I had been reading the story as I flew back to New York City from London over the weekend. It was about the time Mary poured an alabaster jar of perfume on Jesus. But this time around, the Lord impressed my heart that the acts of Mary has to do with the Numbers One and Zero. The Number of Divine Intimacy and the Number of Sowing and Reaping. The Lesson therefore becomes imperative that if we seek and walk in Divine Intimacy, then any act especially that of sowing to reap a harvest must surely attract God's attention and blessing. What had amazed me was that although Mary was performing a completely unselfish act, even those closest to Jesus--His own disciples--criticized her. They were not broken as Mary. Are you broken?
As I reread the accounts of Mary’s extravagant but misunderstood devotion (see John 12:1-7; Matt. 26:6-13; Mark 14:3-9) and meditated on the story, I felt the Holy Spirit working in my heart that the acts of Mary has to do with the Number One and Zero. The Number of Divine Intimacy and the Number of Sowing and Reaping. He showed me some important truths about Mary’s act that apply to believers today. They were the acts inside that perfume jar that became exposed for all to see when that jar was broken. Before the jar could be broken, Mary had to be broken first. The broken jar reflected her brokenness. I believe these 10 Acts of Mary are what genuine brokenness is all about. Here they are:
1. Brokenness is Love Act: What Mary did was a great act of love on her part that has to do with the Number One and Zero. Even if Mary may not be aware that she was operating on the power of numbers, yet her acts depicted the power behind the Number of Divine Intimacy and the Number of Sowing and Reaping.. She gave her best--a gift of great quality, quantity and cost. It was also an act of deep humility and reverence. After pouring out the perfume, she stooped down to anoint Jesus’ feet, loosening the tresses of her hair--in those days a mark of unusual self-abandonment. She cannot but attract the attention of Heaven.
2. Brokenness is Heart Act: Mary was already committed to Jesus and didn’t have to lavish her perfume on Him to prove her love. She could have held back and kept it for herself. She would have remained a follower and lover of Jesus and still would have spent eternity with Him in heaven--but imagine what she would have given up by holding on to her earthly treasure! She would have missed the opportunity to bless our Lord form her Heart and to inspire those who came after her to give their all for Him from their heart and not merely from their feeling. The Act of the Heart is deliberate as seen in the acts of Mary and has to do with the Numbers One and Zero. The Number of Divine Intimacy and the Number of Sowing and Reaping. Mary reaped immediately a response from God and so must we.
3. Brokenness is Selfless Act: Are we as selfless and devoted as Mary? Are we willing to give up that which is precious to us to not only honor God but also be an example to those around us? Are we willing to follow the acts of Mary and do that which has to do with the Numbers One and Zero? Are we willing to pursue a selfless act - the sure path to Divine Intimacy as to reap all the blessings of Sowing and Reaping.
4. Brokenness is Careful Act: Judas and the other disciples criticized Mary. But she didn't care about her critics but was very careful about Jesus - to do this service to Jesus and Jesus alone. She didn’t apologize or express regret for her actions, even when Judas pointed out that the perfume could have been sold to help the poor. Yet, the careful acts of Mary has to do with the Numbers One and Zero. The Number of Divine Intimacy and the Number of Sowing and Reaping.
5. Brokenness is Unfazed Act: When we become radical for Christ, willing to sacrifice ourselves and our possessions for Him, even those close to Him may not understand. They might be threatened by our gifts, they might become jealous, or they might react in a condescending, religious way, as Judas did. But Mary remained unfazed and so must we if we have to give Jesus our all and thus embracing the Intimacy of the Divine and the auction of Sowing and Reaping.
6. Brokenness is Responding Act: How will we respond? Will we pull back? Will we regret our extravagance or begin to doubt the value of it? How much value can we put on what Jesus Christ did for us. Are our actions in direct response to what we are convinced that Jesus Christ did for us. How can our acts become like the acts of Mary that has to do with the Numbers One and Zero - the Number of Divine Intimacy and the Number of Sowing and Reaping. How do we really respond to His Love, grace and mercy for us? That is the clue.
7. Brokenness is Revelation Act: Mary had insight about the significance of her act. Somehow she sensed Jesus’ impending death, even though His disciples, whom He had told of His death and resurrection, didn't seem to “get it.” Some were concerned about an earthly kingdom. Others brazenly asked to sit at His right or left hand in heaven. But Mary adored Him, and in her spirit, she understood—and performed this tremendous act of love to prepare His body for burial. As a result, Jesus defended her from the harsh criticism that came her way. God will always fight for us if our acts are as the acts of Mary that has to do with the Numbers One and Zero - the Number of Divine Intimacy and the Number of Sowing and Reaping.
8. Brokenness is Visionary Act: Not only that, but He said she would become famous! How ironic! Mary though never had the notion of being famous as her motivation to lavish this wealth on Jesus Christ. But she had the vision of eternal identification with Christ Jesus. By pouring her all on the Master and giving Him her most costly treasure, she set herself up to be remembered forever. Jesus said, “’I tell you the truth, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her’” (Matt. 26:13, NIV). It now obvious that the acts of Mary has to do with the Numbers One and Zero. The Number of Divine Intimacy (identification) and the Number of Sowing and Reaping.
9. Brokenness is Fulfilling Act: Do we understand the true purpose of our relationship with Jesus? Or are we using it as a means to an end? Are we looking for power, position or other benefits, or do we find fulfillment in simply loving and obeying Him? If we cannot find fulfillment is what we do or doing for Christ, then there would be no blessing in it for us. Either we are pursuing a wrong goal or we have a wrong vision of Christ Jesus. Like Mary, if we have to performed fulfilling services to the Lord, our acts like the acts of Mary will have to do with the Numbers One and Zero. The Number of Divine Intimacy and the Number of Sowing and Reaping. What is our Expectation and what is our Goal in serving the Lord. Are we fulfilled by what we do for Him? That's one of the immediately returns. We reap what we sow.
10. Brokenness is Exposing Act: Mary's act exposed what is her jar - a reflection of what is in her heart and life. In reflecting on Mary’s example, I was prompted to ask myself a pointed question: “What’s in MY alabaster jar, and what am I going to do with it?” I began to search my heart to see if there was anything hidden there that I wanted to treasure for myself. Would I be willing to pour it out on Him? I discovered two things in my “jar” that I was holding back—and found that I struggled to relinquish these to Him, even though I love Him dearly and want to pursue Him with all my heart. Divine Intimacy was foundational to the acts of Mary which has to do with the Numbers One and Zero which are the Number of Divine Intimacy and the Number of Sowing and Reaping. Am I ready to relinquish and surrender all to him?
What about you and I? What precious perfume is locked inside your heart that could be lavished on our Lord? The little treasures you and I struggle to hold on to may hold back opportunities to worship Him with extravagant praise, releasing ministry and service to Him that will bless all those around us.
What’s in YOUR alabaster jar? And what are you going to do with it?