November 5, 2018
Now the Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread were only two days away, and the chief priests and the teachers of the law were scheming to arrest Jesus secretly and kill him. 2 “But not during the festival,” they said, “or the people may riot.”
3 While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head.
4 Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, “Why this waste of perfume? 5 It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages and the money given to the poor.” And they rebuked her harshly.
Remember that Sesame Street song, “Who are the People in your Neighborhood?” If you need a quick review you can watch it here.
As we make the turn to the cross, today’s text (and tomorrow’s) shows us the three basic kinds of people we will meet on the way—then and now.
So who are the people we meet on the way to the Cross?
Type #1: The people who are concerned about maintaining their power.
and the chief priests and the teachers of the law were scheming to arrest Jesus secretly and kill him.
Type #2: The people who are concerned about maintaining their reputation.
Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, “Why this waste of perfume? 5 It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages and the money given to the poor.” And they rebuked her harshly.
Type #3: The people who are concerned neither about their power or their reputation but who actually lay down their power in order to preserve the reputation of another.
a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head.
The Type #1 people are deadly. The Type #2 people are dedicated. The Type #3 people are devoted.
These three kinds of people are always present.
The Type #1 people are always present. Look for the people who seemingly have the most to lose in a situation. They are the power players. They play hardball. They are law makers and law enforcers and ironically they turn out to be law breakers. Relative to the other two types there are far fewer Type #1 people.
The Type #2 people abound. They are everywhere. They don’t make the rules but they will bend over backwards to follow them. However, in following the rules, they often miss the point even though they technically get it right. These are the dedicated and disciplined disciples. Type #2 people are often well-intentioned, good people. Ironically, they can be the most dangerous people of all. They tend to put principle over people.
The Type #3 people are extremely rare. For them it’s all about people. They are about people in ways that redefine principle and power in the light of holy love. They are uncalculated givers. They do inconceivable things in the interest of loving God and others. In fact, they have such a level of self awareness of their gratitude that they become self forgetful about their own needs. They are the ones whose life makes no sense apart from Jesus. He is their only explanation and because of Him their lives are arresting. They are the unlikely holy ones; whose lives may seem small and inconsequential at the time but who will never be forgotten. They are the worshippers.
Spirit of the Living God, fall afresh on me. Lord Jesus, it strikes me that only this woman had her full attention on you. Everyone else was focused on themselves. And it strikes me that the more I try not to focus on myself I am still focused on myself. Set me free to fix my attention on you alone. Melt me. Mold me. Fill me. Use me. For the glory of your name, Jesus. Amen.
So how about you? It’s easy to see these types of people at work in Scripture. Can you see yourself in any or all of these descriptions? What would it mean to become a Type #3 person? Do you know any Type #3 persons? What is a simple step in that direction you might take today?
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