Love Never Calculates!
Matthew 26:1-13 (Pastor Heo)
The Plot Against Jesus
26:2-5pp — Mk 14:1,2; Lk 22:1,2
1 When Jesus had finished saying all these things, he said to his disciples, 2 “As you know, the Passover is two days away–and the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified.” 3 Then the chief priests and the elders of the people assembled in the palace of the high priest, whose name was Caiaphas, 4 and they plotted to arrest Jesus in some sly way and kill him. 5 “But not during the Feast,” they said, “or there may be a riot among the people.”
Jesus Anointed at Bethany
26:6-13pp — Mk 14:3-9 26:6-13Ref — Lk 7:37,38; Jn 12:1-8
6 While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper, 7 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. 8 When the disciples saw this, they were indignant. “Why this waste?” they asked. 9 “This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor.” 10 Aware of this, Jesus said to them, “Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. 11 The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me. 12 When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. 13 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.”
As we know, things are now moving to a climax.
Stages in chp 26:
- Bethany – worship vs. waste
- Upper room (next time) – faithfulness vs. betrayal
- Gethsemane (final prayer of Jesus) – submission vs. resistance
This is the beginning of the Last Act in this Divine Tragedy. Jesus makes it clear that his purpose = the cross.
v. 2 “all these things” = his teaching about the Kingdom of Heaven (chp 23, 24, 25)
The Passover – two days away – the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified.
Jesus was never surprised by the coming inevitability of his death.
“The Son of Man” (referencing himself)
- “came not to be served but to serve”
- “no one can take my life from me – I lay it down of my own accord – I do it freely and I have authority to take it up again”
The story of Passover (Exodus 12) has GREAT significance.
This time commemorated THE night when the angel of death “passed over” the houses of Israelites with the blood of a lamb spread over their doors. The angel killed all the first born of the Egyptians with no blood of the lamb.
After this time, they were released into freedom.
This Passover commemorates (in a 7 day feast “of unleavened bread” – the 7 days following the first day Passover) the sparing of the lives of their first-born sons.
This day is celebrated on the first day of the month of Nissan (the religious calendar). This is the FIRST month in the year. According to our political calendars, this is at the end of March/beginning of April.
This event foreshadows Christ – to save his people from the penalty of sin and death.
- 1 Corinthians 5:7 “Jesus Christ is our Passover Lamb.”
Get rid of the old yeast so that you may be a new batch without yeast. Why? Because Jesus, our Passover lamb has been crucified.
v. 6-13 (The story of Bethany)
Very expensive perfume. Do you like perfume? Especially Middle East (very hot) countries like perfume a lot.
Last verse : “Wherever this gospel is preached, what she has done will also be told in memory of her.” What does this mean? Jesus says, “Yes, I will keep what she has done for me in my heart until my Second Coming.”
This same story is also written in the other 3 gospels. Mark is almost identical to this, John identifies her name as “Mary.” – the sister of Martha and Lazarus.
This same Mary is found three times in the gospels – in each of the three cases, Mary is “at the feet” of Christ.
- Luke 10 – she sat at his feet and listened to his Word
- John 11 – she came to his feet in sorrow – burdened by the death of her brother
- Matthew 26 – she worshiped at his feet when she anointed his feet with perfume
- She found blessing at his feet
- She released her burdens at his feet
- She brought her greatest things to his feet
From this story, let’s see 4 lessons:
1. Love’s extravagance
Mary took her MOST precious possession and poured it over his feet. Many women at that time LOVED perfume – it was so valuable and expensive and many women carried it in an alabaster jar around their necks.
- In Mark – “this perfume could be sold for more than ONE YEAR’S wages”
- In John – Judas said, “this perfume was worth one year’s wages” = 300 denarii
- In the feeding of 5000 adult men (plus women and children) with 2 bread and 5 fish? Philip said, “We need 200 denarii to feed these people”
Mary gave her MOST precious possession simply because she loved and worshiped Christ. If she had had something EVEN GREATER than this, she would have sacrificed it with the same love.
“True love never calculates – it never counts the cost” – have you ever loved someone with this kind of agape love?
Love never counts how little it can give – it gives ALL it can give and then thinks that it is still giving too LITTLE. It still wants to give a little more.
Yes, God our Father is like this.
He already gave his BEST – Jesus, his one and only Son and STILL he is giving us, and he wants to give MORE.
- Romans 8:32 “God, who did not spare his own Son and gave him up for us all, how will he not also graciously give us all things?”
- “Love your God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength.”
- Jesus asks us personally, individually, privately, “do you love me?”
2. There are times when the “common sense” view of things fails
Do you have “common sense”? Yes. We must all have “common sense” in these things. In this occasion, “common sense” says, “What a waste.” Yes, according to “common sense” this is a BIG waste, a stupid and foolish action.
But we must know that there is a WORLD of difference between the economies of “common sense” and “love”.
A gift is never a gift truly when we can easily afford it. A gift is only ever a gift when there is sacrifice behind it.
Do you remember the story of the Lost Sheep in Luke 15?
A man had 100 sheep and lost one. What does common sense tell you to do? Worldly economics seems to tell us to FOCUS on the other 99 to not lose any more. Leaving them in order to search out ONE lost sheep – this is not common sense. This seems foolish, stupid, and MORE dangerous.
At that time, we individually were LOST – we were that ONE.
If God treated us in that “common sense” manner… God would not have come to save us by his absolute grace by allowing his one and only Son to die on the cross.
3. Certain things must be done when the opportunity arises or they cannot be done at all
v. 9 This is not said for the sake of the POOR truly, but rather for the sake of the MONEY – their own jealousy and selfishness.
Jesus says, “OK, the poor will always be here, but I will not.” (Remember last week – Jesus strongly commanded us to help the poor – last week he emphasized that helping the poor IS actually helping him).
His point is: there are some things in this world that we can do ANYTIME (if) we want. But, there are some things that we can only do ONCE – only at the particular time, and if we do not, we will miss the opportunity. The time will NEVER return. So, we must be wise to discern this matter.
What are those things?
As you know, in this story, Judas was the first man to shout “What a waste!” (he was the money keeper, the treasurer – he loved money). Later, Jesus called him “The son of perdition” – “the son of waste” – “the son of damnation.”
Judas wasted his opportunities, his life, his soul.
If we do not waste our lives for Christ, we will waste our lives, our time, our opportunities, and maybe our souls. To waste our lives for Christ is the only best way to GAIN our lives in eternity.
4. The fragrance of lovely deeds lasts forever
(v. 13) This is the will of Christ “I WILL remember – memorize – keep in my heart – until my Second Coming.”
There are so FEW lovely things that even ONE thing shines like a bright light in a dark world.
We can picture what will happen to Christ in the near future. There was so much bitterness at the end of Christ’s life in this world – so much injustice, etc – that THIS story shines like an oasis of light in a darkening world.
- Daniel 12:3 “Those who lead many people to righteousness (Jesus Christ, our Lord) will shine like the stars in the sky forever and ever”
- 1 Cor 10:13 “Jesus Christ is our sanctification, righteousness…etc”
In our application: your actions, my actions, our actions, – our effort to lead people to righteousness (Christ) will shine in God’s heart as the MOST precious, shining light.