Ever jump in on one of those intense discussions about God on that social media site? About the state of the church? About the newest, yet oldest, spiritual controversies?
I was never good at winning arguments. Not that I’ve never tried. Maybe giving up on them is not saying much, considering my inability to get my point across.
Have you read how the Israelites couldn’t handle their encounters with Jehovah because He was too much? His very presence overwhelmed them? The light was too bright, that voice like thunder, that consuming fire. They weren’t imagining things. They weren’t engaged in a campaign or an argument defending theology. They were witnesses.
This earth will once again have a front row seat to His demonstrations of power when Jesus comes back to reign. But the power of His humility is something that we can discover quietly, in surprise moments, if we care to. If we’re caught up in debate about issues surrounding Jesus, we can miss it, because He is humble. And sometimes those who have not met Jesus yet are turned off of our faith precisely because we are not speaking with….humility.
One of my favorite scriptures to meditate on is John 12:1-11, where Mary anointed Jesus with her liquid life savings.
Why did she choose that moment? She surely knew that her gesture would be misunderstood, misrepresented, maligned. It was risky and bad timing, if she cared about her reputation. But to her, it was the perfect time. She wanted EVERYONE to know and understand what Jesus was worth. It was obvious to her, not so obvious to the rest. And so the ointment flowed.
Controversy was also flowing, if you read the back story in context. (Read also John 11) Judas is the one quoted, but there were others in the background, snooping and conniving. There was controversy because Mary’s brother Lazarus dared to come back from the dead, controversy over feeding the poor, controversy over a woman’s place. The plot to murder Jesus was quickly coming together. They even planned to kill Lazarus, because his second life was having a negative impact on their “ministry.”
Jesus knew their objections were a sham or at best made out of ignorance. He knew some would use even this encounter to manipulate and deceive.
While they fumed, the Lord accepted the gift that was overwhelming the house, in equally overwhelming fashion: humility.
Yes, because actually the most contempt was reserved for Jesus, not Mary.
What was really being said was:
“What a waste! He is NOT worth it. This is just Jesus, he’s just the Teacher.”
“C’mon! It’s just Jesus.”
But He did not defend Himself. He defended. that. woman.
It was humility to know that within a matter of days and hours he would be poured out exactly like that perfume, “like a drink offering,” with these very ones as an audience. He did not spend a second defending himself or trying to get the last word in.
It was humility to accept an extravagant gift and worship because of who He truly was, even though no one else in the room recognized it.
Humility is more powerful than a show of strength, as we know it. In the swirl of events in these two chapters mentioned, the Lord doesn’t miss or dismiss or belittle the act of worship unfolding at His feet.
What an experience to be shaken by the thunder, but even more to be undone by His humility.