Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Keeping me humble

Last week in BSF was an awesome lesson. I’ve been looking forward to these last few chapters in Matthew for several weeks now and I have not been disappointed. Matthew 26 has so many points for us to learn from.

Although not the first I discovered, the first thing you notice is that Mary anointed Jesus for his coming death and burial when no one, not even his disciples, believed he would actually die on the Cross and be buried only to rise again. How could some random woman understand things that Peter, James, and John did not? Well one thing that was pointed out is that every time Jesus saw Mary she was at his feet. She continued to humble herself before Jesus and listened to every word he said. While Martha was preparing a meal, she was sitting with Jesus listening. When her brother died, she was the one to run out and greet him falling to his feet. Finally here, she was the one that didn’t just dab perfume that cost one years wage but broke the bottle to anoint Jesus’ head and feet filling the room with the aroma. I am challenged and encouraged by her devotion. Just as she constantly sought God, I am challenged to do the same. I am encouraged that through that, I will be able to understand exactly what God is saying even when others may not. That clarity allowed her to make the right decisions and was often praised by Jesus despite the jeers from the others.

The next thing that I noticed was how Jesus responded to God’s will. Obviously Jesus didn’t want to be beaten, spit on, flogged, and hung on a cross naked. He did not want his disciples and closest friends to desert him or to be cast away from God presence. Nobody likes to be alone and Jesus knew for the first time in his life he would be in total isolation with the guilt of all the sins of the world on him. For a sinless man, that was just asking too much. Luckily Jesus was also God and despite his reservations about going forward, he decided to take it in prayer. Let’s look further into that night in the garden.

He said he was grieved to the point of death at that point and so He prayed. Jesus expressed his desire for another way and the anguish following through would take on his mental and physical health. How often have we pleaded with God to answer “just this one request?” That is what Jesus is doing here. Next he submits himself before God and says that He will do God’s will even if it doesn’t go along with his plan. I think at that point, he understood God was saying no. Finally he prays a few times saying if you won’t take it away and I have to go along with things, “not my will but Yours” be done. To me this means that He says He will do what God is asking even though he does not want to but He is also asking for help here. I think Jesus is saying if He is to follow through and stay on the right path, He will need God’s help to continue. It is too easy to take no and come to the conclusion that God won't bring good things into your life so you might as well take them. What that is saying is you aren't accepting God's timing therefore decided to settle for something much less. Like Jesus, we need help humbling ourselves to God’s plan. That involves having peace despite trials and resolve in the face of opposition.

When you look at these two passages, it’s pretty amazing how in tune they are. Both Mary and Jesus humbled themselves before God and that is why they were able to understand what God’s plan was. I’ve learned a lot from this past week of study and unfortunately I’ve already had to put that lesson into practice. No, I should say that. Any time you choose to accept God’s will, that is never an unfortunate situation. Oh, and God's timing is perfect... like when I was to read this passage.

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