Extravagance and Remembrance

Matthew 26 paints two pictures of extravagant love. The first is by an unnamed woman at a gathering in Bethany who “came up to him with an alabaster flask of very expensive ointment, and she poured it on his head as he reclined at the table.” When the disciples complain about the waste, Jesus commends her: “She has done a beautiful thing to me. In pouring this ointment on my body she has done it to prepare for my burial. Truly, wherever this gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her.” She had eyes only for Jesus, poured out for Him her treasure, and has been remembered ever since, not for her name, but for her extravagant love. Isn’t this the extravagance of the gospel itself?

The Last Supper, Delft 1760

Then Jesus, knowing His death is near, anticipating Judas’s betrayal, serves the Passover meal to his disciples. “‘Take, eat, this is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’ And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them saying, ‘Drink of it, all of you, for this is the blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.'” (with Luke 22:19) Is there any more extravagant love that giving one’s life?

“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lays down his life for his friends.” John 15:13

Crucifixion, 18th century Delft

“See from his head, his hands, his feet, sorrow and love flow mingled down;                         Did e’er such love and sorrow meet, or thorns compose so rich a crown?                           Were the whole realm of nature mine, that were an offering far too small;                         Love so amazing, so divine demands my soul, my life, my all.”                                                       –Isaac Watts (1674-1748)

What treasure am I lavishing on Jesus, Who gave His all for me? O Lord, help me love others deeply, selflessly, and well, as You have loved me; and if I am remembered for anything, may it be for my extravagant love for Thee.

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