Love for Jesus
Text: Matthew 26 : 1 - 30
Faith in Jesus brings on a relationship with Him as Saviour. Nevertheless, faith is only the first response. Faith and love are to be differentiated! The Apostle Paul correctly extolled love in his oft-quoted classic statement on love.
“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels,
but have not love, I have become sounding brass or
a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy,
and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge, and though
I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains,
but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow
all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body
to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.
And now abide faith, hope and love, these three;
but the greatest of these is love.”
1 CORINTHIANS 13:1-3, 13
Paul was extolling the virtue of love, with reference to fellow-believers! If we are supposed to have this kind of love for each other, how much more should we learn to love the Lord! He surely deserves the kind of love that Mary displayed when she gave her spikenard perfume to Jesus.
AN EMOTIVE ARGUMENT
Judas brought up an emotive argument when he mentioned the poor. All the disciples agreed with his statement.
“Why this waste? For this fragrant oil might have been sold
For much and given to the poor.”
MATTHEW 26:8b-9 (cf. JOHN 12:4-6)
1. Valid Concern for the poor
Concern for the poor is always valid. However, does the validity of concern for the poor cancel out giving to Jesus a special gift? Surely not!
Had not Jesus spent time with the poor? Had He not fed them? Had He not healed them? Had He not befriended them and invited them to enter His Father’s Kingdom! Had Jesus failed to show concern for the poor? Of course not! Why then bring up an emotive argument that threatened to cast a pall of gloom over the gift to Jesus!
2. Valid Concern for Jesus!
Judas was not concerned about the poor when he said what he did. John informs us in his gospel that he was nothing but a cheap thief.
A case must be made to argue for expressing love and concern for Jesus! He was their Teacher and their Friend, was He not? Would they begrudge anyone doing something especially nice for Him? He was also the Messiah and the Saviour! He certainly deserved the very best of gifts! It is unfortunate that so few expressed to Jesus what Mary did!
Jesus in defending Mary made a classic reply against the almost unassailable heart-tugging words of Judas!
“For the poor you have with you always,
but Me you do not have always.”
Were the disciples concerned for the poor? That was great! They could devote their whole life to caring for the poor!
But what about Jesus? Did He not rate special and preferential treatment? Had they taken Him so much for granted that they balked at the thought of “wasting” a 300 denarii gift? Yes, it would have cost a common labourer 300 days of wages to purchase this spikenard. That was a costly gift! But was Jesus not worth it all? To one who had learned to love Jesus as Mary did, the cost of the gift was not even in her mind.
THE CHALLENGE TO CULTIVATE A HEART OF LOVE FOR JESUS
The Apostle Paul was a great apostle. His contribution to the growth of the first century church is almost immeasurable. The legacy of his epistles is priceless. His writings display the fact that he was a man of great knowledge and wisdom. Yet he was also a man who recognized the importance of having a deep love for Jesus. As he wrote to the Ephesians, Paul made a special prayer on their behalf. He prayed that the Church may be lots stronger and wiser. However, that was not sufficient. He prayed that they might be filled with the deepest love for Jesus.
“That Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith;
that you, being rooted and grounded in love,
may be able to comprehend with all the saints
what is the width and length and depth and height –
to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge;
that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”
The Apostle John agrees with Paul in his emphasis of being filled with a love for God. John wrote in his first general epistle.
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God;
and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.
He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.”
1 JOHN 4:7-8
If anyone could be cited as having exemplified this love, Mary did. She had learned to love Jesus deeply. How well have we learned to love Jesus – our Saviour?