|And when Jesus was in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper, a woman came to Him having an alabaster flask of very costly fragrant oil, and she poured it on His head as He sat at the table.|
Years ago, a chaplain friend of mine in northern California received a 2:00 AM phone call. It was the Highway Patrol, and they needed him right away -- there had been an accident, and it was ugly. So he raced to the scene, exhausted, but eager to help. As he pulled up, he saw car parts everywhere and the typical ominous, swirling police lights. "How can I help?" he asked an officer. "Chaplain, this is one of the worst accidents we've seen, but we need to identify the victim, the driver..." Without hesitation, the chaplain interrupted, saying, "I'll do it; I'll get in the car somehow." He walked up to the shattered car; the driver's body was beyond recognition. He pulled out the driver's wallet, and froze. The driver was his son.
Understandably, he flipped out, unable to absorb what was happening. That night, he broke the news to his wife that their only son had lost his life on Interstate 5. It was the start of a horrible time in his life -- a time of anger and bitterness towards God. A time of brokenness and unanswered questions.
Shortly thereafter, he received another phone call, this time from back east. Terrorists had just flown two planes into the World Trade Center towers, and the voice on the other end of the line pleaded, "We need you to come to Ground Zero." He refused. It was the last place he wanted to go. Months passed, though, and that Christmas, after some convincing from his wife, he packed his bags and made the trip to New York.
Walking Ground Zero, he encountered a devastated couple, still wondering if their daughter had been killed in the attacks. "Can you tell me about her?" he asked them. He wrote down her description -- 24 years old, brown hair, brown eyes, 115 pounds -- and said he'd ask around. Later that day, as he walked inside the police perimeter, a truck came around the corner, filled with debris. As it passed by, something fell off the back, and he randomly picked it up. Pulling out his notes, he realized what he had just found: the identification for the couples' missing daughter.
He went back to the couple, hugged them, and cried. And cried, and cried. "Is this your daughter?" Mom and Dad fell apart. But that day, the chaplain was able to put it all in perspective. God healed his heart that day, and used him to lead the couple to Jesus.
You know, it's amazing how God not only loves the broken-hearted -- He uses them to bring love and healing to other broken-hearted people. In Matthew 26, Jesus visits the home of someone who knew what it felt like to be broken-hearted: a leper. Here was a man who had been ostracized and rejected not only by his friends and family, but even by the religious leaders of his day. Jesus, though, freely visited his home. He loved this leper, even when everyone else rejected him. Why? Because Jesus, too, was broken-hearted.
You see, Jesus knew that He would be crucified in only a matter of days. He knew the burden of sin He would carry as He would be tortured and nailed to a cross. And it broke His heart. But there, in the leper's home of all places, a woman poured out expensive fragrant oil over His head to bless Him. Can you imagine how encouraged Jesus must have felt? Can you imagine how blessed He must have been by this woman, broken before her Lord, sacrificing her costly fragrance to honor Him? The disciples, though, grumbled amongst themselves. "This fragrant oil might have been sold for much and given to the poor," they reasoned (Matthew 26:9). They didn't share Jesus' brokenness, and couldn't minister to Him. They didn't understand.
Maybe today you feel like a failure, or an outcast, or that you'll never amount to anything. Maybe you, like my chaplain friend, are broken-hearted and crushed. Jesus understands. He loves you, and He wants to heal you. He suffered great loss -- even death on a cross -- because He cares for you so much. Let Jesus heal your heart, and He will use you to heal others.
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