The Greatest Cause

Gary Bird
Matthew 26:8-15 But when his disciples saw it, they had indignation, saying, To what purpose is this waste? For this ointment might have been sold for much, and given to the poor. When Jesus understood it, he said unto them, Why trouble ye the woman? for she hath wrought a good work upon me. For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always. For in that she hath poured this ointment on my body, she did it for my burial. Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, there shall also this, that this woman hath done, be told for a memorial of her.

There are no shortages of what some believe to be “life changing” causes in the world today! Some claim to be saving the earth. Others have their life dedicated to saving animals. There are causes around saving mankind from themselves. There are clubs that protect women from men and men from women. You can donate to protect civil liberties from the government. In our text today, we find several people busy serving their cause. All were close to Jesus and all of their services revolved around Jesus. But only one of them focused on the right cause. The event at hand was Jesus preparing for His death. Mary brought out her best ointment to prepare Jesus for His burial.

This is the same Mary who sat at Jesus’ feet learning and I believe she had an insight that others in the room that night didn’t have. Her act of service embodied worship and the gospel. The disciples saw the situation in a different way. Jesus’ assistant pastors so to speak, were the faithful of the faithful. They were very vocal about what they wanted. They desired to feed the poor with the money that could be made selling the ointment that Mary had. Was this a bad cause? No! That was great! They wanted to help others, but this was not the greatest cause. Judas, one of the twelve disciples, wanted to sell the ointment as well. But he wanted to do it for selfish reasons. He was the money keeper and had visions of personal gain. Very clearly we see three viewpoints represented in three forms:
   • Mary: The Greatest Cause
   • Disciples: A Good Cause
   • Judas: A Selfish Cause

The reason we know that Mary was focused on the greatest cause is because of the honor Jesus bestowed upon her. He reminded us that wherever the gospel is preached that we should be sure to mention her and her actions that day. Wow! You see, in the world today, we have many competing causes. Some are great causes, like our family. Some causes are noble and commended in the Bible, like helping the needy. Ever present are our personal needs like our job, our health, and our day-to-day duties.

The secret to all of this is to never allow our other causes or our own self-interests to steal from Jesus. There is a greater cause that we find in Jesus that should be first. Jesus and the gospel are the bedrock and cornerstone that we are called to build upon. There should never be a time where the other causes steal from Jesus. They should always complement and uplift the greatest cause, which is Christ and the gospel. Thankfully, the disciples learned this and went on to do great things for the Lord. So great was their impact that we stand in the knowledge that they passed down to us. However, it is sad to think that Judas died in his selfishness. He perished at the hand of self-interest and gain. Thirty pieces of silver was the price of his demise.

May we be like Mary and ignore the crowd, focusing only on Christ as our foundation and our greatest cause. May we let our own self-serving interests and causes give way to the most important cause, Jesus Christ, and His gospel.

Gary Bird

Gary and his family are core members of our church. He assists with multiple minsitries. He and his wife Jessica have four children.

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