Friday, November 21, 2014

Broken Vessels

Throughout the Bible, there is a clear theme of God wanting a broken and contrite heart before him (Ps 51:17).  In 2Cor 4 Paul tells us, “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. This treasure in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is the treasure because with it in us, it changes us and fills us with God’s light and life.  As we look at scripture it is clear that life sustaining liquids were stored in jars of clay.

In John 2 Jesus takes the clay jars of water and changes it into wine. Here in his first documented miracle, Jesus takes the ceremonial water jars of life giving water and changes it into life changing wine. This wine is a celebration of the wedding and of life in him to those who would believe. The parable speaks of saving the best until last, that is the life and sacrifice of Christ Jesus for us.

There are several other stories of broken vessels. In Matthew 26:6-13 we read of Jesus at Bethany in the house of Lazarus and his sisters Martha and Mary. It speaks of a woman taking an alabaster jar of expensive perfume and pouring it over Jesus’ head. The strong fragrance filled the house. It upset the disciples as waste, but Jesus referred to it as a priceless gift pre-anointing him for his burial. The perfume or oil of anointing represents the Holy Spirit of life and wholeness. Jesus in Mark 14 calls it a beautiful thing. It was a great sacrifice as it represented a year’s wages or even all she had.  That is what God wants, all we have. He tells us that we will not always have him, so give our lives to him now while it is still light.

In John 12 we are told specifically that it is Mary of Bethany who pours the expensive oil or pure nard on Jesus feet. In fact in this Gospel, John retells how she even washes Jesus feet with the perfume using her own hair. This woman we are told was one that Jesus loved greatly, had also been greatly changed by him.  Her life had been turned around and she now gave all representing her sacrifice to the One who sacrificed it all for us on the cross.

Jesus brother, in James 5:10 speaks of calling on the elders to pray for the sick and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord that they might be healed. There is power and life in the oil and anointing of Christ offered in faith. David the Psalmist in 23:4 speaks of God anointing his head with oil and his cup overflowing.  Isaiah 61 prophetically speaks of Jesus the Christ being anointed to preach the good news or Gospel to the poor…to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning and the garment of praise instead of spirit of despair.

Yes, the Lord Jesus wants to anoint you with life and peace and healing. In Hebrews 1:9 we can hear God say, “Your throne, O God, will last forever and ever, and righteousness will be the scepter of your kingdom. You loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy.”

We are vessels of clay in the hand of a mighty God. And we must be broken so that God can change and heal us. The old must come out and the new oil of anointing with the sweet fragrance of Christ come in.  Don Moen’s praise song says it well; “Heal me oh Lord and I will be healed, save me and I will be saved. For you are the One I praise.” Amen.

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