A fitting response to His extravagance

God loves us extravagantly and there is only one fitting response to His extravagance!

This devotional is from “The King is Coming” series.  It accompanies the song ” First Love”.

 

I love You Lord

There is no one like You

I love You Lord

You fill my life

With joy so real

I love You Lord

You unlock life’s treasures to me

I love You Lord

Forever You are my first love

 

I bless Your name

For the life You gave for me

I bless Your name

For the mercies You’ve shown to me

I bless Your name

You gave Your all to rescue me

I bless Your name

My life is Yours eternally

 

I come to You

And I worship at Your feet

I come to You

With outstretched arms You welcome me

I come to You

All I need I find in You

I come to You

Your loving arms encompass me

 

I love You Lord

There is no one like You

I love You Lord

You fill my life

With joy so real

I love You Lord

You unlock life’s treasures to me

I love You Lord

Forever You are my first love

===========================================================================

“When a woman who had lived a sinful life in that town learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfume, and as she stood behind Him at His feet weeping, she began to wet His feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them. ” (Luke 7:37-38, NIV)

“While Jesus was in Bethany, in the house of Simon the Leper, 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.”  (Matthew 26:6, NIV)

 “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 26:13, NIV)

The stories of two women who expressed their love for Jesus in an extravagant way came to mind this morning. The first was a woman with a “colorful” past.  The second  was Mary of Bethany (John 12:1-9). She and her sister Martha were friends and faithful disciples of Jesus.

Onlookers at both occasions were displeased with the unconventional way these women expressed their worship.  Let’s see how Jesus responded.

Jesus was a guest in the home of a Pharisee who had his colleagues over for a meal. In comes a woman known to be harlot. She begins to weep and kiss Jesus feet and wipe the tears off with her hair. The Pharisees – sticklers for religious observance – were horrified and they questioned Jesus’ spirituality for allowing this.

Jesus response must have surprised them.  Instead of rebuking the woman, Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for their indifference to Him. He perceived that the woman’s unconventional display of emotion was borne out of deep gratitude to Him for forgiveness of sin and affirmed her. She considered it an honor to wash his dusty feet with her tears and wipe them with her hair. In contrast, full of self righteousness, the Pharisees did not value Jesus –  it was customary to wash the feet of one’s guests, yet the host had not bothered to do even that for Jesus.

In Mary’s case, Judas voiced his concern about the unnecessary extravagance displayed in the moment. “The perfume should have been sold and the proceeds given to the poor” he said. Again, Jesus responded differently.  He said her act was  a beautiful gesture and revealed that its timing was perfect and God-ordained (Matthew 26:10 ; John 12:7).

Judas betrayed Jesus a few days later, but Mary went on to become the first evangelist – Jesus used her to share the good news with His disciples that His tomb was empty – the resurrection had taken place!

The Holy Spirit ensured that both women’s extravagant expressions of love are recorded in the Bible ( Matthew 26:13 ; 2 Timothy 3:16).  And throughout the ages, He has used their stories to teach us that there is no sin He cannot forgive and that those who recognize this,  accept His forgiveness, and hold nothing back. They respond with heartfelt surrender, deep respect and unashamed devotion. They become living sacrifices (Romans 12:1).

Jesus read the hearts and minds the harlot, the Pharisees, Judas and Mary, perfectly. He also sees your heart and mine. We cannot substitute religious acts and religious knowledge for seeking forgiveness from God and honoring Him. We cannot substitute giving to the poor for giving our hearts and lives to God.  He loves us extravagantly and there is only one fitting response to His extravagance –  pursue Him and serve Him as our First Love!

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