Today's Word of Encouragement
Wednesday, April 08, 2020
". . . wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her (Matthew 26:13).
On Wednesday of Passion Week, Jesus engaged in no active ministry or teaching that was recorded by the gospel writers. So, I want to reflect on an event that took place the previous evening. Matthew 26:6-13, Mark 14:3-9, and John 12:1-8 all record this event.
It seems Mary alone had understood what Jesus had repeatedly said about His impending death. The disciples were so caught up in their thoughts and dreams of a political kingdom that they failed to realize what was really going on at that time. They had no sympathy for Jesus as he faced the cross because they still rejected the idea of Jesus dying - even though He had told them repeatedly. But Mary, the sister of Lazarus and Martha, understood. Anointing Jesus as she did was her way of expressing her love and loyalty to her friend and Lord. But why the praise? Was Jesus commending Mary for her compassion? No. Hers was a living memorial - one that would live on long after she was dead and buried.
The world is filled with cemeteries, gravestones, and mausoleums that memorialize our dead. Washington D.C. is a living city that memorializes dead leaders. Over time these memorials fade, crumble, or are forgotten. But Mary's memorial to Jesus remains to this day, and will remain throughout all eternity because in it she expressed more than her personal love and loyalty to a friend - she expressed her love and loyalty to the Son of God and her Lord and Savior.
How is this a memorial to her? She was the only one who got it, who understood who Jesus really was, what was going to happen to Him, and why. Everyone else was thinking about themselves or stuff that didn't matter. It reminds me of the words of Jesus to Thomas after the Lord's resurrection - Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed (John 20:29). Mary saw, understood, and believed. The disciples saw, didn't really understand, and had a hard time believing that Jesus wasn't a political Messiah sent to save them from Rome.
Church history is replete with people like Mary - Polycarp, Irenaeus, Clement of Rome, Justin Martyr, Augustine, Martin Luther, John Calvin, Chrysostom, etc. Heroes of the faith. Lights for Christ. Each life not a memorial to themselves, but a memorial to Jesus Christ. They believed in Him, lived for Him, and died for Him.
Each of us, like Mary, can be a living memorial to the Lord Jesus Christ. We can anoint our Lord again and again through our witness, faithfulness, loyalty, and obedience. We can live for Him who died for us, that He may live in the hearts and minds and lives of others who will see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven (Matthew 5:16).