Summary: He honors those who honor Him. (Part 3 in "The Road To Glory" Easter series)
“She has done what she could; she has anointed My body beforehand for the burial. And truly I say to you, wherever the gospel is preached in the whole world, that also which this woman has done shall be spoken of in memory of her.”
“Show me the man you honor, and I will know what kind of man you are” -Thomas Carlyle
Who, but the Almighty God of the Universe and the One who knows all things from eternity to eternity, could have declared with a bold certainty that one small, seemingly senseless act by a peasant woman in a small village in ancient Israel would be remembered and preached about until the end of the ages?
We might say of some great statesman that his work for mankind would be remembered for a long time; maybe that he would be recorded in history books and read about by school children for generations to come. But only One who claimed to be God and really was, could say without irresponsible exaggeration that someone’s spontaneous act of humility done to one man in one moment in time would be preached throughout the whole world, and then have it come true!
Who, but the humble, compassionate, Anointed Servant, whose bread was to do the Father’s will and not His own, would have, even knowing He was in his last few days on this earth and destined for the terrible death He was about to accomplish, would have turned attention away from Himself and declared that what had been done would be preached in memory ~ not of Himself ~ but of her?
Jesus’ declaration that her act of love would be remembered wherever the good news is preached, I have to take as a command directly from the One who set me apart for this task. He is Master and Lord, and He has decreed that His preachers would do so; therefore I must, and gladly do I obey.
The last thing I want to point out as we step up to more carefully examine this event, is that although we could spend a great deal of time discussing the reaction of the disciples, or what was going on in the background with the plotting Pharisees, or who, exactly, this Simon was, whose house they were in, Jesus said that this would be told in memory of her. So I’m going to attempt to do just that today; focus on this woman, and honor her as Jesus said she should be honored.
THE SIMPLICITY OF HER LOVE
First of all, let me point out that this was no stranger. Jesus was at the home of Mary and Martha, sisters of Lazarus, whom He had raised from the dead just a few days previously. The gospel accounts have already established that these were loved friends of Jesus, and He and His disciples had been to this home on other occasions.
This is a basic prerequisite to being used by the Holy Spirit to do anything at all for Christ. There must be a love and affection for Him that is deep and spontaneous. It cannot be feigned, and it cannot be shallow. Only deep, sincere love from a surrendered heart can be moved to acts of selfless mercy and sacrifice.
Men had invited Jesus into their homes as though honoring Him, but they had not been moved to show Him even the basest of courtesies common to that culture. Not a wet rag to wipe the dust from His feet, not the cheapest of olive oil to sooth His head from the heat of the mid-eastern sun.
In public they had flattered Him with words, hoping to trip Him up and extract some evidence from His own mouth with which they could accuse and destroy Him.
Multitudes had flocked to Him, blessing Him with their lips and crying out blessings on His mother for having such a great privilege in bearing Him.
But Jesus knows men’s hearts, hearer. He knows yours. When you pray, examine your heart. Better yet, invite Him to examine it. We sing this in a song:
“Search me, O God, and know my heart today;
Try me, O Savior, know my thoughts, I pray.
See if there be some wicked way in me;
Cleanse me from every sin and set me free.”
-J. Edwin Orr
But how sincere are we when we sing it? Do we really want Jesus to look into the most secret places of our heart? Do we really want Him to deal with it? Or is this a feigned sincerity? Wanting to appear oh, so spiritual and humble to those around us, and thinking God sees as we see; but unwilling to really surrender all, unwilling to love with a love that abandons self and the world and sees only Jesus?