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Costly love

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Now of course Jesus loved us enough to die for us. ( John 15:13; )

But what about our love for Him?

Matt 26:6; Now when Jesus was in Bethany, at the home of Simon the leper,
Matt 26:7; a woman came to Him with an alabaster vial of very costly perfume, and she poured it on His head as He reclined at the table.
Matt 26:8; But the disciples were indignant when they saw this, and said, "Why this waste?
Matt 26:9; "For this perfume might have been sold for a high price and the money given to the poor."
Matt 26:10; But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, "Why do you bother the woman? For she has done a good deed to Me.
Matt 26:11; "For you always have the poor with you; but you do not always have Me.
Matt 26:12; "For when she poured this perfume on My body, she did it to prepare Me for burial.
Matt 26:13; "Truly I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be spoken of in memory of her."

This is one of the few stories told in a four gospels. Matthew and Mark are the only two that say it was Simon the leper's house. Of course leper's were considered "unclean" by society (even the church officials) at that time.
But here is Jesus visiting at his house. Being a leper wasn't a sin, but the old testament law mentions things lepers were supposed to do. ( Lev 13:45; Lev 22:4; ) apparently lepers were healed in the old testament. ( Lev 14:2-3; )

Matthew doesn't mention this woman's name. Also there are other people here that Matthew doesn't mention.
But this woman, pours "very costly" perfume upon Jesus. In Matthew, it says she poured it upon His head.

Of course the disciples think this is a waste of money. Why couldn't she have sold this perfume and given it to the poor?

This woman obviously saw something in Jesus. Jesus wasn't just "a" man to her. This was likely her most expensive possession, and she "wastes" it upon Jesus. Why?

The obvious reason that comes to me is... love. This woman loved Jesus. Not in a romantic way here, but she loves Him with everything she has. (all her mind, soul and strength). Later in Luke we will find out why she loved Him so much.

Now Jesus sees this for what it is. A costly sacrifice for Him. He tells everyone... "she has done a good deed to Me". Apparently "all" our deeds aren't as filthy rags ( Isa 64:6; ). Jesus appreciated this good deed at least.
Even though the disciples didn't.

It seems that Jesus thinks there is a time to give to the poor, but there is also a time to "give" to Him. The poor don't always have to be the first priority.

Finally Jesus says... "she did it to prepare Me for burial". Jesus knew His time was coming soon.
I wonder if the woman knew Jesus was going to die soon? If she did, did she know why? In any case,
she felt compelled to pour the "costly" perfume out on Him.

I wonder, have we ever given Jesus our best? Our most expensive. Even when everyone else thought it was a waste. Not because we are saved by this... but simply because we love Him.

... next, Mark's version.
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Mark 14:3; While He was in Bethany at the home of Simon the leper, and reclining at the table, there came a woman with an alabaster vial of very costly perfume of pure nard; and she broke the vial and poured it over His head.
Mark 14:4; But some were indignantly remarking to one another, "Why has this perfume been wasted?
Mark 14:5; "For this perfume might have been sold for over three hundred denarii, and the money given to the poor." And they were scolding her.
Mark 14:6; But Jesus said, "Let her alone; why do you bother her? She has done a good deed to Me.
Mark 14:7; "For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you wish you can do good to them; but you do not always have Me.
Mark 14:8; "She has done what she could; she has anointed My body beforehand for the burial.
Mark 14:9; "Truly I say to you, wherever the gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be spoken of in memory of her."

Mark's version is very similar to Matthew's version. Now we do have ne more detail.... this could have "been sold for for over three hundred denaril"
In todays economy, this was around $20,000 US dollars. We look at that and we think.... "wow, I could get "me" something great with this money.
Or maybe we are a little more giving, and we say "wow... I could help a lot of poor people, and hungry people" (not a bad thing)
But do we ever stop and think... I could give this to Jesus? Maybe not perfume or even money... but what is valuable to you? What is costly to you?
Money? Time? Effort? Ministry? Possessions?

Again, it seems that Jesus appreciates this act of "waste". Again Jesus says.. this is preparation for my burial. It seems some people value Jesus's death more than others.
This woman placed a very high value on Jesus. It seems some Christians have the attitude... oh, He died for me? That's nice.

Again Jesus says... "she has done a good deed to Me".

.... next, Luke's version.
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This is the longest version, and this is where we find out a little more about why she loved Jesus so much.

Luke 7:36; Now one of the Pharisees was requesting Him to dine with him, and He entered the Pharisee's house and reclined at the table.
Luke 7:37; And there was a woman in the city who was a sinner; and when she learned that He was reclining at the table in the Pharisee's house, she brought an alabaster vial of perfume,
Luke 7:38; and standing behind Him at His feet, weeping, she began to wet His feet with her tears, and kept wiping them with the hair of her head, and kissing His feet and anointing them with the perfume.
Luke 7:39; Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he said to himself, "If this man were a prophet He would know who and what sort of person this woman is who is touching Him, that she is a sinner."
Luke 7:40; And Jesus answered him, "Simon, I have something to say to you." And he replied, "Say it, Teacher."
Luke 7:41; "A moneylender had two debtors: one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty.
Luke 7:42; "When they were unable to repay, he graciously forgave them both. So which of them will love him more?"
Luke 7:43; Simon answered and said, "I suppose the one whom he forgave more." And He said to him, "You have judged correctly."
Luke 7:44; Turning toward the woman, He said to Simon, "Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has wet My feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair.
Luke 7:45; "You gave Me no kiss; but she, since the time I came in, has not ceased to kiss My feet.
Luke 7:46; "You did not anoint My head with oil, but she anointed My feet with perfume.
Luke 7:47; "For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little."
Luke 7:48; Then He said to her, "Your sins have been forgiven."
Luke 7:49; Those who were reclining at the table with Him began to say to themselves, "Who is this man who even forgives sins?"
Luke 7:50; And He said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you; go in peace."

Luke doesn't mention that Simon is a leper, but he mentions he is a Pharisee.
Luke says "there was a woman in the city who was a sinner". Just plain and simply... just like that. "who was a sinner". Weren't we all?

Now this is the most personal detail, there is a lot more compassion in this version. We find out things Matthew and Mark didn't tell us.
It's often that way in the Bible, one verse or even one chapter doesn't really give us all the details. Yet many people build an entire belief system on one or two verses.

I can almost see the love dripping here with every tear. This woman is weeping. In fact she wets Jesus's feet with her tears. How many tears would it take to wet someone's feet?

Feet... those dirty, dusty stinky, smelly things. It's usually the last part of someone we want to touch. No mention is made by Luke about how costly the perfume was.
But this woman... she wets Jesus's feet with her tears,... and then... she takes her hair and wipes them off. Could there ever be a more compassionate act? We when
are at the feet of Jesus, do we have the love this woman had?

Simon thinks to himself... if Jesus was "really" a prophet... He wouldn't even let this "sinful" woman touch Him. Perhaps a little judgmental.. but have we ever done the same thing? Have we ever judged some people unworthy to touch Jesus? Have we ever judged ourselves that way?

So Jesus tells Simon a story here. About two men who owed another man a lot of money. One man owed about $600,000 US dollars. The other man owed about $6,000 dollars.
But the man whom they owed money to.... forgave them both. Jesus asks Simon... which one loved the person who forgave them more?

I am out of time here this morning... to be continued ...
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Now of course after Jesus tells the story of the two men in debt. Jesus tells Simon....

You aren't the one anointing me with oil. You didn't give me a kiss, you didn't "waste" any money on perfume.

I think sometimes people meet with Jesus "at the table" for different reasons. Some people just want the status of "oh I know Jesus,
we've eaten together"... it's almost like they did Jesus a favor allowing Him to eat at their house. They don't have any affection for Him, they are just happy about what He
did for them. These people are very easy to spot. There are some here on TJ.

Jesus paid a higher price for some of us. He forgave us more than others... It seems these people think they are "good people". Jesus didn't have to do much for them (if anything) they already had one foot in heaven before they even knew Jesus, that's how good they are. The Bible is very clear about our good works don't save us.

..and yet, while our works may not save us.... our works are evidence that we are saved. One of the two people here really "worshiped" Jesus, and He knew it.
The other "important" person in the room merely wanted Jesus to visit for a while. He even doubted Jesus was "really a prophet". Some people doubt who Jesus
is, and yet.. somehow.. some way.. they want to know Him in a distant sense.

This final statement in Luke... is similar to what Jesus tells the woman who touched His garment... but is slightly different.
Instead of "your" faith.. has "healed you". He says... "your" faith has saved you. It's not God faith that saves us. It's our faith.

I don't know this woman's motivation for doing all of this to Jesus other than love.... nothing but love. Maybe she felt obligated, maybe she felt
she needed to "pay Jesus back". Only God knows the real reason(s)... but whatever it was. Jesus appreciated it. He certainly didn't condemn her for
doing "a good work" to Him. In fact He re-assures her. Your sins are forgiven.
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John 12:1; Jesus, therefore, six days before the Passover, came to Bethany where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead.
John 12:2; So they made Him a supper there, and Martha was serving; but Lazarus was one of those reclining at the table with Him.
John 12:3; Mary then took a pound of very costly perfume of pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped His feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.
John 12:4; But Judas Iscariot, one of His disciples, who was intending to betray Him, *said,
John 12:5; "Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and given to poor people?"
John 12:6; Now he said this, not because he was concerned about the poor, but because he was a thief, and as he had the money box, he used to pilfer what was put into it.
John 12:7; Therefore Jesus said, "Let her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of My burial.
John 12:8; "For you always have the poor with you, but you do not always have Me."

John's version give us a little more information that we never knew in the previous three versions.
Now Lazarus was at this table. (the one He raised from the dead) and also Mary and Martha are there.
Mary, Martha and Lazarus were from Bethany where Simon's house was. ( John 11:1; )

It would seem this is the same Mary in the story of Mary and Martha.

Luke 10:38; Now as they were traveling along, He entered a village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home.
Luke 10:39; She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord's feet, listening to His word.
Luke 10:40; But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, "Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me."
Luke 10:41; But the Lord answered and said to her, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things;
Luke 10:42; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her."

These are Lazarus's sisters.

John 11:20; Martha therefore, when she heard that Jesus was coming, went to meet Him, but Mary stayed at the house.
John 11:21; Martha then said to Jesus, "Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.

John 11:32; Therefore, when Mary came where Jesus was, she saw Him, and fell at His feet, saying to Him, "Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died."

So it seems the woman who anointed Jesus's feet with oil, tears and expensive perfume was Lazarus and Martha's sister.

The other thing we find out here was that Judas was stealing from the treasury box. He wanted the money from the perfume to be into the treasury so that....
ummm... he could help people?

This story is similar to the story of Martha and Mary, because even there Mary wanted to sit at Jesus's feet and worship Him. Nothing else mattered to her.
Jesus gave Martha an answer similar in some ways to what He told Simon the Pharisee.

John 12:1; says this was just six days before the passover feast. Of course that is when Jesus went to Jerusalem to be crucified. (Matt 26:2; Mark 14:1;
Luke 22:7; (perhaps the most telling verse)

But again.. what are you doing that's more important than Jesus right now? What are you spending your time and money on that's more important than Jesus today?
Where a man's treasure .... ( Matt 6:21; Luke 12:34; )

What have you done lately to show Jesus you love Him? That question isn't directed at Jesus.. it's directed at you (and me).
I had a stamp collection that Dad used to collect for me. They are all unused stamps, whenever a new set came out, dad would buy it. Then I would put it in this album. i have two albums full of stamps. (My dad is a collector..its really crazy...he collects records, notes, stamps, licence plate numbers...trains, weather data...anything with a number really). I dont even look at it anymore, as Dad stopped buying new stamps but was thinking lately would like to give it away. Well one church lady has a stamps for missionaries box at church. She says she knows a dealer who can sell them and give the money to missions. Or even if that doesnt happen, maybe someone who really likes stamps would like it.

Another thing God showing me is this ten string harp I bought but dont have time to play..I could bless someone by giving them this harp. But I dont know who yet.

These things were valuable and costly for me but maybe someone else would like them?