This morning while I was meditating I felt Holy Spirit tell me to read Mark 14. I didn’t remember what Mark 14 entailed or if I had even heard Him clearly, but I flipped to this passage in my bible and skimmed through some scriptures before realizing what He had set a part for me to read this morning: Mark 14:3-9 “Jesus Anointed at Bethany.”
Okay Jesus. I get it. Let’s read on.
To give some context, I have spent the majority of 2017 out of Canada. In early January I moved to the UK to study history abroad for a semester. I was back for two weeks in June to visit friends and family and be on Vancouver Island for my brother’s graduation before flying back to Europe for another four months with YWAM (Youth With a Mission).
I was gone for almost 10 months this year and met forever friends from all over the world. My season abroad was indescribably brilliant and unbelievably challenging. A reoccurring theme that the Lord placed in my path was “cost.” I was asked by Holy Spirit many, many times this year what the cost is of being a disciple of Jesus (disciple simply means follower) (Luke 14:33).
In Luke 14:24-34 Jesus talks about the “Cost of Being a Disciple” to the crowds and His own disciples following Him. Jesus explains that true discipleship lies in surrendering every other way in one’s life. In John 14:5-6, Jesus explains to Thomas (one of His disciples) that He is the Way and the Truth and the Life and no one can come to Father God except through Him. Jesus is the only WAY. When we give life and allowance to other ways in our life that we worship, idolize and grapple hold of instead of surrendering to Jesus as our only WAY, we are allowing double-mindedness, control, fear and doubt to invade our faith in King Jesus.
Jesus warns us of this in Luke 14. We cannot follow Jesus as well as be followers of ourselves. Yes, Christ’s blood has washed us clean. Yes, we are the New Creation when we give our lives to Jesus and are baptized by water and renewed in our mind’s by Holy Spirit. But until Jesus comes back to His earthly Kingdom, we’re still human and remain vulnerable and tempted by the evil one who would do anything to have you, because He hates Christ in you.
I have held on to MUCH in my life. Jesus has done immeasurable damage control in me because of all the different ways I’ve previously chose to allow in my life. This year Jesus told me that He was doing a new thing in my life, and in order to perceive it I must lay down my wayward tendencies to allow His Way to begin to take root in my heart. And it was excruciating, but I figured the only thing I had to lose was who I wasn’t created to be anyways.
Every divisive thought. Every double-minded doubt. Every fear. All control. His alter.
Freedom is sweet, my friends.
That’s not to say I’m not still tempted by the enemy or that I no longer am swayed by my old nature, because I am sometimes. But the victory is final. Jesus won when He was raised to life again after He died on the cross for our sins. Because of this, Satan is powerless in his very nature. Satan only gains power when we willfully agree with him regarding who he says we are not.
We are sons and daughters in our very nature and we were purchased at the highest cost, by Jesus’s blood; the very Son of God Himself.
To get back to Mark 14…
I’ve had to lay many precious and costly people, things, and habits down in my life to follow Jesus, the only Way. I recently got hit with a fresh wave of what the cost is of following Jesus. But praise God! Because the Pioneer and Perfecter of our faith LOVES our hearts and honours our sacrifices deeply. It’s to our JOY to lay down what is precious to us because we are precious to HIM!
In Mark 14:3-9, Mary expressed her great love to Jesus by breaking her very costly jar of pure nard to anoint Jesus with precious oil. Although she got criticized for her actions by some of Jesus’ disciples (“There were some who said to themselves indignantly, ‘Why was the ointment wasted like that? For this ointment could have been sold for more than a year’s wages and given to the poor. And they scolded her'” (14:4-5), Jesus loved the expression of her heart for Him. Mary was treating Jesus as the finest earthly King by anointing Him with the finest perfume. She knew who Jesus was and willfully gave to Him what was of great worth to her. And He loved her because Mary truly understood COST; even more than Jesus’ disciples.
“But Jesus said, ‘Leave her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a beautiful thing to me” (14:6).
“She has done what she could, she has anointed my body beforehand for burial. And truly, I say to you, wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her” (14:8-9).
Jesus loves me. He is honoured when I willfully give Him what is of great cost to me because He paid the highest cost on the cross. My precious surrender to His Kingship is a beautiful aromatic perfume to Him: a perfume He deeply values and rewards with a Kingly blessing. For very precious reasons I do not yet know, surrendering to Jesus what I value highly will only BLESS Christ IN me, the HOPE of glory (Colossians 1:27)! Holy Spirit promises that hope will not disappoint me (Romans 5:5). So I will freely hope in what Jesus has ordained for me.
There is no downside in surrender friends; there are only promises that have always been set a part for you and eagerly await your arrival.
I’m only beginning to understand this revelation myself, and as I continue to mature in discipleship there will be questions and criticisms similar to any follower of the Way, but that is the cost of being a disciple: it’s not what we choose to hold onto and define as valuable, but rather it’s what we can willfully choose to lay down to anoint our Finest King. That, in itself, is the very expression of truly understanding cost.