Summary: Jesus is calling us to radical love and generosity now.
For those who haven’t been with us before, we’ve been walking through a Lenten message series entitled, “JTV or Jesus Television.” You see American’s watch an average of 32 hours of TV per week. Almost a third of our waking hours are spent being affected or infected by the information disseminated by the “idiot box” as my father used to say. So it only seemed right, if Jesus wants to meet the culture where it sits that Jesus would start His own cable station called JTV. JTV would be like other stations trying to get your attention except it would take hit shows from other stations and eras and use them to teach God’s truth. Over the past 4 weeks, we have heard messages entitled: Temptation Island, Let’s make a deal, Extreme home Makeover and even Lost. This week we continue our viewing pleasure with America’s next Top Model. Now I know what some of you are thinking, I have never even heard of the show or watched it but did you know this is the number one show on the CW? It has been their #1 show for 10 plus seasons. Somebody’s watching this show. Tyra Banks, the ex super model, is the main force behind the show. She produces, directs and stars in the show. It’s a reality show of sorts where aspiring models come to hone their modeling skills hoping to be selected by Tyra’s judges as America’s next Top model. The aspiring models are judged and criticized weekly on a set of skills and challenges. Eventually the group is slimmed down to single contestant who is crowned ANTM. It’s interesting to note that while the show has been on 10 plus seasons, with 10 plus winners, none of the contestants or finalists have ever gone on to be classified as a supermodel. All the worldly knowledge of the judges and Tyra amounts to nothing but a human opinion of what is right.
Due to this observation, America’s next top model is a perfect metaphor for our lesson from today’s scripture.
Now the Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread were only two days away, and the chief priests and the teachers of the law were scheming to arrest Jesus secretly and kill him. 2 “But not during the festival,” they said, “or the people may riot.” 3 While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head. 4 Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, “Why this waste of perfume? 5 It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages[a] and the money given to the poor.” And they rebuked her harshly. 6 “Leave her alone,” said Jesus. “Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. 7 The poor you will always have with you,[b] and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. 8 She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial. 9 Truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.” 10 Then Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve, went to the chief priests to betray Jesus to them. 11 They were delighted to hear this and promised to give him money. So he watched for an opportunity to hand him over. 12 On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, when it was customary to sacrifice the Passover lamb, Jesus’ disciples asked him, “Where do you want us to go and make preparations for you to eat the Passover?” 13 So he sent two of his disciples, telling them, “Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him. 14 Say to the owner of the house he enters, ‘The Teacher asks: Where is my guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ 15 He will show you a large room upstairs, furnished and ready. Make preparations for us there.” 16 The disciples left, went into the city and found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover.
Almost 2000 years ago, Mary, the sister of Simon the Leper, gave Jesus a body wash of Indian spices, herbs and oil in front of all the disciples. It symbolized so much more than the disciples could have realized when the event occurred. It was an anointing of an honored guest which was the custom of the day but because of the cost of the oil it draws comparisons to an ordination of king, ruler and even a Messiah. In hindsight we also know it was a preparation for his upcoming burial. However, at that moment it was an unselfish act of worship which demonstrated unmediated love, respect and devotion.