Sunday, December 16, 2012

Over The Top

There was an incident in Luke's Gospel, Chapter 7 in which a woman (who was believed to be a prostitute) learned that Jesus was having lunch at the home of a Pharisee. What she did next was what we would call today..."over the top".

Somehow she gets in, finds Jesus, and weeping....wets Jesus' feet with her tears. But that wasn't all. She began wiping His feet with her hair! Was she done? Not really. She also began kissing Jesus' feet, and pouring very, very expensive perfume on His feet. The Pharisee who invited Jesus criticized Him for not supernaturally knowing the woman was a sinner. The truth is, Jesus knew exactly who and what this woman was. But He saw something in her actions that reflected His own heart. Jesus was blessed by this "over the top" treatment He received from her. What Jesus saw by this woman's actions, the Pharisee and His guests did not see.

What did Jesus see in her actions? What was it that grabbed His heart? I am convinced that the actions of the woman indicated a heart very similar to Jesus. How could this come from a prostitute? The truth is, it could have been anyone. It could have been you or me! It was her extravagance that connected with Jesus' heart and moved it. It was her "over the top" treatment of Jesus that touched Him. Why? Because Jesus' own destiny was to go "over the top" for all of mankind.

Let's talk about the woman first. It is "over the top" for a prostitute to burst into the home of a pharisee. It is "over the top" to be so broken that you wet someone's feet with your tears. Man, that's a lot of crying. It is "over the top" to wipe someone's feet (in brokenness) with your own hair. (Feet that were dirty and probably covered with animal dung from walking through the local streets.) It's "over the top" to kiss those same feet with your own lips, and then pour extremely expensive perfume on them; perfume that could have been sold for a great sum and the money given to the poor.

In the same way, Jesus went way "over the top" for you, me, and ALL of mankind. Think about it. Jesus, God the Son, laid aside His Kingly privileges, left His glory, and became a lowly human. That's "over the top". He, as the Son of God, and the Son of Man was tempted in every area, like us, yet without sin. (See Hebrews 2:18; 4:15) He went "over the top" when He was persecuted, beaten, bruised, and our place. He went "over the top" as He hung on the cross and gave up His own life so that all of humanity might live through Him. Conquering death, hell, and the grave, and rising three days later was a feat we would all deem as "over the top". Sending God, the Holy Spirit, to dwell within us and upon us until the end of the age was no doubt..."over the top".

It's clear to see how Jesus was touched and blessed by the actions of a prostitute who went "over the top" to acknowledge her love for the One who delivered her from seven demons; and set her free from the bondage of immorality! I understand why Jesus would say of her, "Truly I say to you, wherever the gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be spoken of in memory of her." (Matthew 14:9) This woman loved Jesus so much she went "over the top" in expressing this love.

The more I ponder this, the more I see the need for "over the top" expression of our love to Jesus. Jesus understands extravagance because it was His heart to go "over the top" for us. He is blessed when we go "over the top" in our expression of our love to Him.

Remember, Jesus has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and sound judgment. (2 Timothy 1:7) Thinking about how He expressed His love for me gives me the drive to go "over the top" in expressing my love for Him.

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