Easter is but a few days away. Many worldwide are anticipating a celebratory, reflective and meaningful period of remembering our Lord Jesus Christ.
In the same reflective spirit I write this devotion to help us embrace Christ maybe in a new or more heartfelt way. Come with me as we worship the King.
Its roughly 4 AD, Jesus is but a few days away from being crucified. 6-7 days to be exact. We find Jesus in the home of some of his favourite people, Mary and Martha of Bethany. Mary unclear about the ensuing events in the days to follow, is moved to sit at the feet of Jesus. As she stoops down, she breaks open an alabaster vial of perfume. She begins to anoint his feet with the perfume using her hair as towel. This is quite unusual. To top it off, the contents of this jar is valued at a year’s salary. She simply empties the contents at the feet of Christ. The onlookers are stunned. “Why would she do such a thing? What a waste.” And “why isn’t Jesus saying anything?”
He finally replies. But to their chagrin, he commends her actions, and calls it preparatory for his burial. I believe her love for Christ, propelled her to this great act of sacrifice, indeed of worship.
True worship will require you to sacrifice your precious time, give of your best resources, and devote your talents to Christ. The next day Jesus enters Jerusalem in what we call the triumphal entry. He is worshipped in fervour and zeal, proclaimed the king to come by all of Jerusalem. Incessant chanting practically demanding his immediate coronation would surely count for true worship. Yet he tells us elsewhere that true worship is not just with words, but in spirit and truth. Unfortunately the crowds worship was fleeting, 5 days later, on the the eve of his death, their worship had changed to a death chant, demanding his blood by the hand of Pilate.
Our practical question of course is how can we be like Mary who shamelessly worships the king with all she had? It all begins with spending time at the feet of Christ. Spending time with him means elimination of maybe necessary but non vital distractions. Too often are we caught up with balancing our books, shopping for the household, or recuperating after a busy day by the television. These things have their place, but have we prioritized our time with him? In Luke 10:38-42, Mary chose Christ first over all the other important things. Martha her sister chose to cook a meal for Christ, Mary instead was satisfied by the spiritual food Christ’s word meant to her. As a friend describes, she was postured towards Christ. Yes, she fixed her gaze upon him. Despite the sure concerns that needed to be attended to, she chose for those few moments to focus all her attention on Christ. This discipline of exclusively spending time with the master, was the foundation of her worship.
No wonder, Mary can devote her priceless treasure to Christ. He had captured her attention. Thus her worship moves from sacrificing her time to giving of her treasure. This was no small fortune, it could have been her retirement. Perfumes were something investment worthy in ancient times, and could have enormous value. Yet doling it all out on Christ did not phase her. After all, he owned her heart, her life, and he was her constant obsession. Is this descriptive of your relationship with the master? Is He your constant thought? Do you need to declutter your life, simplify your activities and get back in that closet with him, so that his desires will again become yours? It’s a principle, that where your heart is there your treasure lies. Is your heart with Christ, not just positionally but experientially? Do you feel His Spirit pulsating through your being? Are you “burning aflame” for him? This is the kind of passion I believe Mary had for Christ, that led her to worship him with her treasure.
Jesus said, her worship prepared him for His burial. This, I believe was Mary’s legacy.
Every time the passion and resurrection of Christ is being recounted, we read her narrative and are reminded of the importance of a life spent on Christ. Said her a different way, Mary was faithful with the talents that she was given. The word talent here is of course used as a metaphor, and in relation to the story that Christ told of the noble man who travelled and gave units of money called talents to several of his servants. Several of them were faithful and productive, but one in particular was delinquent. Instead of investing the master’s money he hides it and returns it to the matter on his return. This is a picture of the religious rulers of the day who were given a great opportunity to believe in Christ and lead Israel to truth, but instead chose to protect their own interests and deny the reality of Christ’s Lordship.
Can I ask, What are you doing with your talents? Will your resources, opportunities, influences and so forth achieve something worth glorying God? Or are you too busy building an empire for yourself. Can others see proof of Christ living in you? Do you have a testimony?
These are some of the thoughts I want you to reflect on, as you prepare to celebrate Christ’s death and resurrection. Let your worship not just be with words, like the masses who welcomed Christ jubilantly so many years ago. But let it be with substance, as you turn your time, talents and treasure towards him once again.
– Pastor Olu Jegede