Life-Study of Matthewby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Although the religionists hated the Lord Jesus, His disciples loved Him (vv. 6-13). Two of those who loved Him were Simon the leper and Mary, the woman who poured the oil upon His head. A leper signifies a sinner (8:2). Simon, as a leper, must have been healed by the Lord. Being grateful to the Lord and loving Him, he spread a feast (v. 7) in his house for the Lord and His disciples in order to enjoy His presence. A saved sinner would always do this. Simon must have known that the Lord was about to be killed. He probably realized that this was the last opportunity for him to express his love to the Lord. Therefore, he grasped the opportunity for a further intimate, loving contact with the Lord. He opened his home, spread a feast, and invited the Lord and all those who loved Him.
Verses 7 and 8 say, “A woman came to Him, having an alabaster jar of ointment of great value, and she poured it on His head as He reclined at table. But when the disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying, Why this waste?” The disciples considered Mary’s love offering to the Lord a waste. Throughout the past twenty centuries, thousands of precious lives, heart treasures, high positions, and golden futures have been wasted upon the Lord Jesus. To such lovers He is altogether lovely and worthy of their offering. What they have poured upon Him is not a waste, but a fragrant testimony of His sweetness.
In verse 11 the Lord said to the indignant disciples, “For the poor you have with you always, but you do not always have Me.” This indicates that we must love the Lord and grasp the opportunity to express our love to Him.
Verse 12 says, “For in pouring out this ointment on My body, she has done it for My burial.” Mary received the revelation of the Lord’s death by the Lord’s words in 16:21; 17:22-23; 20:18-19; and 26:2. Hence, she grasped the opportunity to pour the best she had upon the Lord. To love the Lord with our best requires a revelation concerning Him.
Along with Simon, Mary also probably thought that this was her last chance to do something over the Lord’s body to anoint Him for burial. In a very real sense, Mary buried the Lord Jesus before He was crucified. What a contrast there is between the religionists who hated the Lord and wanted to kill Him and His lovers who took the opportunity to express their love for Him! I believe that the others like Peter, James, and John did not receive the Lord’s prophecy concerning His crucifixion properly. According to the Lord’s testimony, Mary certainly received His word regarding this, for the Lord testified that in pouring out the ointment, she had done it for His burial. This was a sign that Mary understood what the Lord had prophesied concerning His crucifixion.
Verse 13 says, “Truly I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, that also which this woman has done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her.” In the foregoing verse, the Lord spoke of His burial, implying His death and resurrection for our redemption. Hence, in this verse He called the gospel “this gospel,” referring to the gospel of His death, burial, and resurrection (1 Cor. 15:1-4). The story of the gospel is that the Lord loved us, and the story of Mary is that she loved the Lord. We must preach both, the Lord loving us and us loving the Lord. One is for our salvation, and the other is for our consecration. The gospel tells us how the Lord loved us, but the loving story of Mary stirs us up to love the Lord. Thus, there needs to be a mutual love. This must accompany the preaching of the gospel.
In verses 14 through 16 we see that the Lord Jesus was betrayed by the false disciple. The word “Then” at the beginning of verse 14 indicates that while one of the Lord’s followers expressed her love to the Lord to the uttermost, another was about to betray Him. One was treasuring the Lord, and at the same time another was delivering Him up. Not even a false believer should have been this evil. The Lord Jesus had never wronged Judas. Judas, however, was filled and possessed with Satan, the Devil. In John 6:70 and 71 the Lord Jesus referred to Judas as a devil. According to John 13:2, the Devil had put it into the heart of Judas to betray Him, and John 13:27 says that Satan entered into him. Thus, Judas became the embodiment of the Devil. The idea of betraying the Lord Jesus did not originate with him, but with the enemy, the Devil.
In these verses we see three categories of people: the religious ones, the loving ones, and the betraying ones. To which category do you belong? Have you opened your home and prepared a feast for the Lord Jesus? Have you broken the alabaster jar and poured ointment upon His body? Surely, we are the lovers of Jesus. Nevertheless, we must learn to love Him to the uttermost.
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