Memorial of Mary of Bethany

Jesus said, Verily I say unto you, wherever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she has done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her. Mark 14:9; Matthew 26:13.

Ironically, in these two accounts, the words are spoken on behalf of an unnamed woman who came in during a dinner with Jesus at the table. “There came a woman having an alabaster box of very precious ointment and poured it on His head.”  The gospel of John fills in the missing pieces. Chapter 12 of his gospel identifies the woman as Mary, the sister of Martha, and Lazarus, who Jesus raised from the dead. Martha is serving the dinner.

This set the stage for Jesus to enter Jerusalem, for word of Lazarus having been raised from the dead had ignited the large crowds on hand for the Passover. The chief priests consulted to also see Lazarus put to death, because by reason of him many of the Jews believed in Jesus.

We are also informed by John 11:2 it was Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment and wiped his feet with her hair. This account is found in           Luke 7:37-50. The Lord uses this opportunity to make a very important point: “to whom little is forgiven, loves little.

This is not to say that some people are less of a sinner and need less forgiveness, but some fail to acknowledge their condition and need for reconciliation with God. The Pharisee saw himself as having a relationship with God, while looking down on Mary as a sinner. Thus she is told; “your sins are forgiven”, and “your faith has saved you, go in peace.”

In Luke 10:38-42, we find another narrative involving Mary and Martha, with Jesus a guest in their home. Martha was busy with much serving while her sister sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. Martha exclaimed, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Bid her to come help me.” To which Jesus replied unto her, “Martha, Martha, you are careful and troubled about many things but one thing is needful, and Mary has chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”

We cannot imagine wrong in someone with a heart to serve, but can see where there is a time for everyone to be still and know the Lord. However, Jesus is not just speaking to a willingness to serve.

We can see a greater concern for someone who is careful and troubled and should fully consider what the Lord is addressing.

The word translated careful here is used by Jesus repeatedly in His sermons, but the more typical translation in the KJV is “take no thought”, and means to be anxious.

Take no thought for your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink, nor yet for your body, what you shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than clothing? Take therefore no thought for tomorrow, for tomorrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.                                                                               Matthew 6:25,34.

Jesus also uses the same word to tell us not to worry about what we should say if our faith is put on trial, saying if we are delivered up, “take no thought how or what you shall speak, for it shall be given you in that same moment what you should speak.”                                                                   Matthew 10:19.

In His parable of the sower and the seed, Jesus describes the seed among thorns as someone who hears His word, but are choked with “cares” of riches and pleasures in life, and brings no fruit to maturity.                   Luke 8:14.

Paul tells us: “be careful” for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which transcends understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.                                             Philippians 4:6 & 7.

Cast all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you.                                            1 Peter 5:7.

 

Always in The Remembrance of His Holiness

Sing unto the LORD, O ye saints of his, and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness.   Psalm 30:4.

King David wrote Psalm 30 at the dedication of his house, which is mentioned in 2 Samuel 5. He had already reigned in Hebron for over seven years before the elders of Israel came to him.

So all the elders of Israel came to the king to Hebron; and king David made a league with them in Hebron before the LORD: and they anointed David king over Israel.                           2 Samuel 5:3.

However, it was not until he captured Mount Zion from the Jebusites that he choose the stronghold of Zion for his house, and this stronghold came to be known as the city of David.

Then Hiram, king of Tyre sent craftsman and materials to build David a house. And David perceived that the LORD had established him king over Israel, and that he had exalted his kingdom for his people Israel’s sake.  2 Sam 5:12.

David now had more that just the acceptance of all Israel, but the recognition of the mighty king of Phoenicia.

Rejoice in the LORD, you righteous; and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness.                                        Psalm 97:12.

We enjoy a direct experience of the holiness of the Lord by His everlasting remembrance of us, described in this Psalm.

You that love the LORD, hate evil: He preserves the souls of his saints; he delivers them out of the hand of the wicked. Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart.     Psalm 97:10 & 11.

How do we come to know that we serve a Holy God? Because He is Faithful to His Word.

I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy loving-kindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.                                                                               Psalm 138:2.

Peter teaches on remembrance in the opening of his second letter.

I will endeavor that you may be able after my exodus to have these things always in remembrance.         2 Peter 1:15.

When Peter says “I will endeavor”, he is actually using a word for the third time, but the previous two are translated diligence. The root of the word means to make haste, and is the opposite of procrastination. He is saying “add to your faith”, and do it now, today, all day, and every day.

And beside this giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue and to virtue knowledge and to knowledge temperance and to temperance patience, and to patience godliness, and to godliness brotherly kindness and to brotherly kindness charity (agape, aka love).                                     2 Peter 1:5-7.

Jesus admonishes the church to love one another, to not forget their first love, even as the apostle John wrote:

No man has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us and His love is perfected in us.  1 John 4:12.

If someone says “I love God” (or “I love Jesus”) and hates his brother is a liar for he that loves not his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment have we from Him, that he who loves God love his brother also.                                 1 John 4:20, 21.

Jesus said in John chapter 3; “Truly you must be born again.” This expresses the importance of this doctrine. Now add to this statement the words of Peter:

Seeing you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that you love one another with a pure heart fervently. Being born again, not of corruptible seed but of incorruptible, by the word of God which lives and abides forever. 1 Peter 1:22,23.

We should be overwhelmed by the realization that we must have an unfeigned love, a fervent love; and a pure heart. It is also quite evident to anyone who reads this passage that this is the work of the Holy Spirit accomplished only by obedience. This commitment is attained by diligently adding to our faith unto brotherly kindness, and then agape love.

The other word that Peter uses three times in the passage of his second letter and is clearly emphasized; is remembrance.

Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things though you know them and be established in the present truth. Yea, I think it meet as long as I am in this tabernacle to stir you up by putting you in remembrance.                                                                      2 Peter 1:12 & 13.

I now remind you that a remembrance ultimately is God working in us by the power of the Holy Spirit unto “an unfeigned love of the brethren.”

 

Behave Like a Christian

Let love be without hypocrisy.

Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good.

Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love.

In honor, giving preference to one another.

Fervent in spirit, not lagging in diligence; serving the Lord.

Rejoicing in hope.

Patient in tribulation.

Continuing steadfastly in prayer.

Distributing to the needs of the saints.

Given to hospitality.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.

Repay no one evil for evil.

Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.

Be of the same mind toward one another.

Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble.

Do not be wise in your own opinion.

Have regard for good things in the sight of all men.

If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.

Romans 12:9-18.