2017 Day 39 – The Extravagance of Jesus

It’s easy to think that Jesus would want his followers to spend every minute and every dime doing holy-type things.

Like if you had a choice between prayer and playing cards with the kids, prayer wins.

Or if you had the choice between buying a Christian book or buying a beautiful bracelet, the book checks out.

No wasting in the Christian life. Got to get to the holiest of activities.

That’s what Jesus would do. Not a dollar to invest unwisely. Not a second to waste.

Really?  So what about this:

Now when Jesus was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, a woman came up to him with an alabaster flask of very expensive ointment, and she poured it on his head as he reclined at table.  And when the disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying, “Why this waste? For this could have been sold for a large sum and given to the poor.” But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a beautiful thing to me…. Truly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her.”   Matthew 26: 6-10, 13

Jesus had no problem with this woman’s extravagant gift.

In fact, he praised the woman for her “beautiful” act.

Jesus didn’t see her act as waste. He reveled in His creation – both the perfume and the woman who worshipped with it.

Jesus is an extravagant God.

He fills His earth with extravagant gifts to us. Sometimes it’s ok simply to enjoy His gifts, to revel in them, to just be.

Not every act has to have holy import. Not every purchase has to seem worthwhile.

Why can’t we just sit back and enjoy the perfume?

Jesus did.

And I am amazed how Jesus ends this story. He said that “wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world,” this story will be told in memory of the woman.

Why is that? Why do we tell THIS story? How does it relate to the Gospel?

I think it draws a contrast between Jesus and the disciples. They lay a burden on the woman. Jesus lifts it off. They live by the law. Jesus offers the freedom of grace.

But I think there are more ways this story is like the Gospel. I think the extravagance of the woman’s gift – the extravagance of Jesus letting the perfume spill all over himself – points to the extravagance of the cross.

Jesus didn’t make a way for us to Himself that required work on our part. He made an extravagant way. He died an extravagant death. He went above and beyond what we could ask or imagine to take us home to His father.

He poured all of Himself out for us and demanded nothing in return.

That’s extravagance. That’s Jesus.

Oh, Lord: I feel like I just put a toe in the water of the truths from this passage. Help me to keep thinking about how extravagant you are toward me… and how extravagantly I can live because of you. I love you, Jesus. Amen.

 

 

 

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