Summary: To encourage God’s people to become legends when it comes to loving Jesus.
Series: Legends and Legacies Part 1 – What will you be remembered for?
Task: To encourage God’s people to become legends when it comes to loving Jesus.
Text: Matthew 26.6-13
Time: August 10, 2008
[TITLE SLIDE] I watched the opening ceremonies of the Summer Olympic games over the weekend and I have to tell you that I’ve never seen so many talented athletes in one place at the same time. Tyson Gay running track and field, Michael Phelps men’s swimming, Shawn Johnson gymnastics, Mays and Walsh for the doubles beach volleyball. These are all names of people who are legends in their field. And as such their legacies will inspire others for years to come. With the Olympics in full swing I want to encourage each of us to pursue legendary status too. I want to encourage each of us to become legends of a different kind. Legends that leave legacies that shape generations to come.
A legacy is something that typically is highly valued and therefore handed down from generation to generation (Encarta Dictionary, Microsoft Online). But I think we need to be aware that each one of us leaves a legacy regardless. It might not be much of a legacy, it might be a negative legacy, it might be a misplaced legacy or it could be something that others find honorable and worthy of lifting up and repeating for generations to come. What kind of legacy do you want to leave for others? What do you want to be remembered for? More importantly, what are the legacies God wants us to be remembered for? Those are the questions and issues that we’ll face together for the remainder of this month as we explore the word of God for God’s word regarding what makes worthy legends and legacies.
We begin in an unlikely arena. It’s not a coliseum, it’s not a stadium, there aren’t news reporters and television cameras snapping pictures of athletes on the bus, and there certainly isn’t any fireworks or loud music. It doesn’t take place in a large bustling city like Bejing, but in the village of Bethany a small suburb of Jerusalem in Jesus’ day as well as today.
[S] “While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper, 7 a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table. 8 When the disciples saw this, they were indignant. “Why this waste?” they asked. 9“This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor.” 10 Aware of this, Jesus said to them, “Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. 11 The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me. 12 When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. 13 I tell you the truth, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.” (Matthew 26.6-13, NIV) [S]
I’m sure the disciples were left scratching their heads when they heard Jesus say this. Because it doesn’t appear she did anything significant does it? All she did was pour out some expensive perfume on his head. But over in the gospel of John 12.5 we learn that that perfume cost an entire annual wage of a day worker, about 300 denarii. To put that in American dollars today, that would roughly be the amount of what someone working 50 hours a week at minum wage of $5.85 or $14,625.00 before taxes. Now can you get a feel for why the disciples responded the way they did. They couldn’t believe it! What a waste, what bad judgement, what a poorly thought out thing to do. What was she thinking! She obviously didn’t think this through. Knowing the value of that perfume themselves, the disciples thought it would have been better used by selling it and giving the money to help the poor. Just think how many poor could have been helped if that perfume had been sold and the money given to a local food pantry, or distributed among the widows or used to help those in financial stress. Now, they weren’t saying this because they thought they were better than her. This was the first night of Passover and as such it was customary to give alms to the poor which would have been a noble and memorable act in itself. Nonetheless, note Jesus’ response in contrast to theirs. They thought it was negligent he thought it was beneficial. They thought it was an unworthy act and he thought it was well worth it. What they thought was a wasteful act God saw as an extravagant act of love for him. Even though selling the perfume and giving it to the poor would have been a good thing to do, what she did at that time was even more so.