Monday, May 29, 2017

Memorial Day Blessing

Just a brief note on this important day of gratitude to share with you a little about both the human sacrifice that has been spent for the freedoms that we all hold dear here in America, and the "Lasting Memorial" that the LORD Jesus expressed concerning the sacrifice that an unnamed woman gave to Him while He walked on earth.

With a number in our families who have given "some," we are dearly thankful for all who have sacrificed their lives for freedom.

John 15:13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

While we are extremely grateful for all who have contributed to make Memorial Day what it is, we must not forget the memorials expressed by Jesus Himself, the Creator and Sustainor of life. In Mark 14, we read the account of a woman who came to Jesus and expended a box of precious ointment, pouring it on His head. Some had indignation and thought her precious sacrifice of more than a year's worth of wages was a waste. However, Jesus said it was a "memorial."

"Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her." Mark 14:9

As we compare the accounts of Matthew 26, Mark 14, and John 12, we see a number of differences, making it very clear that Matthew and Mark are parallel, but John recounts a totally different situation. Here are seven reasons why the woman in Matthew and Mark is not the same one as John describes:

1. An unnamed woman. It is intriguing why John named Mary, but Matthew and Mark didn't. They must certainly have known her, if she were the same person in both accounts.

2. A specified location. While John mentions the town, Matthew and Mark mention an exact location: the house of Simon the leper. John just tells that Lazarus was present at the meal.

3. Different times. The Synoptic Gospels' account is that the unnamed woman came to Jesus 2 days before the Passover, while John wrote that Mary came 6 days before the Passover.

4. Different amounts. John gave a specific weight of one pound, and the value of that weight, while the account in Matthew and Mark is of an unspecified amount in a "box."

5. Different anointings. Mary in the book of John anointed Jesus' feet, while the woman in Matthew and Mark anointed His head. Psalm 23:5 "...thou anointest my head with oil..."

6. Different values. Along with the amounts came the stated values. John wrote that one pound was worth 300 pence, but Mark accounted that the box of ointment was worth "more than 300 pence."

7. Different respondees. The earlier account in John states that Judas' response was the only one that was critical of Mary's sacrifice. In the writing of Matthew and Mark, the response came from a group that is referred to as "his disciples" or as "some had indignation..."

In both cases, there was a great sacrifice made to, and recognized by, the LORD Jesus. While we remember the great sacrifices that men and women have made for us to maintain the freedoms we hold dear in our nation today, we cannot forget to also make the connection to the sacrifice of our Savior of His life and blood on the cross for our sin. In addition, what we may have in our hands today, consisting of our "lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor," is nothing compared to what God did for us at Calvary. So, what is our "box" of earthly value that we can "break" in sacrifice to our LORD? In addition, what might we offer in sacrificial love for a nation that has afforded us so many freedoms, which include the freedom to freely share the Gospel?

May each of you have a blessed day!

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