here The proof is in the hearing; prove all things, God chose a woman.