Deny oneself is the path to discipleship. To deny oneself speaks of spiritual transformation only found when we accept Jesus as Savior of our life. This inner transformation enables us to become more Christ like in our behavior to others and our actions should reflect Jesus the longer we walk with Him. True sacrifice, the ultimate sacrifice is found in John 3:16-18 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
Sacrifice, Denial, surrendering ones will all requires each of us to pick up our cross daily and follow Jesus yet this is not at all easy otherwise everyone would do it! Yet Jesus encourages you and me to walk in faith on a daily basis and be drawn closer to Him when we walk in obedience.
Are we ready, willing to pick up our cross and follow Jesus , serve Him with your all no matter the cost?
Six days before Passover Jesus arrives in Bethany at Lazarus’ house and they host a meal in His honor. Usually in the day the host would wash the feet of his guests, Martha served the meal and Mary sat at Jesus feet.
Lazarus: The idea to get down on your knees and wash everyone s feet would cause us to be willing to humble ourselves before the guests. But there is a greater teaching here we are all called to serve others, our neighbors with love. There is no greater display of love when we kneel before our brother/sister and wash their feet. They perhaps have travelled some distance and need to be cleansed. Not only does a servant humbles himself before his brother but is acknowledging Christ who demonstrated this very action prior to his death. Upon completion of this ritual Lazarus joins Jesus at the table, listening and partaking in on the conversation, enjoying the ministry that is happening within the house. Lazarus has a particular desire not only are they close friends but Jesus breathed life back into Him after four day of being dead. Lazarus has a new purpose to live and it is all because of what Jesus had done.
Martha: The heart of a servant working diligently in the kitchen, preparing the meal, serving her guests or should I say friends for this family were very close to Jesus and His disciples who had shared more than one meal. If you had the choice where would you want to be at the feet, serving, or listening to the Lord? Sure it is an easy task to sit at our Lord’s feet but we need to understand that each of us are one body made up of many parts. In other words not one of us is more important than the other.
Martha’s desire to work with her hands, rising early, making the preparations for a meal of honor. Martha loved Jesus to prepare a meal of celebration for one she loved was her privilege. Sacrifice is asked of us all but are we willing to give up to be of service for the lord.
FRENCH ROMAN CATHOLIC THEOLOGIAN, POET, WRITER, AND MYSTIC (1651–1715)
Self-denial has its place in a Christian’s life, but God doesn’t ask you to choose what is most painful to you. If you followed this path, you would soon ruin your health, reputation, business, and friendships.
Self-denial consists of bearing patiently all those things that God allows to pass into your life. If you don’t refuse anything that comes in God’s order, you are tasting of the cross of Jesus Christ.
How many of us enjoy the invitation to a meal, especially when you are the honored guest, as you arrive and discover the effort and the work that has gone into such an occasion. You might offer can I lend you my hand, is there anything I can do. Yet your host welcomes you to sit and relax, you might even feel like royalty.
Mary: Jesus reclining at the table surrounded by his disciples and Lazarus, Mary sits and Jesus feet, Have not some of us thought that when we get to heaven that’s where I want to be at the Masters feet, listening to His every word, yearning for more of His teaching and the wonder as He opens the scriptures to us. In John 4 we have that beautiful account of Jesus ministering to the Samaritan woman hear the words of Jesus as he addresses the type of worshiper His Father seeks: “Those who worship in Spirit and in Truth.” Mary took a pint of pure Nard perfume breaks the seal and begins to wash Jesus feet with her hair. This is a gesture of love, her action draws attention to those around the table. There was one named Judas whose grumblings, sneers, what a waste, in other words Judas a preacher of the gospel could only find fault, instead of recognizing her gesture he objected to her pious affection. How many of us would speak or react the way Judas did? Are we quick to pass judgment without thinking the words come tumbling out before we take time and ponder what to speak. As children we used to hear these words “if you don’t have anything good to say, say nothing at all.”
We see Love’s extravagance:
This is a true sign of Mary’s love for Jesus, it is not limited she washes Him with a pint not half or a quarter but she willing gave it all. When we love Jesus are we not encouraged to give our very best, surrendering the very best as a sign of our love for the Lord! Mary took the most precious thing she possessed and spent it all on Jesus. Love is not love if its nicely calculates the cost. It gives it all and its only regret is that it has not still more to give.
Mary not only bestowed her most treasured gift and she poured this perfume with her own hands. Usually you would anoint someone with oil on their head, but why his feet? Ephesians 5:1-2 “Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; 2 And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savour.”
We see love’s humility:
It is a sign of honor to anoint a person’s head. Psalm 23:5 “Thou anointest my head with oil,” The last thing Mary thought was to confer honor upon Jesus; she never thought she was good enough. What is the significance of Mary’s gesture of pouring this perfume on Jesus’ feet. Jimmy Swaggart makes reference saying: “It was testimony to his coming resurrection, and she knew she would have no other opportunity; incidentally, Mary was not found at the empty tomb; she was too spiritually intelligent to be there.
We see love’s unselfconsciousness:
Mary wiped Jesus’ feet with the hair of her head. In Palestine no respectable woman would ever appear in public with her hair unbound. On the day a girl was married her hair was bound up, and never again would she be seen in public with her long tresses flowing loose. That was a sign of an immoral woman. But Mary never thought of that. William Barclay writes: When two people love each other they live in a world of their own. Mary loved Jesus so much that it was nothing to her what others thought.
Judas was not interested in what Mary was doing, he certainly was not interested in the poor he was the purse collector, one who would help himself to the treasury of Christ’s household. What estate did Jesus and the disciples have to live on, a money bag if there was extra they gave to the poor, the needy.
Winston Churchill spoke of sacrifice: “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” 2 Corinthians 9:7 “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” Where did Judas’ heart lie, he was a thief, trusted with the money with a love for money. Jesus comes to Mary’s rescue Leave her alone!
Jesus: He gives a favourable interpretation of what Mary had done. “It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial.” Jesus was saying this day is at hand and that my body is already dead.
Romans 5:8-9 “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!”
"Come unto me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and you shall find rest unto your souls." - Mathew 11:28