Are you dreading Valentines Day? Expectations of an upcoming Valentines Day are looming as the day approaches. We long to be on the receiving end of any gesture of friendship or love.
Last year, I took a class where John 12:1-8 was studied.
In this passage, we find Jesus reclining at the home of Lazarus, Mary is near Jesus. Martha is serving.
Mary is esteemed because of her outward display of devotion toward Jesus. She gave all she had to worship Jesus and show her love to Him. This story is about one who loves big.
It was six days before the Passover Feast. Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived. Lazarus was the one Jesus had raised from the dead.
2 A dinner was given at Bethany to honor Jesus. Martha served the food. Lazarus was among the people at the table with Jesus. 3 Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard. It was an expensive perfume. She poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped them with her hair. The house was filled with the sweet smell of the perfume.
4 But Judas Iscariot didn’t like what Mary did. He was one of Jesus’ disciples. Later he was going to hand Jesus over to his enemies. Judas said, 5 “Why wasn’t this perfume sold? Why wasn’t the money given to poor people? It was worth a year’s pay.” 6 He didn’t say this because he cared about the poor. He said it because he was a thief. Judas was in charge of the money bag. He used to help himself to what was in it.
7 “Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. “The perfume was meant for the day I am buried. 8 You will always have the poor among you. But you won’t always have me.”
What lavish love Mary displays.
Have you shown this kind of love toward Jesus?
Do you know how to love that big?
Compared to Jesus, we all fall short of loving big.
I don’t feel that people can love big if they haven’t fallen in love with Jesus.
When we fall in love with Jesus, our focus changes and obedience to Him is first. We are able to enjoy His presence in our lives. We will do things we previously wouldn’t have done. Our actions are marked by faith in the One
- who has our back
- who will see the purity in our hearts AND
- who appreciates our selfless motivation and sacrifice
We live for the audience of One.
Loving big means we care about what God thinks more than how our love will be received or perceived by another human.
Judas’ weakness was that he cared only for himself. When he tried to deceitfully make a point about Mary’s love toward Jesus being misguided, this selfishness and darkness in his character was exposed.
The difference between Judas and Mary is stark. Judas cared only for himself, but not only that, he tried to garner favor for his position by pulling in the poor as his cover. He not only revealed his true colors, but tried to deceive those around him into thinking he was concerned for the poor.
Jesus, of course, would have been the one present that would have been concerned for the poor, most of all. The fact that Judas tried this tactic with Jesus present exposes even more about Judas that is unfavorable and repulsive, to say the least.
Mary on the other hand is generous in her expression of love. To be clear, it was a display. Unabashed, Mary seems oblivious to the dark character sitting near her in Judas and still displays a lavish love for Jesus using a lavish product. She is one to admire and esteem.
Jesus knew both hearts of course, and welcomed Mary’s love and worship while penetrating the darkness of Judas with a direct command to leave Mary alone.
This story thrills me. Jesus, a man willing to fellowship with friends and foes alike, ready to defend the pure in heart, able to receive a lavish love and appreciate the sacrifice. Yet, in a few words, He exposes the motives and forces of evil sitting near Him.
This valentines can be celebrated by focusing on your relationship with Jesus if you know Him. Why not write Him a love letter thanking Him for who He is and remembering how well He has loved you in recent days. Mary held nothing back and she’s a worthy example of one that had so richly experienced the love of Jesus and was eager to love Him.
Jesus is the answer to a dull, and jaded heart and the One who can help us love Him lavishly. Usually this shows up best in how we love our neighbors under our roof and around us.
Jesus rewards a pure heart every time. A life of devotion to Him is a life marked by displays of love to Him.
This valentines, don’t hold back. Spend time with Jesus. Give Him you heart. Ask forgiveness for holding any part of it back from Him. This will enable you to love big.
Let Jesus protect your heart.
We see in this story, He surely will.