Summary: The love of Jesus takes believers way beyond responsible giving to extravagant love!

Alabaster Jars to Extravagant Love

Mark 14:3-9

The love of Jesus takes believers way beyond responsible giving to extravagant love!

I want to begin this series on giving with the extravagant gift of Mary to our Lord Jesus.

Those who are forgiven much love much.

Cantankerous old barber Juan is explaining to Tomas the reason why he has never had to pay chair rent at the barbershop.

Juan and Tomas are alone at the shop as Juan tells his story in flashback. Before gaining employment at the barbershop, Juan was a thief. On the run from the law for stealing some meat for a barbecue, Tomas’s father concealed Juan from the police, but also gave him a job and a purpose for living. Juan remembers how he nearly joins a Hispanic gang, who were talking about killing police officers and being killed as well. Juan decides he would just rather stay and be of service to the shop. Juan then recalls the South-side Chicago riots that ensued after the death of Martin Luther King, Jr. Militants are everywhere, breaking into stores and looting. Tomas’s father tells Juan that they should be honoring King’s memory, not looting.

Suddenly, a young man approaches the barbershop with a Molotov cocktail in his hand. As he moves to throw it through the window, Juan steps right in front of him and yells, "No!" The man steps aside and tries again to throw it through the window, but Juan again interposes himself and shouts, "No!" All the while, Tomas’s horrified father looks on. Eventually the young man gives up and throws the flaming bottle through the window of the building across the street.

As a reward for his bravery, Tomas’s father tells Juan that as long as he wants to work at the barbershop, he will never have to pay rent for his chair. But Juan puts it in perspective for Tomas. Juan says, "I didn’t save the shop – the shop saved me."

Juan goes from thief to hero because someone took an interest in him and fitted him for a life of service rather than a life of crime. Because of the extraordinary kindness of Tomas’s father, Juan’s life was redeemed. In gratitude for what was done for him, Juan puts his own life on the line to defend the store that represents his redemption.

Jesus explains that those who are forgiven little love little – while those who are forgiven much love much. When we see people in the depths of sin, our natural desire is to turn away. We cannot imagine how our holy God would want anything to do with such people. Yet Paul reminds us that many of us were once like "those people." Only the grace of God saved us, redeemed us, and made us His children. When we see desperate people caught in the web of sin, we should try to look at them with God’s eyes. In God’s equation those who are fallen lowest will be the ones who ascend the highest. They understand the depth of their sin, and rejoice, love, and serve all the more in response to their great redemption.

This is the beginning of responsible giving to extravagant love.

I. She broke open her treasured alabaster jar (Mark 14:3)

We find ourselves in the home of Simon the Leper at Bethany. There is a dinner being held without explanation as to why. Possibly it could be for the healing that Jesus did for Simon.

In the movie Matrix: Revolutions Neo finds himself on a concrete floor. As he awakens, he is looking up at the face of a little girl, Sati, who explains to Neo that he is in The Train Station, a place between his world and the Matrix.

Sati asks Neo if he is from the Matrix. Neo says that he used to be. Sati says that she had to leave home also. Her father, Ramakandra, calls her over, explaining to Neo that his daughter is just curious. Neo recognizes the man and says, "You’re programs."

Ramakandra responds, "Oh yes. I am the Powerplant Systems Manager for Recycling Operations. My wife is an interactive software program -- she is highly creative." He explains that the train station is a place to take things from one world to another. When Neo asks if that is what he is doing here, Ramakandra’s wife warns her husband not to answer, but Ramakandra wants to be kind and says he doesn’t mind:

"The answer is simple. I love my daughter very much. I find her to be the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. But, where we are from, that is not enough. Every program that is created must have a purpose. If it does not, it is deleted. I went to the Frenchman to save my daughter. You do not understand."

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