Focus Verse of the Week
For the poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me. (John 12:8, ESV)
8. the poor always . . . with you–referring to Deuteronomy 15:11.
but me . . . not always—a gentle hint of His approaching departure. He adds (Mark 14:8), “She has done what she could,” a noble testimony, embodying a principle of immense importance. “Wherever this Gospel shall be preached in the whole world, there shall also this, that this woman has done, be told for a memorial of her” ( Matthew 26:13, 14:9). “In the act of love done to Him she had erected to herself an eternal monument, as lasting as the Gospel, the eternal word of God. From generation to generation this remarkable prophecy of the Lord has been fulfilled; and even we, in explaining this saying of the Redeemer, of necessity contribute to its accomplishment” [OLSHAUSEN]. “Who but Himself had the power to ensure to any work of man, even if resounding in his own time through the whole earth, an imperishable remembrance in the stream of history? Behold once more here, the majesty of His royal judicial supremacy in the government of the world, in this, Verily I say unto you” [STIER].
Beautiful are the lessons here: (1) Love to Christ transfigures the humblest services. All, indeed, who have themselves a heart value its least outgoings beyond the most costly mechanical performances; but how does it endear the Saviour to us to find Him endorsing the principle as His own standard in judging of character and deeds!
(2) Works of utility should never be set in opposition to the promptings of self-sacrificing love, and the sincerity of those who do so is to be suspected. Under the mask of concern for the poor at home, how many excuse themselves from all care of the perishing heathen abroad. (3) Amidst conflicting duties, that which our “hand (presently) finds to do” is to be preferred …. (4) “If there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to what a man has, and not according to that he has not” (2 Corinthians 8:12).”She has done what she could” (Mark 14:8).
(5) As Jesus beheld in spirit the universal diffusion of His Gospel, while His lowest depth of humiliation was only approaching, so He regards the facts of His earthly history as constituting the substance of this Gospel, and the relation of them as just the “preaching of this Gospel.” Not that preachers are to confine themselves to a bare narration of these facts, but that they are to make their whole preaching turn upon them as its grand center, and derive from them its proper vitality; all that goes before this in the Bible being but the preparation for them, and all that follows but the sequel.
(Adapted from the Commentary Critical and Explanatory of the Whole Bible, John 12:8.)
A Thought to Keep
How do you prevent your devotion to Christ from becoming mechanical? Are you loving the poor around you and also the lost all over the world?