At the Feet of Jesus

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“Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped His feet with her hair” (John 12:3).

I often think about the feet of Jesus. Those ten tiny toes kicked against the swaddling clothes as He lay in a manger. Those feet carried Him into the lives of sick children, broken, sinful women, and demon-possessed men. People fell before the feet of Jesus to plead for healing for themselves or someone they loved. And every time Jesus responded with compassion, He never walked away from those who needed him. His feet took Him to teach on the side of a mountain and the lakeshore. They carried Him up to Golgotha where Roman soldiers nailed them to a cruel, wooden cross. His nail-scarred hands and feet were the proof of His resurrected body before His disciples.

All His glory was bound up in that human body with human feet that carried Him to souls in need of mercy, freedom, grace, and life. He walked into my life with those beautiful feet bringing good news, peace, and salvation to this weary sinful woman.

There is one more place in Scripture where we see the feet of Jesus. Zechariah 14:4 says “On that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west.” When Jesus Christ returns to earth in all His glory, His feet will touch down on the Mount of Olives – the place where He surrendered His will to the will of the Father (Luke 22:39-42) – and His glory will be so great that the mountain will split in two. Those beautiful feet will stand atop the mountain, and those scars that spoke of the humble servant of God will now shout of the mighty King of kings. “The Lord will be king over the whole earth” (Zechariah 14:9).

The feet of Jesus bring us healing, wholeness, freedom, and life. The feet of Jesus bear the marks of His great love for you and me. His feet that once bore nails will one day bear power – earth-shaking, mountain-breaking power. And at His feet, all of humanity will fall in worship and proclaim that He is Lord.

Beloved, have you invited Him to walk into your life?

You’ve Been With Jesus!

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There’s a verse in Acts 4 that has been on my mind lately. It comes in the narrative of Peter and John before the religious leaders. They had been arrested and were being questioned by the ruling Jewish council. Luke said that these fishermen turned preachers astonished the learned and (self)righteous men and “they took note that these unschooled, ordinary men had been with Jesus” (v. 13). How do people know that you and I have “been with Jesus?”

This story says the council “saw the courage of Peter and John”  who had just boldly declared the name of Jesus of Nazareth before them. Boldness and courage were the tell-tale signs for the Lord’s disciples. You and I are going to need their boldness and courage in the days ahead. We get that when we spend time with Jesus.

Peace is also another way that others can see that we have been with Jesus. He said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27). When you and I can face the challenges of life with peace others will notice. They will want to know how, and we can tell them, “I’ve been with Jesus, the peace-giver.”

Probably the most definite sign that we have been with Jesus is love. He said, “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35). Love is the hallmark of those who have been with Jesus. You cannot be around divine love without it “rubbing off on you.” Love one another.

Then there is the story of the woman who anointed Jesus prior to His death. She came with her alabaster jar of perfume “which she poured on His head” (Matthew 26:7). As I meditated on this scene, it occurred to me – now Jesus smelled just like her and she smelled just like Him. She brought her love and worship to Him. He welcomed and received her fragrance – and her – and in return He shared with her His grace. She was there to pour out her worship on the Lord and when we worship Him, He joins with us and we share in His sweet fragrance.

That, Beloved, is how the world will know that we have been with Jesus.

The Alabaster Jar

Alabaster Jar“Her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much . . .” (Luke 7:47)

She heard that the Rabbi was dining nearby at the home of one of the Pharisees, probably one of many who had sneered at her in the marketplace.  She hesitated for a moment as she reached for the alabaster jar sitting in the carved-out niche in the stone wall and cast a glance around the well-appointed room.  Her wanton life had afforded her many good things, clothes made of rich fabrics, fine jewelry, the best wine and food, and the beautiful, smooth jar that contained the finest perfume money could buy.  The value of that perfume alone would support her for the rest of her life.

But it wasn’t the money that made her hesitate, it was the place she was heading and the people she would face.  It was the hostile stares and abrasive words they would throw at her – a common, sinful woman daring to enter into the home of a powerful, religious man.  She wondered how many of those piercing words would be cast by men who had enjoyed her favors not too long ago.  Some of them were her best clients, but they would sooner cast her to the dogs than acknowledge their own guilt.

Still this rabbi – there was something about him – he carried himself in a way the Pharisees never did, with authority and dignity, yet without arrogance.  He spoke of the Kingdom of God as if he alone had the key to the gate. He treated common, everyday people like they were his friends.  He did not make a public display of the good things he did like the religious leaders – and he did incredible, amazing, miraculous things like healing the sick and casting out demons. Rumor said that he even raised the widow’s son from the dead right here in Nain.  And he was kind to the poor, gentle with the lame and actually compassionate toward the people who stumbled in sin. “People like me,” she thought to herself.

When he walked through the village that day she saw him surrounded by his disciples and the townspeople; she could have never gotten through that throng of people to draw close to him, even if she dared to try.  But when he looked across all those faces and saw her, she knew he saw straight into her heart.  He saw both her sin and her sorrow, and somehow, was not repulsed by either.  That one look had stayed with her since that day, and it changed her life forever.  It was a look of intimacy, but not the kind she was used to, if you could call her nightly visits intimate at all.  No, this look went to her very soul and shook loose some dark and oppressive thing that had bound her for years.  That evening, when she turned away one of her clients, she knew she would never go back to that life again. It was as if the power of her sinful passions had been broken forever.

She shook her head, grabbed the alabaster jar and slipped out of the house.  Her pace quickened, almost as if she were moving faster so she would not change her mind.  Breathlessly she approached the perimeter of Simon’s property where a crowd had gathered around the house, watching the festivities and craning to hear every word the Rabbi spoke.  She began to weave her way through the people, holding tightly to her precious jar and the offering it contained.  She didn’t understand why it was so important to do this strange thing but she was certain a force outside of herself was driving her on, thrusting her into the suddenly silent room.  As she knelt at the foot of his couch, tears spilled from her eyes, washing the Rabbi’s feet and cleansing her own soul.

What would make this woman who had been so sinful courageously enter the home of a religious leader and risk being scorned and berated?  Why would she, who had given up her lucrative lifestyle, pour out her most valuable possession on the filthy feet of a rabbi? What had possibly taken hold of her?  In the words of Jesus: forgiveness and love.

Do you hesitate on the edge of the crowd that follows Jesus?  Are your sins and failures so great you don’t dare come near Him for fear of being exposed and rejected?  Is your soul stained and your heart broken?  Then Jesus bids you come and let your tears fall on His feet.  Bring your alabaster jar full of sin and pour it out on His feet.  Hear Him say to you, “Your sins are forgiven.  Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”[1]

[1] John 7:48, 50.