…He marveled at him…
· There is only one thing the Bible records that Jesus marveled over (was amazed about) – the state of peoples’ faith.
o Ephesians 2:8-9 tells us that faith is a gift of God, and
o Romans 12:3 says that “God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.”
· So why does Jesus marvel at our faith (or lack of it)? Isn't He the One that gave it to us in the first place?
o Yes, but what we do with it is up to us.
o We can either build it up (prayer, worship, fellowship, the Word)
o …or we can tear it down and ultimately destroy it (Heb. 3:13 à “be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”)
…he who was dead sat up…
· What is it that caused the widow’s son to be brought from death back to life? Hearing – and obeying - the Word of Jesus – the Word of God.
John the Baptist in prison
· John was bewildered – Jesus, the Messiah, hadn’t overthrown the Romans…and in the process gotten him out of jail. Jesus hadn’t met his expectations.
o Jesus tells John, in essence, to go back to the Word.
o John needs to realize that his expectations of what Jesus is supposed to do and how He's supposed to be are wrong - at least for the time being.
§ The solution for our doubt is the same.
§ We think Jesus must deliver us from this trial or that tribulation.
§ What if He wants to deliver us through it instead of from it?
§ What if Jesus is working in a way that you hadn't expected?
o Jesus’ word to us this morning: Go back to the Word. Be still and know that He – not us – is God.
§ Trust and know that Jesus knows what He's doing - have faith in Him, not in what you believe He's supposed to do.
When the messengers of John had departed
· Jesus didn’t begin to praise John – didn’t explain that He was proud of and pleased with him - until after his disciples had left.
o Two reasons:
§ (1), John already had the assurance of the Lord’s approval in the Word
§ (2), Jesus wanted there to be a deeper work of grace and faith in John’s heart
· [Courson] It wasn’t until after John’s disciples had left that Jesus honored John. So, too, you might feel like a failure, that you haven’t done this or accomplished that, that you’re in error here or unproductive there. But if you hang in there with the Lord and continue to walk with Him by faith, when you get to heaven, you will hear the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” In allowing you to struggle presently, the Lord wants you to wrestle through and keep going. But there will come a time when we will truly know how He sees and evaluates us. And I think we will be exceedingly surprised at even the simple things we did that He noticed.
…and she kissed His feet and anointed them with the fragrant oil.
· Normally, this oil would be used on someone’s head. This woman shows her humility by saying, "the best perfume for my head is only good enough to anoint Your feet."
“Who is this who even forgives sins?”
· [Courson] The reason Jesus could say such a thing to the woman who kissed His feet, wiped them with her hair, and anointed them is because He will be kissed again by Judas, washed and anointed again by the woman who prepared His body for burial. Therefore, because of His death and resurrection, His is very definitely and uniquely the power to forgive sin.
Your faith has saved you.
· As commendable and exemplary as this woman’s expression of abandoned love for Jesus was, it wasn’t her love that saved her – it was her faith.
o [Courson] Yes, true faith will always manifest itself in love. But it is faith that sees the invisible, hears the inaudible, believes the incredible, and does the impossible. It is faith that makes things happen. It is faith that pleases God.
Go in peace.
· [Courson] In previous generations, Christians would go to the altar, confess their sins, weep before the Lord, and go their way with peace in their hearts. Now they seem to prefer a counselor’s office. But it is those who are broken before the Lord who find healing from the Lord. The key is to be broken like Mary rather than self-sufficient like Simon. Our sins are many; our failures are great. But we don’t need to mask them, hide them, deny them, or defend them. All we need to do is confess them in brokenness as, like Mary, we spend time at His feet.