Loving Extravagance

Note from JesusDear Beloved Disciple,

What would it be worth to have someone precious to you raised from the dead?

I don’t ask this question to be morbid or hurtful, but to help you grapple with the deep implications of Mary’s extravagant gift that My beloved disciple John shares with you in the verses below. Let Me explain a little bit to help you understand.

Life is very complicated. It always has been since the fall of Adam and Eve. In these devotionals for the next week, we will be looking together at some of the events that happened in My life during the final few days leading up to My crucifixion. These events were part of that complicated life and were shaped by all sorts of forces:The will and plan of the Father.The scheming of political and religious leaders who considered Me to be their enemy.Satan’s evil work on the hearts of My closest disciples.The tidal wave of popularity I was receiving from the crowd.The forces of politics and religion as they coalesced against Me at the time of Passover in the city of Jerusalem.The raising of Lazarus from the dead and the attention it brought to Me.The conflict I had over the course of these final days with those in authority in Jerusalem.The duplicity and betrayal by Judas and the conflicts in his heart.On another level, however, the world is amazingly simple. Mary and Martha had a beloved brother named Lazarus who died. I had raised him from the dead. He lived, and this miracle had attracted a great deal of attention. I had given Mary and Martha the miracle of all miracles: their beloved brother, once dead, now lived. I had defeated death and given them life!

For Mary, in this moment of great swirling emotions, political maneuvering, religious hatred, and evil intervention of Satan into the world of My disciples, there was really only one thing that mattered. I had given her back her brother from death. She demonstrated her loving appreciation with extravagance.

Judas couldn’t appreciate Mary’s gift because his heart was on other things — treacherous and selfish things. His criticism was unwarranted and hypocritical. He knew, and all My disciples knew, that I cared deeply about the broken. I had spent much of My ministry caring for the outcast, the marginalized, and the poor. But when the power of sin, death, and Satan are defeated for you and for those you love, no extravagance is unwarranted.

As you journey with Me this next week, please remember this truth and Mary’s extravagance. You see, what I did for Mary and her sister Martha, I will do for you. I will raise back to life every person precious to you who has fully trusted in Me. I emerged victorious from the tomb after having faced the worst of humanity. I defeated the worst that hell could throw at Me. I emerged from the tomb alive again and victorious for you and for all others who truly believe.

I don’t ask you to respond with gifts of extravagant riches. However, I do want your heart. Then, whatever you offer Me will naturally follow from the overflow of your love.

Pay close attention to the eight days that follow from the time of My triumphal entry into Jerusalem to My triumphant exit from the tomb. Realize these events are for you… for every grief you suffer… for every person who loves Me and is claimed by the grave… for every scrambled emotion and broken heart when the miracle you so desperately wanted didn’t seem to come.

During this next week, I will walk the path you will one day walk. I will face the finality that you will one day face. I will pioneer a way through death so that you can one day follow Me home (Hebrews 2:10-11 NIV; Hebrews 12:1-3 NIV). Please understand; death cannot keep what I have claimed by My grace. And I have claimed you, dear disciple, and those like you who truly love Me!Verses to LivePaul talked about being “the pleasing aroma of Christ” (2 Corinthians 2:14-16 NIV). I hope you, like Mary, choose to spread the beautiful sweet smell of My love and ultimate victory over sin, death, and Satan. Think of how Mary felt as she shared this gift that seemed so small compared to the gift I gave her!Six days before the Passover feast, Jesus journeyed to the village of Bethany, to the home of Lazarus who had recently been raised from the dead, where they hosted Him for dinner. Martha was busy serving as the hostess, Lazarus reclined at the table with Him, and Mary took a pound of fine ointment, pure nard (which is both rare and expensive), and anointed Jesus’ feet with it; and then she wiped them with her hair. As the pleasant fragrance of this extravagant ointment filled the entire house, Judas Iscariot, one of His disciples (who was plotting to betray Jesus), began to speak.

Judas Iscariot:How could she pour out this vast amount of fine oil? Why didn’t she sell it? It is worth nearly a year’s wages; the money could have been given to the poor.This had nothing to do with Judas’s desire to help the poor. The truth is he served as the treasurer, and he helped himself to the money from the common pot at every opportunity.

Jesus:Leave her alone. She has observed this custom in anticipation of the day of My burial. The poor are ever present, but I will be leaving.Word spread of Jesus’ presence, and a large crowd was gathering to see Jesus and the formerly deceased Lazarus, whom He had brought back from the dead. The chief priests were secretly plotting Lazarus’s murder since, because of him, many Jews were leaving their teachings and believing in Jesus.
(John 12:1-11)Response in PrayerO Father, life is complicated. I sometimes get confused and discouraged and lose my way. But as I journey with Jesus through the events of this special week ahead, please draw my heart closer to You. Take control over my heart as I witness the depths of Your love, mercy, and grace in this story of Jesus’ horrendous, but ultimately triumphant week. Give me faith, dear Father, to believe that just as Jesus gave Lazarus back to Mary and Martha, the events of this week give me the promise of reunion with all those whom I love and who love Your Son. It is in Jesus’ name that I pray. Amen.’A Year with Jesus’ is written by Phil Ware. © 1998-2022, Heartlight, Inc. ‘A Year with Jesus’ is part of the Heartlight Network.All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Voice™. © 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Loving Extravagance
Source: Passion for Praise