I know that I’ve been pretty rough on all of us the last few days, so I’m pleased to study a Scripture of encouragement. Today’s passage takes us to Bethany. This is the last week before Jesus’ Passion, probably on Tuesday. This is actually recorded in three of the four Gospels, and John’s account is the fullest, since it gives some extra motivation on the part of the woman, and her actual name. Let’s get some application.
1) I think the main point here is that Jesus loves to honor those who honor him. The disciples, led by Judas (as seen in John’s account) reprimanded her for the “waste” involved. Jesus didn’t see it as a waste at all. Friend, no true service done in the name of our Lord is a waste. Don’t let the world tell you that lie. They’ll tell you that you’re wasting your time, talents, and money by giving it over to Christ, but theirs is not the One whose approval is important. Jesus made a prediction that has definitely come true, quite literally. Every time the book of Matthew is read, she’s honored. The Bible is translated into hundreds of different languages (with more all the time), and her costly sacrifice is held up as an example for all of us.
2) Dovetailing along with the first point, this is a foretaste to come. When he returns, all the “secret” things done in service to him will be exposed and applauded for all those assembled in glory. A cup of cold water, a kind word, money given in secret, all the way up to martyrdom (which most of us will never experience) are all being recorded. Do you feel unappreciated at church when all the hard work you do goes unnoticed? It’s not. He’s watching, and he’s smiling. Here are two verses for you, and I’d recommend you memorize them when you’re feeling it’s all for nothing: “Stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” and “God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.” Please let these verses lift up your spirit, as they’ve done for me multiple times.
Lord Jesus, please remind me of your presence all the time. I know your eyes are upon me, but it’s so hard to keep faithful when no one notices what I do for you. Yours is the only applause I seek, or it should be.