Thursday, October 4, 2012

Serving more than one husband!

Jesus calls each of us to a 'totally faithful' relationship with him when he says "no one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other" [Mathew 6:24].

We see in the Gospels, examples of lives thrown open in total submission to Christ. Let me illustrate three such lives here. First is Mary, the mother of Jesus. Mary's holiness is the result of her total submission to Christ. We see her responding with with emphatic 'yes' when she says 'be it unto me according to thy word'. We witness her life being completely in submission to Christ from beginning to the end and it continues to be so.

When Jesus tells the disciples 'my mother and brothers are those who hear the word of God and obey it'.[Luke 8.21], he is telling them if you want to know what is it to be mothers and brothers, you must learn from my mother and brothers. The relation Mary shared with Jesus was not one of simple filial emotional attachment but one that embraced 'love' in its totality, a universal love that embraced all humanity. A true image of Gods love. This is clear as Mary stay composed yet heart broken, at the foot of the cross when her son undergoes excruciating agony on the cross, to redeem humanity. Mary and Jesus by their self gift, reverses the greed of Adam and Eve. Mary represent the church which is now faithfully married to Christ.

Second person is the Samaritan woman at the well. Jesus tells her "you have had five husbands and the one she is with 'now' is not her husband yet". Jesus is inviting her to serve the one and only husband that is Jesus himself leaving all others in her life. Jesus also points to 'the hour' when he will accomplish the necessary sacrifice that will empower her to leave all other husbands and be completely faithful to the 'One' she is eternally betrothed to. Jesus tells her of the 'fruitfulness' of this nuptial union when he says "the water I give you will become a spring of water welling up to eternal life" [John 4:14].We see her leaving the pots behind at the well and running to tell of the freedom and joy she now experiences with in, having found 'real love'.

The third person is the woman who breaks open the alabaster jar and pours the 'entire' content on Jesus to anoint him. Nard was an expensive perfume, woman of those days preserved as their most priced possession, that she would pour on her husband on the wedding night before their marriages is consummated. It was a sign of her 'total self giving' to her husband.

This woman dares to enter into the room where only men are present. This was against the custom of those days. To have her hair unbound in public is another daring act.  What she experiences here is the freedom of a bride who has given herself 'totally' as a gift to her husband and are in their own bedroom where the fragrance fills. This pure love. There is deep repentance and total submission here. If you assume this woman to be Mary Magdalene we know that she served many husbands before. In another it account it says that seven evils spirits had been cast out from her. Either way it is clear that she served many husbands and now she is in the presence of her one and only husband - to be totally faithful in a life long commitment to love. We witness this love and commitment later on as she is the one who is the first to go to the tomb of Jesus early in the morning. She is also the one to whom Jesus appears first after resurrection.

When we sin, we serve not God but an illicit husband, the enemy, the devil. He does not deserve us. Let our lives be like these woman, totally in submission to faithfully love the one and only husband Jesus Christ who remains faithful to us from eternity to eternity.