Saturday, January 29, 2011

Week 1 - Giving as Prophetic Life

While [Jesus] was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head.

Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, “Why this waste of perfume? It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages and the money given to the poor.” And they rebuked her harshly.

“Leave her alone,” said Jesus. “Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me.  The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial. Truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”
Mark 14:3-9
At the beginning of His ministry, Jesus stood up in the temple and read these words from the prophet Isaiah,
The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me
 to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” [Luke 4:18-19]

As He finished reading this passage, He told the listeners that this prophecy had been fulfilled, that He was the one Isaiah described. Three years of ministry followed, but at the dinner table of a friend, another prophet, a nameless woman emptying her jar, returned His words to Him in full circle.

Prophetic action paves the way for Presence. The words given by God to Isaiah paved the way of expectation for the Messiah to come. Jesus’ giving away His identity as the Messiah opened the path for His earthly ministry where God’s love would invade the world in new and unexpected ways. The giving of the woman with her alabaster jar and her broken-open heart helped to usher in a Messiah who would be a Savior for the world, not just for Israel. The ultimate giving of the Savior is what brings us all new life.

Giving is prophetic by nature. It takes the truth of God’s blessing and puts it into a new frame of reference, a new city, a new life. It speaks the love of God in advance, paving the way for His transforming presence. It turns received Grace loose in the world.

The gift of new life we have been given in Christ was never just for us; it is the prophetic Word we were given to speak: with our voice, our actions, our resources, our lives. So what are we saying?

The Real Question: What message about God does my life speak? Am I fully giving the Word that was given to me to carry?

Family Talk: What is one thing you have received (from God or a person) that you can share with others?

ONE in Prayer: Jesus, I want to be a faithful prophet of Your love and presence in this world. Help my life to speak the truth about who You are in everything I do and say, in how I use the gifts and resources you have entrusted to me. Amen.

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