The Fragrance of the Lord

Luke 7: 36-50 And one of the Pharisees desired him that he would eat with him. And he went into the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to meat. And, behold a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster box of ointment, And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with her tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment. Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him; for she is a sinner. And Jesus said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on. There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed him five hundred pence, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most? Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged. And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she washed my feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head. Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet. My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment. Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little. And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven. And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves, Who is this that forgiveth sins also? And hs said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.

 

True, heartfelt devotion to God is a sweet thing, isn’t it?

And God rewards it by showing His favor towards the worshipper.

 

1). Contrast the Jews in all four Gospels plotting to arrest and kill Jesus, and this beautiful act of devotion. It’s the world vs. the kingdom of God in microcosm:

the Jews in all four Gospels plotting to arrest and kill Jesus, and this beautiful act of devotion. It’s the world vs. the kingdom of God in microcosm:- Luke 22: 53 - “When I was daily with you in the temple, ye stretched forth no hands against me: but this is your hour, and the power of darkness.”

- Throughout the Bible we see the contrast between light and darkness:

- The prince of the power of the air introduced sin and darkness into the world, and men have been walking in darkness ever since;

- The Prince of Life brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel;

- Jesus declared Himself to be the light of the world, but commanded us to be lights unto the world as well, because He translated us out of darkness into His marvelous light.

Paul demanded the same thing of the Philippians:

Phil. 2:15,16a - “That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;

And Jesus said to His disciples:

John 15:19 - “If ye were of the world, the world would love his own….”

- We are called out of the world, and so we’re separate and, if we’re being about our Father’s business as we’re supposed to be, we’re rejected of the world, and treated as outcasts;

We are called out of the world, and so we’re separate and, if we’re being about our Father’s business as we’re supposed to be, we’re rejected of the world, and treated as outcasts;

- So the world is not going to love us;

- Get over it, amen?

- But the love of the Father and Son so far surpasses the so-called love of the world, that it shouldn’t matter;

- Psalm 27: 10 - “When my father and my mother forsake me, Then the LORD will take me up.” (Literally, the Lord will gather me unto Himself);

- Our parents can forsake us unintentionally by being torn from us:

- My father when I was 12, my mother in my 30s;

- But I remember it was when my kids were 6 and 3, and how many times I started to reach for the phone to tell my mother about something one of the kids did or said, only to realize quickly that she was no longer available.

- But we have One Who is never out of reach, and ever so desirous to share with us in the most intimate details of our lives - Jesus, our Redeemer;

- And we should be just as willing to share our lives with the One Who died for us and redeemed us by His precious blood;

- Our devotion to Him is so important, for our praise, worship, gratitude, thanksgiving and homage are not only marks of our salvation, but our love in response to His great forgiveness.

2). Remember Luke 10, especially verse 39, “And she (Martha) had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word.” She chose “that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”

Mary spent a lot of time at Jesus’ feet, didn’t she? That’s a good place to be. I talked last week about the University of Jesus’ feet, the real school of higher learning, the real secret place of the most high - LOW. The place of genuine security, blessed assurance, protection, etc.

3). Note verse 2, again Martha is serving. There are very useful and beloved members of the body who live to serve. But often they’re the ones who find it difficult to slow down - stop - and spend precious time in the primary service of a Christian = waiting upon, worshipping and communing with the Lord.

Note , again Martha is serving. There are very useful and beloved members of the body who live to serve. But often they’re the ones who find it difficult to slow down - stop - and spend precious time in the primary service of a Christian = waiting upon, worshipping and communing with the Lord.

- I have found myself that no matter how much activity I may have generated for the Kingdom of God, there is no substitute for “close time”;

I have found myself that no matter how much activity I may have generated for the Kingdom of God, there is no substitute for “close time”;

- Face time with the Lord:

- David said in Psalm 27:8 - “When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, LORD, will I seek.”

- Note first that God initiated the communion and commanded David to seek Him intimately;

- Then note that it was David’s heart that responded to the Lord’s desire for that intimacy.

- Just because we’re saved doesn’t mean the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives is done;

- He not only convicts and draws us unto Jesus for salvation, but continues to woo us to our Lord for ongoing communion and communication;

- One of the greatest enemies of a healthy relationship, whether marriage, friendship or family ties is a lack of communication;

- It’s the same in our relationship with the Lord - we can’t have a failure to communicate if we want to grow in grace and in the knowledge of Jesus Christ.

4). Let’s get back to this woman seeking spiritual intimacy with the LORD:

- We’re told in another Gospel that this Pharisee was Simon the leper, who apparently had been healed of that dread disease sometime in the past;

in another Gospel that this Pharisee was Simon the leper, who apparently had been healed of that dread disease sometime in the past;

- For whatever reason, he invited Jesus to his home for dinner, and as was often the case with religious leaders, the meal was an open affair where the commoners could listen in on their conversations and perhaps imbibe some learning and wisdom in the process.

- That’s how this unidentified woman gained access to the dinner:

- We’re told only that she was a sinner, although some have tried to make her out to be Mary Magdelene, but without scriptural support.

- She was obviously convicted of whatever sinfulness she was guilty of, because it says she stood behind the Lord weeping;

- She took an alabaster box, or flask, of spikenard (alabaster being a soft stone imported from Egypt and shaped into boxes with a long breakable neck) - a very costly perfume and broke it open, expending it all upon the Lord.

- It was the fragrance of devotion.

- It cost 300 pence or denarii - a year’s wage for the average worker in that day:

- Imagine deciding in some secret place of devotion;

- Imagine this woman in prayer in her private place of seeking the Lord;

- And saying to herself, I’m going to give back to the Lord - for He has forgiven me of whatever sin or sins she was guilty of - this luxury item, which is worth an entire year’s salary;

- Think of what you earn in a year as a household;

- Then think of simply giving it away;

- But then think of what the Lord’s sacrifice on your behalf is worth;

- Might everything that we are worth materially in this life be owed and then a gazillion more to the Lord of glory, Who loved us and gave Himself for us?

- What if this woman came from an affluent family?

- Would it lessen the value of her sacrifice?

- I don’t think so, because look at what she spent in humiliating herself before these religious people;

- What she spent in submitting herself to this Man, for all the world to see;

- But is there anything too costly for our Lord? A year’s wage? How about an entire lifetime or life? What can compare to pints - or even a drop - of His precious blood shed for us?

- Is there anything we wouldn’t expend on the Lord? Anything we wouldn’t lay at His feet? If so, we need to reconsider our mindset.

- People think it’s a waste to expend so much time, effort and concentration on the things of God, (here, they rebuke her for wasting something that could have been sold and the proceeds given to the poor, but as Jesus said elsewhere, the poor we will always have with us - this was a once in a lifetime opportunity to anoint the Lord for His pending burial and show extreme devotion);

- What unbelievers fail to realize is that we are laying up treasure in heaven.

- People have said to me, in the workplace and elsewhere, you seem to be so wrapped up in religion, why not let loose and enjoy your life?

- Of course, to a child of God, that’s ridiculous, but how do you explain to those outside the faith that anything outside the faith is so much dung?

5). It says she was wiping His feet with her hair (v.38).

It says she was wiping His feet with her hair (). - We’re told elsewhere that a woman’s hair is her glory, aren’t we? ((1 Cor. 11:15 - “But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.”

- But also it’s often the focal point of who she is and her personality. Same to a degree with men.

It’s saying here that she was willing to sublimate herself to Jesus, isn’t it? To make Him her covering, and also be selfless, less attractive, less whatever worldliness deems important, in order to render devotion to Him.

- How many men, women and even children have sublimated their earthly standing, their earthly life, to Jesus and the cause of Christ, down through the ages?

- They gave their very lives, and yet are we ashamed of the Gospel and not willing to allow ourselves to seem less in the eyes of the world, in order that Jesus our Savior might be glorified?

- Jesus commands us not to deny Him;

- And too often silence is the greatest denial, isn’t it?

6). Back to the woman once more:

- Of course that fragrance that she released would linger in her hair for a long time afterward, wouldn’t it?

- Thus, when we offer anything of worth to the Lord, we can’t help but take something away with us, can we?

- When we offer a pure sacrifice of praise and worship to the Lord, we come away from it with a glow, a radiance, a lingering presence of the Spirit upon our lives.

- We come away with the fragrance, spiritually speaking, of the Lord, which reminds me of Psalm 45, a Messianic psalm quoted in Hebrews as referring to Jesus and His coming righteous reign:

- Verses 7 and 8: “Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: Therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. All thy garments smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia, Out of the ivory palaces, whereby they have made thee glad.”

- These fragrances were the ingredients of the special oil whereby priests were anointed for service, and Jesus is our Great High Priest;

- The ivory palaces speak of heaven, and when we’re truly in the Spirit seated in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, we retain that heavenly fragrance;

- Not to get too mystical, but I and many others have actually smelled that fragrance in worship, devotion and other occasions where the Holy Spirit’s presence could be mightily felt.

7). Vv. 4-6 of course show the hypocrisy of Judas, but also the emptiness of all those who simply don’t understand spiritual things. Why do you go to church all the time? Why do

of course show the hypocrisy of Judas, but also the emptiness of all those who simply don’t understand spiritual things. Why do you go to church all the time? Why do

you spend so much time reading the Bible? Or praying? Why do you act or think the way you do?

These things can only be spiritually discerned.

And when we suffer even in only small ways as a result, we are fellowshipping with Jesus, Who was grossly misunderstood constantly, aren’t we?

Ever have someone say to you, ‘get a life’? Well, I did - the Way, the Truth and the Life - and that’s why I act and think the way I do. It’s no longer I that liveth, but Christ that liveth in me.

. It’s no longer I that liveth, but Christ that liveth in me.

(((The poor you’ll always have with you, but this was a lifetime opportunity - we need to grab those chances when they come. We can minister any time, anywhere, but those intimate experiences with the Lord are much more rare, and very precious.)))

Look at this woman’s legacy:

8). Mark 14:9 - It’s true, that wherever the gospel is preached, and people have the word to study, this story is preached on and shared. But so are many, many acts of devotion - from stories of martyrs past and present to our own personal testimony.

- It’s true, that wherever the gospel is preached, and people have the word to study, this story is preached on and shared. But so are many, many acts of devotion - from stories of martyrs past and present to our own personal testimony.I think of Elisha and the story of the man who was brought back to life when thrown into Elisha’s tomb and touched his bones. (2 Kings 13:21 - “he revived and stood up on his feet.”) What I see in that is Elisha’s legacy. His witness carried on beyond his death. Will ours?

9). Note: Jesus’ being anointed for burial was, in effect, a reenactment of the first Exodus Passover, where the lamb/Lamb was carefully prepared for sacrifice:

: Jesus’ being anointed for burial was, in effect, a reenactment of the first Exodus Passover, where the lamb/ was carefully prepared for sacrifice:

- This weekend is Passover, and as I do every year, I lament that the Jews can’t see their Messiah Jesus in the rituals and scriptures accompanying this feast;

- Too bad they don’t all have the discernment of John the Baptist, who, when He beheld Jesus, recognized Him as the Lamb of God, come to take away the sins of the world.

10). The alabaster box, actually an expensive imported flask represents the best this woman had to offer, consecrated to the Lord - for us, it’s our talent, skill, time, whatever’s important to us, offered up to Jesus,

The alabaster box, actually an expensive imported flask represents the best this woman had to offer, consecrated to the Lord - for us, it’s our talent, skill, time, whatever’s important to us, offered up to Jesus,

But, realizing that He gave them to us in the first place, and all He’s ever asked is that we dedicate them back to Him, and watch what He does with them.

Note: Mary was honored in that just as Jesus said, wherever the word is preached, what she did has been commemorated. In fulfillment of scripture: 1 Sam. 2:30 - “…for them that honour me I will honour, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed.” (Judas was lightly esteemed).Proverbs 10:7 - “The memory of the just is blessed: but the name of the wicked shall rot.”

11). Read vv. 40 to 50 of Luke 7:

- Jesus was teaching this Pharisee a valuable lesson in forgiveness and gratitude, wasn’t He?

Jesus was teaching this Pharisee a valuable lesson in forgiveness and gratitude, wasn’t He?

- We have been forgiven much, and therefore our love for the Lord should reflect a heart of gratitude and wonder at His amazing grace.

12). Close with Acts 17: 22-28 - v. 27 - seek the Lord. V. 23 - to the unknown god:

Close with to the god:

A model of devotion:

:

- v. 22 - put away all religiosity (casting down imaginations, etc.);

- v.23 - seek to know Him;

- v.24 - recognize His omnipotence and our weakness for His strength to be perfected in;

- v. 25 - realize He needs nothing from us;

- v. 27 - seek Him, and He will be found;

- v. 28 - come to know as I’m sure this sinful woman did and that in Him we live and move and have our being;

1 Corinthians 2:9,10 - “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.“But God hath revealed them to us by his Spirit….”

- Will we by faith partake of the wonderful things God has prepared for those of us who love Him?