Pastor Gavin Jarvis of the Sparks Church
Scripture Reading- Matthew 26:6-13
"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. For you always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me.In pouring this ointment on my body, she has done it to prepare me for burial. 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.”
Reading for Reflection:
John tells us that the woman is Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus (John 12:1-3). Jesus loved their family and spent countless evenings with them laughing, talking at their home and teaching them. When Lazarus died, Jesus was moved with compassion and raised him back to life. There’s no way that Mary can pay back Jesus, her Savior, for all that he has done for her and her family. And so as an act of pure love and devotion, she takes the most expensive thing she owns, a large bottle of expensive perfume, and pours it on Jesus.
Why did she so willingly give up something of such value without a second thought? Here's why: There's nothing like encountering the love and grace of God. It's like a river of cold, pure, refreshing water that quenches thirst like nothing ever has. When we experience the love of Christ, the only way we can respond is with sincere and even extravagant gratitude, just like Mary.
True gratitude isn't faked. The only way we can respond with thankfulness is to be reminded why we are thankful. This morning, set aside some time to thank God for all the things he has done for you and provided for you. To end your time this morning, pray that God would constantly remind you of the death and resurrection of his Son. Then today, if you are able, buy a gift for a co-worker, friend, family member, or anyone else and tell them you are giving them a gift because Jesus gave you his life.
Scripture Reading- Matthew 26:14-16
"Then one of the twelve, whose name was Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, 'What will you give me if I deliver him over to you?' And they paid him thirty pieces of silver. And from that moment he sought an opportunity to betray him."
Reading for Reflection:
The story of the Mary’s gratitude is followed immediately by Judas’ betrayal of Jesus. The gospel of John tells us that Judas wanted to sell Mary's perfume so that he could get a cut of the profits without telling anyone (John 12:4-6). Something about what happened at Mary's house upset Judas. He believed the lies of Satan (Luke 22:3-4), and he betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver, worth around 6 months wages.
Judas was considered a friend and ministry partner of Jesus. Despite all the things that Jesus had done for him, he responded with betrayal. To this day, the name Judas means traitor.
As despicable as Judas’ actions are, we often find ourselves in a similar position. Have you ever had the temptation to deny your faith in Jesus for the sake of approval, comfort, or because like Judas there was a profit in doing so? (Think: promotion or good standing at work.) I certainly have.
It makes me sick to my stomach to think that we share any common ground with Judas, but we all do. We all find ourselves in places where we have betrayed our faith in Christ, either by commission (we blatantly deny our faith) or omission (we are quiet about our faith, to the point that no one around us even knows we are Christians).
Jesus died for our sins, including the times that we betrayed him. For those in Christ, there is no fear of judgment, because Jesus took our judgment. There is no guilt or shame, but instead we receive new life in Christ. There is no sin that is greater than the grace of God displayed on the cross. Tonight as you turn your attention to the sacrifice of Jesus, here are a few exercises to end your day.
- Repent of the times that you betrayed Jesus by denying Him or your faith, or by keeping your faith in Christ hidden when you felt God calling you to talk about him.
- Remind yourself that Christ has died for your sins - All of them! Thank God for His grace.
- Consider anyone that you have felt betrayed by, and ask God if you need to forgive them. Remember that Christ forgave you for the times you have betrayed him, and ask God to reveal why you are having a hard time forgiving that person, in light of the mercy of God given to you.