Offerings

There are many kinds of offerings: worship, advice, plans, money, and insight.
An offering is not the response to a request; it is something extended to someone unbidden, a gift from the heart of the giver.

The Offering of Caiaphas, the High Priest
I am sure the lower level leaders of the Temple were not in the habit of dropping in on the High Priest but here we see the account of a meeting in his home. The situation with Jesus was so pressing, the normal channels of leadership were abandoned and an emergency conference took place in the High Priest’s home. In turn the leaders began to formulate a plot against Jesus they could offer to the High Priest. Caiaphas didn’t have to ask for this; they knew it was up to them. As much as they needed to do something about Jesus, they did not need to risk a rebellion from the people. Many in the multitude had been healed and delivered by Jesus so they could not be counted on to rise up against Him—especially at Passover. Cooler heads prevailed and they decided to wait for a better time.

The Offering of Mary of Bethany
At the home of a former leper named Simon—it is certain that Jesus healed the man!—it seems Mary and Martha of Bethany were in charge. This was no small gathering: 12 disciples, Mary, Martha, and Lazarus—late of the tomb, Lazarus!—and who knows how many others. A leper was most likely unskilled in such celebrations so Simon needed the services of the sisters and brother from Bethany.

The exceptional meal was over and all were resting in the afterglow of this fellowship of heaven and earth. Most of the men looked optimistically toward a bright and blessed future. Not Mary. She was the one who really listened to Jesus. She heard His dire predictions of what was about to happen to Him: betrayal, arrest, death, and life again. Understanding all this was not her job; believing it all was her duty. As the celebration continued she produced from a hidden place on her person, an alabaster jar. This was a container carved from a soft white stone used to hold precious oils and perfumes, the kinds of anointing oils used to prepare bodies for burial. This particular jar was as valuable as a year’s wages for a common laborer. It was her most prized possession.

According to her premeditated plan, with no thought to what others might think, she took her customary place at the feet of Jesus. She took the smooth white vessel and broke the thinly carved neck and poured the contents on Jesus’ feet. As the aroma of it filled the house, Mary, wept as she stood behind Jesus and poured the rest of the perfume on His head. The fragrance, the deed itself, broke the festive mood. Martha and Lazarus wept as they remembered Jesus’ warnings. The men, were also moved, not to sorrow but to anger. They only saw the money they considered wasted in this impromptu offering. Jesus rebuked them and commended Mary.

The Offering of Judas
Judas, the keeper of the operating funds of Jesus and the Twelve, left the meeting. As he exited the house, the aroma of Mary’s gift accompanied him and lingered even as Judas made his offering to the High Priest and received theirs.

There are many kinds of offerings.

Scriptures:
Matthew 26:1-16
Now it came to pass, when Jesus had finished all these sayings, that He said to His disciples, “You know that after two days is the Passover, and the Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified.” Then the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders of the people assembled at the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas, and plotted to take Jesus by trickery and kill Him. But they said, “Not during the feast, lest there be an uproar among the people.” And when Jesus was in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper, a woman came to Him having an alabaster flask of very costly fragrant oil, and she poured it on His head as He sat at the table. But when His disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying, “Why this waste? For this fragrant oil might have been sold for much and given to the poor.” But when Jesus was aware of it, He said to them, “Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a good work for Me. For you have the poor with you always, but Me you do not have always. For in pouring this fragrant oil on My body, she did it for My burial. 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.” Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, “What are you willing to give me if I deliver Him to you?” And they counted out to him thirty pieces of silver. So from that time he sought opportunity to betray Him.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, I have received with joy Your holy offering to me of eternal life. In return, I offer You my life such as it is. Holy Spirit, cleanse my heart so that my offering of praise will be pure, made acceptable through the blood of Jesus. May my life emanate a sweet essence of Your love just as Mary’s gift filled that house with sweetness. Save me from the treachery of the enemies of righteousness! My life is an offering to You, Lord Jesus! Amen.

Song:
We Are an Offering
Words and Music: Dwight Liles

We lift our voices. We lift our hands.
We lift our lives up to You. We are an offering.
Lord use our voices. Lord use our hands.
Lord use our lives they are Yours.
We are an offering

All that we have. All that we are
All that we hope to be. We give to You.
We give to You.

Lord use our voices. Lord use our hands
Lord use our lives they are Yours.
We are an offering. We are an offering.

All that we have. All that we are
All that we hope to be. We give to You.
We give to You.

Lord use our voices. Lord use our hands
Lord use our lives they are Yours.
We are an offering. We are an offering.

Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2018 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

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