Here is the scene: Mary is drawn into extravagant worship—after all, her brother is alive! And the Teacher is sitting at her table, enjoying a meal her sister has prepared. What else could she do? Give it all away!
It Costs Everything
Mary had to worship, and it cost her everything: a year’s wages’ worth of spikenard, her dignity, her hair, and the reproach of the entire room as they all became indignant upon witnessing such a waste of money. Except Jesus. He loved it. In fact, He defended her and even memorialized the moment into the Gospel story and into eternity, so that wherever the Gospel is preached today, this act of extravagant, abandoned, prophetic worship is declared, too. Why? Because Mary did what no one else could do for Jesus after this pivotal moment in time: She anointed Him for His imminent burial.
Resurrection life was in her house, and yet, somehow, she felt compelled to anoint Jesus for burial. Anointing Him in worship, extravagantly pouring out her treasure upon Jesus’ feet and wiping His feet with her hair—how intimate is that? It was apparently intense enough that it brought fierce indignation among all; again, except for Jesus. He received this act for His burial from her and defended her vehemently. I believe something very similar will be happening in the final days before Jesus’ return. Resurrection life will be experienced in the Church. Many will attain to the Resurrection, sitting with Jesus in heavenly places while still living on earth. From a place of full, overflowing gratitude, seeing His worth and simply responding with extravagant and abandoned worship, we will again pour our valuable ointment upon His feet, filling the whole earth with its fragrance. We will anoint Jesus for His return.
Other Extravagant Acts of Worship
The common folk of Jerusalem, without religious responsibilities, could celebrate Jesus coming into the city on Palm Sunday. They were filled with hope in resurrection life, seen and told in the miracle of Lazarus’ resurrection! They shouted, “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!” (Mark 11:9, NKJV). The Pharisees were offended again, demanding Jesus to rebuke His disciples. Jesus said, “I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out.” (Luke 19:40).
The entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem was marked by extravagant, outrageous praise, free of dignity; the people, in the spirit of David, welcomed Jesus as David had welcomed the Ark of God into Jerusalem so many years before. The Pharisees stood, just as Michal had when David danced in wholehearted abandonment before the Lord: incensed, despising this extravaganza in their hearts.
But Jesus Wasn’t Finished
The next day, He drove out the money changers from the Temple, overturning their tables. He called the Temple back to prayer, decreeing it “His Father’s House.” The sick, the oppressed–all came. Remember, Lazarus and his miracle was the talk of Jerusalem! Expectancy was everywhere. Many were healed as Jesus taught. Children with soft hearts, quick to believe, easily carried by the Spirit, began to sing, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” (Matthew 21:15). The Pharisees were infuriated! “And they said to him, ‘Do You hear what these are saying?’ And Jesus said to them, ‘Yes. Have you never read, “Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants You have perfected praise”?’” (Matthew 21:16). Extravagant, childlike faith and hilarious, playful praise had taken over the Temple, “silencing the enemy and the avenger.” For had they read Psalm 8:2, they would have seen that the Lord ordained this kind of praise in order to silence His enemies.
Notice all the stirrings of resurrection life in this moment of time: the miracle of Lazarus; the expectancy and faith of the people; the extravagant and wholehearted praise of Mary; the life in her house; the people on the streets; and the children in the Temple, all receiving Jesus in His coming to Jerusalem. The Lord reigned in Jerusalem! There was no stopping Him. But He had not yet come to be King, but rather to suffer and die for our sins as the Passover Lamb.
As it was, so shall it be. As the Lord prepares for His coming again, so shall His Mary’s, His multitudes and His children awaken to experience the Lord’s resurrection life and give Him praise! Extravagant, ridiculous, outrageous, wholehearted praise. We will anoint Him for His return! Can you feel what the rocks are feeling today? He is close. . . who will be His Mary?
Encounters with the Living God
As we posture our hearts NOW, in this fullness of time, to pour out praise and recognize stirrings of resurrection in our own lives, it might be helpful to end this Secret Place with thoughts on, “What is a ‘God Encounter’”? An Encounter is a living experience with God, His Word and His Spirit. It happens when we engage our hearts and respond to the subtle movements and sounds of the Lord. Here, we meet with the Lord, come to know Him, and are known by Him. We see, hear, and understand; we turn to Him and are healed. It is the essence of faith and relationship where we see intimately, both into the heart of God and into our own hearts. From here on out, up to the “Final Approach” Passion Week, April 14-21st , all of our services will include practicing and recognizing encounters with God. Be expectant and ready to encounter Jesus, the Living God. . .