|Images if joy and encouragement in a world stuck in self-centered defeat.|
Note: Cafe: 10.10.12: Out of the mouth of…
Title: The Cross speaks loudly:
Two pictures– one message
In a space of but a couple of days, pivotal events are shaping the final movements of Jesus:
- A prediction if his betrayal ( before Passover.)
- Meeting of priests in Jerusalem to consult when and the dastardly deed should be accomplished.
- The anointing by Mary
- The secret correspondence between Judas and the priests.
All four are mentioned by Matthew (26:6-13).
This event important to the training of the disciples; and while they disapproved of it, their motives were at least honest in their consistency of what they thought Jesus was teaching.
One woman’s exultation
Her anointing of Jesus enveloped in the purity of extravagant love for Jesus. Could this have been part of the exuberance over the raising of Lazarus and the nard part if his burial spice?
Mary’s gift is the stuff of sacrifice; consistent with that of Jesus Himself.
What might the disciples learn from her model of extravagant love?
Who exudes single minded love and earnest devotion better than Mary?
And Jesus recognizes it by placing it at critical mass in the biblical record for all if eternity. It’s part if a perpetual memorial to Me! One man writes,
Mary loved so ardently as to be beyond calculations of consequences or expenses; they (the disciples) loved so coldly, that there was room for fear in their heart: therefore while Mary spent her all on the ointment, they all forsook their Master, and fled to save their own lives…Scholarship is great, but action is greater; and the power to do noble actions comes from love. (Pg. 309)
Who possesses a spirit more free to soar than Mary?
Not locked into pre-formed patterns of religious expression.
She unlike the disciples, is able to step out of the current thinking model of the day and look beyond function if only to get to substance. One man writes that she is original, creative, and not slavishly imitative.
She didn’t "run this idea" by the disciples to see what they thought.
True love has a way of emboldening toward greatness. Case in point:
- Peter and John: Acts
Who possesses a character more noble than Mary?
When everyone else was thinking of the "right" thing to do Mary was reflecting upon the "best" thing a worshipping heart might do!
This is a virtuous women with character consistent with Philippians 4:8
That said, as A.B. Bruce reminds us, to be noble took nothing away from its usefulness.
A Greeks excitement
Text: John 12:20-23
The second picture in the photo array for the disciples might be the image of a Greek man seeking after Jesus.
Similar in form to the contact with the Samaritan woman of John 4. Both lie outside of the target groups of Jesus.
What we know about the Greeks of 12:20
- Of uncertain origin
- They have interest in the kingdom of God.
- They still found something missing that Jesus might supply.
Note the channel for their request.
They came to Phillip! Phillip with Greek background but also a like intercession for he himself was a truth seeker; one whose loyalty was built upon investigation and hope. (See John 1:41-46)
The response of Jesus!
What might you make of the reply of Jesus?
For starters, examine verses 37-43.
And what do you make of the response when others brought an unexpected blessing to His soul?
- Simple faith of Roman centurion
- Quick answered syrophecian woman
- The Samaritan leper
Now back to his response… A reason for his death and a multiplication of his selfless work.
What might look on the surface to be fruitless work is laying in the ground the future harvest of bounty.
These are men coming who were uncalled, just as Jesus will be rejected by those called of God.
And the partnership is with those who see it as clearly as Jesus.
A.B. Bruce notes, " in the long run, the measure of a Nan’s power is the extent to which he is baptized into Christ’s death." (See also Col.1:24).