“For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”— 1 Corinthians 1:18
In Matthew 26:1 Jesus reveals that He will be delivered up to crucifixion. The disciples think it’s a waste. They think it’s good for nothing.Then we are introduced to a strange woman that dumps a literal fortune of fragrant oil on the head of our Lord. The disciples declare that the woman’s act is a waste—that it’s good for nothing. But Jesus declares that it’s a kalos ergon (in Greek), a “good work,” the “beautiful thing.”Not that it’s good for something . . . it’s just good. It’s beautiful.
Beautiful means good for nothing—just good…like a sunset. It doesn’t matter how you use it; it’s just good.
Matthew records the act as if it’s the first “good deed” done by someone other than Jesus in all the gospels, and perhaps all of Scripture—it’s that important.
The strange woman loves Jesus when He seems to be good for nothing . . . just good. And she does something that seems to be good for nothing . . . and Jesus calls it Good. Maybe she saw that Jesus loved her when she seemed to be good for nothing . . . just good—I mean beautiful to Jesus.
Did you know that Jesus loved her and all humanity when we were good for nothing?
– When we were “dead in our trespasses and sins and the uncircumcision of our flesh.”
– When we took His life, He gave His life.
Jesus loved us when we seemed to be good for nothing.
Jesus even loved His Father, when His Father seemed to be good for nothing. He cried out, “Why have you forsaken me?” He thought God had forsaken Him. To Jesus, His Father seemed to be good for nothing—just good, beautiful. And so He surrendered to that great Beauty crying, “Into your hands, I commit my Spirit.”
Jesus the Son, loved God, when God the Father, seemed to be good for nothing. And God the Father, loved Jesus when Jesus seemed to be good for nothing—when, in the words of Saint Paul, “He who knew no sin, became sin.” It was then, that God exalted Him above every name that is named.
Words are failing me here, but there is a moment when God the Father and God the Son both seem to be good for nothing . . . just Good.
– A moment when they don’t love for a reason, but love is the reason.
– A moment when neither is using the other, but only loving the other.
– A moment when they are good for nothing . . . just Good. That’s beautiful.
– A moment that reveals God is good for no reason. He is the reason.
– A moment that reveals God is One—two persons (or three persons), but one substance.
God is Love—Love that will not stop and cannot be stopped. God is the Beautiful One.
Does that kind of love seem foolish to you?
Loving when it appears you’ll receive absolutely nothing in return?
Loving when you feel abandoned by love?
Loving when it hurts?
Scripture reveals that kind of love is “foolishness to those who are perishing,” but it is the power of God to those who are being saved, and God wills that ALL will be saved: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” — John 3:16-17
SO… “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this, the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.”—1 John 4:1-7
This devotional was prepared by Kimberly Weynen, Peter Hiett’s assistant. It is a compilation of devotional thoughts from Kimberly and excerpts from Peter’s larger sermon entitled “The Beautiful Thing and How to Do it.” You can read, watch or listen to “The Beautiful Thing and How to Do It” in its entirety here: http://www.thesanctuarydenver.org/