Radical Devotion

Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her.” Matthew 26:13

Radical Devotion

At some point in our lives most of us will express our devotion to something or to someone for various reasons seen as admirable, not admirable at all, or confusing.  Admirable devotion is like that of the unnamed woman in the text who came uninvited to a dinner party at the Pharisee Simon’s house and anointed Jesus with her precious spikenard ointment.

While the woman’s unexpected gesture startled everyone except Jesus, it was admirable to Jesus, just as he promised, to believers today.  But the disciples were unimpressed by her gesture because first she was a woman; secondly, they knew her to be uninvited to the party; thirdly, they did not understand why she poured the expensive ointment all over Jesus; and fourthly they probably saw her as unworthy to come near Jesus let alone for her to be so “out of order.”

And so rather than identifying with the woman’s gesture as a display of deep, radical devotion to the Savior of the world, the disciples outwardly protested her actions and Simon inwardly ostracized Jesus for allowing the woman to even touch him—let alone openly applaud her actions as a display of radical devotion to him as the Savior of the world.

Even today, Jesus’ followers can actively serve in kingdom work and still stumble and get out of step with Jesus and his purposes.  Likewise, when they too become bereft of the reality of the Lord’s holy identity as the Son of God. Nevertheless, God is still calling for radically devoted followers who resonate with God’s goodness and immense love not only for them but to all humanity. As followers of Christ Jesus, we must celebrate God’s love, compassion, mercy, forgiveness of sins, and eternal hope that is available to everyone and not just a chosen few.

The woman was uninvited to the activities of discipleship, yet she was very much on point with Jesus’ mission and thankful for his radical devotion to the “other” of the world.  Not only could Jesus identify with her willingness to bless him with her best offering, but the Lord memorialized her radical devotion to him as part of his redemption plan and his eternal gift of salvation to the world.

Yours in Christ,

Rev. Lurecie M. Stokes

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