Wednesday, December 8, 2010

God's Timeline

"While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper, a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table. When the disciples saw this, they were indignant. "Why this waste?" they asked. "This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor." Aware of this, Jesus said to them, "Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me. When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. "I tell you the truth, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her. Matthew 26:6-13

This verse isn't nearly as shocking as it should be to us. We readily accept Jesus's statement of "preached throughout the world" because that's exactly what happens today. I imagine that when Jesus first said it 2000 years ago, it was actually quite scandalous.

At that point in time, Jesus' ministry was relatively small. There were people in many towns, a few small countries, but only on one continent. How big did the people of Jesus' day think the world was? Certainly they must have guessed or known it was larger than the nations surrounding Israel. Today we know the world is huge compared to the relatively tiny amount of land that represented the sphere of influence in Jesus' earthly days.

The profundity of Jesus' claim that the gospel would be preached throughout the world cannot be understated. And today the Gospel is being preached throughout the world. What does this say about how God operates? Not only does He measure time in ways we can't comprehend - I'm inclined to believe that He has also provided us with the tools so that we are physically able to travel and communicate across the world to share the Gospel. As James 1:17 reminds us, "every good and perfect thing is from above, coming down from the Father of heavenly lights, who does not change like the shifting shadows". In fact, so much has changed in the world since Jesus's days on Earth. But has the Father changed? I find it comforting to know that He is the same God today as he was all that time ago.

So we are now remembering a woman who poured perfume over Jesus, in an act of adoration and faith in her savior. 2000 years later seems unimaginable to us that we are able to have this piece of history. In what seemed an impossible promise, Gods timeline and the way He works has made it possible for us to honor this woman.

If He can make this impossible promise come true for this unnamed woman, it seems to me that is quite capable to make the impossible come true for those of us who honor God as she did.

  1. She gave greatly to God. The very expensive jar of perfume she poured out was no doubt worth much. The disciples complain it could have been "sold at a high price".

  2. She gave and believed, even when it seemed senseless or wasteful by others. "Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me."

  3. "She did it to prepare me for burial"This woman listened to what Jesus had been preaching, that he would be die and come back in three days, and believed that he spoke the truth. She was of great faith.

If we are to be the recipients of scandalous promises like the one of Matthew 26:13, we need to live our lives and our faiths as this woman did. We need to trust His timeline for us, even when we can't see for ourselves how He is working in our lives.

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