Do you remember that ‘Alabaster Lady’ who broke the perfume vase? She left a legacy. When she bathed Jesus feet, He responded with an interesting prophecy. (Mark 14 & John 12) He said: “We are going to record and tell this perfume story for generations!” Why did he say that? Was it because she broke the alabaster box? Or because it was expensive perfume? Or used perfume to wash His feet? Or because she was female? Or because it was beyond the call of duty?
Maybe. But I suspect there was something significantly deeper. And it had to do with several disciples who criticized her.
Have you ever theorized about when or where evil started? Scripture infers that the first sin was by Lucifer, the Angel of Light. He was offended. The dictionary identifies ‘offense’ as “an annoyance brought on by a perceived disregard of my expectations”.
A key aspect of Jehovah’s attitude during Creation includes the concept that:
- He allowed offensive responses to His decisions. (Lucifer was able to choose to disagree with God.)
- His creatures can decide whether they want to accept His manner of doing things. (Adam / Eve chose to be disobedient)
In the incident of the Alabaster Lady, I doubt whether the disgruntled disciples cared much about her, but they did have some BIG questions about why Jesus let her do it. There was more stewing going on around the table than what was just in the pot. There were quizzical looks and mutterings that He was not meeting THEIR expectations of how HE should respond. This story brings to the surface the process that led to the downfall of the Apostle Judas. Others were involved, but he was the one that spoke up first. They all expressed offense and rebuked her harshly for the waste. Jesus didn’t so they were doing it for Him. Did they realize why they felt offended at Him? Did they even realize what desires they had that were offended?
‘Offense’ is actually a small trigger that causes a break in a relationship. Someone does not measure up to my expectations so criticizing or arguing with them or even separating from them makes reasonable and logical sense.
What motivates people to contemplate breaking a relationship or to do antagonistic things to people they love and care about? Jesus asked that question: “Did I not choose all of you … but one is a devil.” (John 6:70) Another word, ‘apostate’ could be used here. It means: ‘someone whose beliefs have changed and they consequently behave viciously’. It is someone who harbours an alternate ambition, desire, hope, dream or passion. Even though they have God’s favour, call, and fellowship, they persist in fostering personal opinions, desires and motivations. These opinions surface in an outburst of perceived offense. The offense becomes the grounds of a false charge against another. In the heat of the offense the twisted judgement of the offended one finds justification for dissolving the relationship. The process affects angels as well as people.
Offended people arrogantly believe that God feels the same way about something as they do. But God may not feel the same way! Judas justified the destruction of his relationship because Jesus didn’t measure up to his perception of what He should be.
Two key issues:
1 – Each of us carries internal thoughts, opinions and expectations. They are not necessarily wicked. We are created with
that capability. We hold / maintain ideas which may not be analyzed or judged properly.
2 – During a crisis moment or situation, when our idea is confronted we become offended. That brings feelings of justification to
activate a reasonable course of action.
We expect /assume that God will steer us away from ungodly tendencies. But God doesn’t preserve us from testing our ungodly temptations. (example: Judas) In fact He will push you to confront the issue to determine whether you need a changed attitude towards godly character. God wants us to confess our vulnerability or inability to be holy only to Him.
Handle it by:
1 – recognize your emotional reactions to / in situations. What frustrates you, or causes anger.
2 – analyze: dig to discover what the real underlying cause is and why that makes you feel offended.
3 – confess / repent: reveal the cause. Otherwise a crisis will reveal it.
May you be blessed with asking questions and discerning His voice in your spirit and hearing no competing voices. … john
(original post Dec 14 2015)