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ALL OUT - SPIRIT EMPOWERED SACRIFICE
Sacrifice is not a very popular word in this day and age. Honestly, who WANTS to sacrifice? Especially if you know the meaning.
- Destruction or surrender of something for the sake of something else
- Give up
- An act of offering to a deity something precious
Society is looking for what they can receive, not for what they can give. I mean, we could point fingers, but in actuality, most of us give more willingly if we know there is a gain coming from the giving. But there is something else happening. Before I tell you what that is, let us look at one of the most extravagant cases of giving recorded in the Word.
Mark 14:1-3 NIV
1 Now the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread were only two days away, and the chief priests and the teachers of the law were looking for some sly way to arrest Jesus and kill Him. 2 "But not during the Feast," they said, "or the people may riot." 3 While He was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on His head.
We know that in reality this ointment was worth a year’s wages. The people who were there were engaged in natural thinking. They did not appreciate at ALL what this woman was doing, so they came up with their own ideas of what should have been done differently.
Mark 14:4-5 NIV
4 Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, "Why this waste of perfume? 5 It could have been sold for more than a year's wages and the money given to the poor." And they rebuked her harshly.
Wouldn’t it have been so much more “appropriate” to apply the cost to those poor people who were in need, instead of pouring it OUT on Jesus’ head? They were so proud of their judgment, as if they would have done that. But I didn’t read of any of them giving a year’s wages to the poor, did you? But Jesus had something amazing to say to them.
Mark 14:6 NIV
"Leave her alone," said Jesus. "Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to Me."
Jesus is much more aware of what is actually happening than these men are. He is trying to wake them up to the bigger, higher picture.
Mark 14:7 NIV
The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have Me.
He knows what is about to happen to them. Though He has made it clear to many that He knows why He is going to Jerusalem (to lay down His life), they are still thinking in natural terms. So let me stop right here and think this through with you a minute.
Do you think this woman woke up in the morning and knew she was going to pour a year’s wages on Jesus’ head? I mean, it is possible, because I don’t know a lot of people who carry something that expensive around with them on a regular basis. But why would she?
If you don’t dive further into the Scriptures, this kind of sacrifice may not make any sense to you either—unless you know who is really doing it and why. Let us look at this in another Gospel, the Gospel of John.
John 12:1 NKJV
Then, six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was who had been dead, whom He had raised from the dead.
So we already know they are in Simon the leper’s house. Martha, Lazarus, and Mary were there.
John 12:2 NKJV
There they made Him a supper; and Martha served, but Lazarus was one of those who sat at the table with Him
Now we get to a very important part.
John 12:3 NKJV
Then Mary took a pound of very costly oil of spikenard, anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil.
She poured it on His head, she poured it on His feet, and she wiped it with her hair. So now the mystery woman of Luke is uncovered. This is Mary, the sister of Lazarus. This is VERY important to understand, because Mary was there when her brother died! She was there when he was anointed for burial. She was there when Lazarus’ body was at the point that his flesh would be decaying.
This Mary had an EXPERIENCE that no one could take away from her. She had seen Jesus come to her in her time of need. She had heard His voice shatter the POWER of death and the grave. She had experienced resurrection POWER as Jesus stood in authority and cried, “Lazarus, come forth!”
It is this Mary who insisted on staying at Jesus’ feet to learn about Him, to hear what He had to say. She was hungry; she was passionate. She became “in tune” to the bigger picture. The bigger picture was looking past the death of her brother into the POWER of the resurrection. She had heard Jesus say He would go to Jerusalem. She knew Jesus said He would die.
But this Mary, on this day, took a year’s worth of wages, for a purpose. Let’s go back to Mark’s account for a moment.
Mark 14:8 NIV
She did what she could. She poured perfume on My body beforehand to prepare for My burial.
Hold up! Jesus said her extravagance came because there was something much bigger going on that no one else was realizing. In a few days, He would hang on the cross. His body would still have the fragrance of the oils used for burial.
Her sacrificial giving was to prepare Him because as He hung there on the cross, He would think of Mary, Lazarus, and John and ALL of us, because the joy of HIS PURPOSE kept Him on the cross.
Mary wasn’t wasteful. Mary had experienced the truth that permeated the atmosphere of the natural. She was reacting extravagantly because this was what compelled her to be a sacrificial giver.
Mark 14:9 NIV
I tell you the truth, wherever the Gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.
You see, something different has to occur in hearts that are to be ALL OUT. She was EMPOWERED by the SPIRIT, compelled by the SPIRIT, to prepare Jesus for His burial. Maybe she didn’t even know why she felt compelled to spill the oil upon Him and knead it into Him until Jesus spoke these words to those that were there. Jesus was more than a friend to her. She took ownership of their relationship as she honored Him with the most precious, expensive thing she had and utilized it as a part of her heartfelt worship to honor Him.
You see, you won’t sacrifice until HE IS YOURS! You won’t sacrifice until He is not:
- Just someone else’s Savior.
- Someone else’s Lord.
- Someone else’s answer.
You must EXPERIENCE what you can only experience when you hang on His words, when you sit at His feet, when you serve Him with ALL that you have. When you give sacrificially, it is because you VALUE the relationship. You value His sacrifice and you respond in kind.
This is the time for an awareness of Holy SPIRIT EMPOWERED sacrificial giving. As we surrender ALL that we are and ALL that we have, we will experience the resurrection POWER of our Lord and Savior.
Dear Lord, oh how I want You to say the words to me that You said about Mary! How wonderful it would be—that something I offered to You that was beyond what I thought I could give—would be known around the world as being done unto You! I want to honor You for who You are and what a difference You have made.
I don’t want to hold onto anything but You. Please forgive me for withholding anything, and for my selfish ideals. Help me to lay it ALL down at Your feet as I behold Your death, burial and resurrection. May my offering be a sweet-smelling savor unto You, that still reminds You I am part of the joy that comes to You from Your willing sacrifice.
In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Take some time to reflect on what you just read by answering these questions in the comment section below:
- What was your “aha” moment from today?
- Do you have questions about today’s Fasting Guide or need further clarification? Write out your question(s) here.