Christ spoke the startling words of how we are to love one another. He has ransomed all by His blood, and because He has ransomed ALL, that excludes none from His self-sacrificing gift. He didn’t fail to give everything He had, and by it, God testified to all mankind of the great love and value He values the human race at.
Look at the price He paid to declare our value:
Matthew 13:45-46 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: (46) Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, WENT AND SOLD ALL THAT HE HAD, AND BOUGHT IT.”
Christ saw what it meant to purchase the kingdom of heaven for mankind, and that meant Him giving everything. Did He value us being in the kingdom enough to pay the price? He did.
1 Peter 1:18-19 “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold… (19) But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:”
The value of every man has already been determined in the heart of God, and that value is determined by the ONE WILLING TO PAY THE PRICE. This value testifies of the love that God has for us:
1 John 4:9-10 “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. (10) Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”
If the apostle’s declaration of the love of God were finished here, that would have been enough, but it was not enough, because that love is to have a transformational effect on how we value others. He concludes:
1 John 4:9-11 Beloved, IF GOD SO LOVED US, WE ALSO OUGHT TO LOVE ONE ANOTHER.”
So then, if the love of God has declared our value by giving all, why have we not believed this value, embraced it, walked in it, and valued others with that same established value? Why have we failed to love others as God has loved us?
Whoever has been redeemed by this “blood of the everlasting covenant” (Hebrews 13:20) has “left his name as a curse for God’s Chosen” (Is. 65:15), as it is written, “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us” (Gal. 3:13). Our name was a curse to Christ; our name is that old selfish, self-seeking character, full of pride, envy, jealousies, hatred, covetousness, love of money, and the lusts of this world. When we have a truly born again experience, in Christ we become blessed by a God who loves us immensely; not because He loves us more now than before, but because we recognize it and embrace the value God has placed upon us in giving up His dearly beloved Son. It is in realizing this that the release from the curse of sin and separation from God is abolished. By this reality we experience freedom in the blessings of Christ: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath BLESSED US WITH ALL SPIRITUAL BLESSINGS in heavenly places in Christ:” (Eph. 1:3)
That “all spiritual blessings” would include the very love, in and through us to “one another”, by which those blessings came CANNOT BE DENIED.
Christ says EXACTLY THIS. He says how denying that love to others is a denial of Christ Himself who, for so great a price, bought us, but to have that love is to declare that we HAVE RECEIVED THAT LOVE:
Matthew 25:34-46 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, YOU BLESSED of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: (35) For I WAS HUNGRY, and YOU GAVE me meat: I WAS THIRSTY, and YOU GAVE me drink: I WAS A STRANGER (not of the same faith), and YOU TOOK ME IN: (36) NAKED, and YOU CLOTHED me: I WAS SICK, and YOU VISITED me: I was IN PRISON, and YOU CAME to me. (37) Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? (38) When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? (39) Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? (40) And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch AS YOU HAVE DONE IT TO THE LEAST OF THESE, my brethren, YOU HAVE DONE IT TO ME.
Notice that those who Christ pronounces as blessed are the ones who value others naturally as Christ values them, but yet not for any reward, but simply because that is the very thing that should be done “to the least of these”. What about the imprisoned murderer? Yes, definitely. The cold adulteress? Of course. The drunkard on the street who has ruined himself? Yes, especially for him as well. Even the strangers outside of our faith? Yes, even for them. Christ DIED TO SAVE SINNERS. Look at the EXAMPLE OF BOTH CHRIST AND HIS DISCIPLES:
Luke 5:30-32 But their scribes and Pharisees murmured against his disciples, saying, Why do you eat and drink with publicans and sinners? (31) And Jesus answering said unto them, They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick. (32) I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
Christ hasn’t come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. The scribes and Pharisees made a practical confession that they were not sinners, and deemed themselves wholly better and more worthy of God’s favor than these souls, “which say, ‘keep to yourself, come not near to me; for I am holier than you.’ These are a smoke in My nose, a fire that burns all day.” The self-righteous man, instead of a sweet savor to our God, is a suffocation to Him, which quenches His Spirit. It was this class that put to death our Savior, thrusting Him upon the altar of burnt offering, holding no value for even the Holy one.
If then we claim to be righteous, but have done nothing at all to minister to them the way Christ has ministered to us, aren’t we truly in need of a physician? And if we claim to be righteous, while failing to call “sinners to repentance” because we estimate ourselves as more worthy, while holding a clear problem with recognizing the value of others, doesn’t it show that we have a wrong value system that is not based upon God’s value for us [“for there is no favoritism with God” (Rom. 2:11)], but upon our self-estimate? misunderstanding OF OUR OWN VALUE and WHERE IT COMES FROM? Now, if the “so-called” righteous cannot see this, but the sinner himself can see he does need help and a physician, ISN’T HE ABLE TO SEE MORE CLEARLY THAN THEY ARE? Even so, those blessed in Christ’s love will demonstrate that love.
SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS: A VALUE ISSUE
Even the religious “heirs of the true faith” were wonderful at finding fault with Christ as He ministered to “the least of these”: thus showing an gross problem of where their value truly came from:
Luke 7:34-35 The Son of man (Christ) is come eating and drinking; and you say, Behold a gluttonous man, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners! (35) But wisdom is justified of all her children.
They found fault with Christ because they thought that He Himself, a friend of sinners, would certainly partake of their sins, yet He says “wisdom is justified of her children.” He “did no sin”, and was not a glutton nor a drunkard, but the Scripture says: “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.” (Prov. 11:30)
Christ sought to win their confidence, and show them the way to the true Tree of Life, which was Christ Himself.
THE REST OF THE PARABLE
Christ, in the rest of the parable spoke not about those who had received the blessing of His love and revealed it in self-sacrificing, caring ministry to the neediest and lowliest class of society, but those who DID NOT, but CLAIMED THEY DID:
(41) Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, YOU CURSED, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: (42) For I was an hungred, and ye GAVE ME NO meat: I was thirsty, and ye GAVE ME NO drink: (43) I was a stranger, and ye TOOK ME NOT in: naked, and ye CLOTHED ME NOT: sick, and in prison, and ye VISITED ME NOT. (44) Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, WHEN did we see You an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto You? (45) Then shall He answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as you DID IT NOT TO ONE OF THE LEAST OF THESE, you DID IT NOT TO ME. (46) And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
HOW CLEAR DOES THE TRUTH APPEAR! We are to value those who God has valued with the very value He has placed upon them: and that is the value of Christ Himself! He regards Himself as not being any different from those precious souls for whom He died, because He gave Himself entirely for them. We are told that the “Word was made flesh, and tabernacled with us.” “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;” (Heb. 2:14)
LOVING IS MANIFESTED IN MORE THAN WORDS WITHOUT ACTION
1 John 4:20 “If a man SAYS, I love God, and hates his brother, he is a liar: for he that loves not his brother whom he hath seen, HOW CAN HE LOVE GOD WHO HE HAS NOT SEEN?”
1 John 3:16-18 Hereby we perceive the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. (17) But whosoever has this world’s good, and sees his brother having a need, and shuts up his bowels of compassion from him, how can the love of God dwell in him? (18) My little children, let us NOT LOVE IN WORD, NEITHER IN TONGUE; but IN DEED AND IN TRUTH (Christ is the Truth).
How can the redeemed do anything less than live as Christ lived?
1 John 2:6 He that says he abides in Him, should also himself walk even as he walked.
When the curse was laid upon Christ, that we might be redeemed from the curse, the curse was slain on the “tree” Christ was crucified on. Through this, God calls us His servants who have been redeemed, and gives us a new name, just as Jacob (meaning deceiver) was given the name Israel (meaning overcomer).
Isaiah 65:15-18 And you shall leave YOUR NAME FOR A CURSE unto My Chosen (That is Christ): for the Lord GOD shall slay you (the cursed you which is laid upon Christ), and call His servants by ANOTHER NAME: (16) That he who BLESSES himself in the earth shall BLESS himself in the God of truth…; because the former troubles are forgotten, and because they are hid from mine eyes. ..But be glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create: for, behold, I CREATE Jerusalem a rejoicing, and HER PEOPLE A JOY.
Now, if that happened, and God has given us a new name of BLESSING, and not a cursed name, then He CREATES US NEW IN CHRIST. Therefore, the curse of coldness through iniquity is slain, and we have a BLESSED CONFESSION OF FAITH:
Galatians 2:20 I am CRUCIFIED WITH CHRIST: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but CHRIST LIVES IN ME: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, WHO LOVED ME, AND GAVE HIMSELF FOR ME.
And if Christ is in us, does He give ANY LESS LOVE than He has GAVE while He lives in us? Is Christ selfish, or fearful of the loss of the treasures of this world? No, not at all; in fact everything He forfeited was sacrificed so that He could give it as a gift to us. If Christ “so loved us” we will so love one another. Yet if anyone’s VALUE is determined by what they think they do, and not by Christ, then the apostle shows the destruction of the value placed upon us:
Galatians 2:21 “I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then CHRIST IS DEAD IN VAIN.”
What does it mean that Christ is dead in vain? It means His love was worthless in producing in you what the Father had desired it would. It strikes at the heart of the value issue, declaring that if all your works of the law were what was necessary to make you righteous in the manner that God desired, then Christ. The problem is that THE LAW CAN NEVER MAKE YOU RIGHTEOUS and it has no love of itself to reveal to you if it is simply you keeping the law. THE LAW CANNOT DETERMINE YOUR VALUE; NOR CAN THE LAW FORGIVE YOU: IT CAN ONLY CONDEMN YOU. This was the Pharisees great misconception regarding value. They saw God not as a God of love, but they saw Him in a light that would condemn and not sacrifice and redeem, empower and save; this value system where the love of God was hidden from view, impressed it’s image on everything they did, finally even condemning Christ Himself. And Christ addressed this very issue at the house of a chief Pharisee.
THE BLESSED AND THE CURSED REVEALED
Mary Magdalene is spoken of as the woman “which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities” (Luke 8:2) by Christ, “out of whom He had cast seven devils” (Mark 16:9). This woman understood the value of what Christ had done for her, and showed a strong token of her love.
Luke 7:36-37 “And one of the Pharisees desired him that He (Christ) would eat with him. And He went into the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to eat. (37) And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat to eat in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster box of ointment,”
To show just how much Mary understood and valued the love that Jesus had manifested toward her, she expressed it in a “very costly” way:
John 12:3-5 Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, VERY COSTLY, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment. (4) Then said one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, which should betray him, (5) Why was not this ointment sold for THREE HUNDRED DENARIUS, and given to the poor?
How costly was this? It was “three hundred denarius”. How much is that?
Matthew 20:2 And when he had agreed with the labourers for A DENARIUS A DAY, he sent them into his vineyard.
If the gift she gave could have been sold for 300 denarius, and a denarius was a day’s wages, then she gave three hundred days wages worth of “spinenard” to anoint Jesus. This would have been nothing short of her whole life’ savings representing her whole life under the curse of sin, to anoint Jesus with her old “cursed name” and to reveal she was walking in the blessing of having received that love and value.
Matthew 26:12 For in that she hath poured this ointment on my body, she did it for my burial.
Yet the Pharisees, struggling to understand that a woman recognized by them as a sinner, looked to the righteousness which they thought they had by the law, which left them cold, desolate, and devoid of the love of Christ. They supposed in their righteousness a sufficiency which had no need of Christ. Yet Mary was overflowing with self-sacrificing love for Jesus:
Luke 7:39-48 (39) Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he spoke within himself, saying, “This man, if He was a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that touches Him: for she is a sinner.” (40) And Jesus answering said unto him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he said, “Master, speak on.” (41) “There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred denarius, and the other fifty. (42) And when they had nothing to pay, he freely forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most? (43) Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, You have judged rightly. (44) And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered into your house, YOU GAVE ME NO WATER for My feet: but SHE HAS washed My feet WITH TEARS, and wiped them with the hairs of her head. (45) You GAVE ME NO KISS: but this woman since the time I came in HAS NOT CEASED to kiss My feet. (46) My head with oil YOU DID NOT ANOINT: but this woman HAS ANOINTED my feet with ointment. (47) For this cause, I say to you, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little. (48) And he said unto her, Your sins are forgiven.”
Mary had such a clear sense of her sinfulness, but also the love that Christ had bestowed upon her, and it was not “in vain”. Yet Simon had no love for her, “the least of these”, and found no love for Christ; but rather he condemned both her and Christ in his own self-righteous estimation; he had little sense that he was also a sinner in need of forgiveness. To understand that value that Mary felt is not only her experience, but it is to be our own. Our very own lives anoint Jesus at the cross; if we will believe He was made our curse, and made sin for us, we shall “leave our names as a curse” at the cross of Christ by faith, and walk in a new name, in “newness of life”. And how do we repay? By doing to the least of these as though it were Jesus Himself.
Yet the more of the love that God reveals to us by the abundance of mercy and truth He gives to us commissions us to a yet higher calling still of valuing souls aright. It far exceeds the necessary physical needs, and temporal wants of those who Christ came to save. It means bringing to them the everlasting gospel; a message which will result in a change that will purify from all filthiness and impurity, and purge all unrighteousness from the sin-stained soul. The message of Christ’s return is to declare the deepest revelation of the love of God known to man, that restores the fullness of the heart of Christ’s self-sacrificing principles to those who receive it to fit them for heaven. The results of this reception are everlasting, as is the rejection of it to be everlasting; for this cause, prophecy declares this message as the everlasting gospel. The least of these, above all, need to know the deliverance of Mary who was forgiven much, and loved much.