READ: Exodus 25-27, Psalm 26, Matthew 26, Acts 26

Ministering to Jesus

We all betray Jesus (Matt. 26:31). If we all are Spartacus, we also all are Judas. Jesus lives with our continual collective betrayal — and we betray Him with our kisses and we betray Him with our loud protestations of supposed fidelity. When we brazenly approach His presence to betray Him, He sees right through our hypocrisy and asks us, “Friend, why have you come” (26:50). We shudder at those who spat in His face, beat Him, and struck Him with the palms of their hands (26:67) without realizing that by our actions we have oathed, cursed, and sworn, “I do not know the man!”

It is a mystery that God receives our worship at all. We betray Him and worship Him in alternating whimsy. The great heart of God alone can endure the instability of man. Yet when we do worship (and our worship can be as genuine as our betrayal), God is big enough and glad enough to receive it. If one reality is that we can wound and betray Jesus, the complimentary reality is that we can genuinely minister to Him. When we pour out costly fragrant oil (26:7), when we give Jesus extravagantly, He is delighted and lets everyone know about it.

Jesus’ accommodation of our frequent betrayals is not an endorsement or acceptance of them. What Jesus longs for is for us to constantly minister to Him. We approach worship so often to receive – peace, a healing, help – and Jesus is gracious to meet us. We forget that we really can bless the Lord! We can really make Jesus happy. We can minister back to Him. And we can do this continually – if we will.

Aaron and sons were asked to tend the lighted oil of God from morning to night (Exo. 27:20-21). The Psalmist endeavored to go about God’s altar in innocence as he “loved the habitation of [God’s] house and the place where [God’s] glory dwells” (Ps. 26:6, 8). When we approach worship from the perspective of what we can extravagantly give God (rather than receive), He speaks to us from the mercy seat (Exo. 25:22). Our reward is in breaking our alabaster treasures and pouring lavishly out on Jesus. Even with Jesus, it is in giving that we receive.

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