Most of us have heard the wonderful reports of revival at Asbury University in Kentucky, but few of us really know much about what is going on beyond the news reports. I really appreciated this story from our brother Dr. Bryan Galloway shared over on Pray for Revival today. I was blessed and thought that those who read this blog might be benefited by this well written and researched story.
While tens of thousands flocked to campus, school officials met in a storage closet to make decisions that would “honor what is happening.” DANIEL SILLIMAN Image: Asbury University The shofars didn’t start until Saturday. With them came the would-be prophets seeking to take center stage at the Asbury University chapel where students had been praying […]
And behold, a woman in the city who was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at the table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil, and stood at His feet behind Him weeping; and she began to wash His feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head; and she kissed His feet and anointed them with the fragrant oil. Luke 7:37-38 NIV
As with many of you, I have been struck by the revival at Asbury University as well as around the nation. The simple exuberance and humility of the mostly young people there has touched my heart and it reminds me of this story that Luke tells in his gospel. Sadly, I feel a lot more like Simon this morning than the woman and wonder what has happened to my heart. You see, Simon asked Jesus to his house, thinking that Jesus would be impressed by the invitation, much like I head off to church on Sunday mornings. Though Simon wasn’t one of those plotting to kill Jesus, he did have some serious reservations about what Jesus was teaching. The encouraging thing to me is that in spite of Simon’s shortcomings, Jesus accepted his invitation. But that day turned out to be a lot different than Simon had expected.
Simon’s problem was that he thought that he was in control of how things ought to go, much like I feel when the church service flows according to my expectations. But just when everything seemed to be going smoothly, a strange woman showed up at his door. She just came in uninvited and began washing Jesus’ feet. That unsettled Simon much as an altar full of weeping people upends our schedule. A lot like me, Simon defined his faith by his doing things to impress God, yet all the while remaining in control. But the faith of this woman was about more than just giving Jesus a seat at the table. Her faith saw Jesus for who He truly was! Think of all that Simon missed that day. He could have been one of those few throughout all of history who had washed Jesus’ feet, anointed His head with oil and given Him a kiss on the cheek. Instead, Simon contented himself by just inviting Jesus over for a visit. Is all that our Sunday services are anymore? Are we just inviting God to stop by for an hour? Or are we like that sinful woman whom Simon was very uncomfortable with? Will we receive something that Simon did not? Will we go off to lunch unchanged, or will we go home forgiven, blessed and at peace? Simon stuck to his plans but missed out on all that Jesus could have done for him. Let’s not miss our opportunity as Jesus is passing by today. Let’s not just spend our time trying to impress God. Instead, why don’t we wash the feet of the least of those who God puts in our path, pour oil on the wounds of those around us and give Jesus a kiss and worship Him for all that He has done?
In pouring this ointment on my body, she has done it to prepare me for burial. Matthew 26:12 ESV
Many years ago, as we sat through an average Sunday service, our pastor began to preach about the cross. First, he described the terrible beating that Jesus received and how the crown of thorns was pressed down on his head. “Next they took the nails” our pastor went on, “And they drove them through His hands….” he was suddenly interrupted by a tiny voice that pierced the silence of our congregation. “EEEW!” a little girl in the back cried out. The rest of us heard the message that morning, but I believe that in God’s eyes, she was the only person actually listening!
In our scripture passage today, it seems that just like that little girl; only Mary seemed to be listening. Jesus had told them many times that He was going to Jerusalem to die. But only Mary, understood that Jesus would not be with them much longer. Only Mary, who chose to sit at Jesus’ feet listening, did something to give Him her blessing while she still had time. Other people were celebrating and relaxing at the supper, but Mary poured out her alabaster box of perfumed oil on the Master’s feet. Everybody listens to someone. Who are you listening to today? If we want to fill the room with the fragrance of the presence of Christ, it all depends on listening at His feet and then acting on the words we hear!
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