Grace is relational

The room was bursting with joy. Laughter and chatter filled every corner. He had come back to visit. Reclining at the table enjoying a meal, they were catching up on all the latest news. She loved these moments. She began to think about the many times she had sat at His feet listening to stories of grace and love. Words of wisdom and insight. Somehow, this man had opened her eyes to a new world. A world of grace. A world of love. A world of forgivenss. A world of healing. A world of miracles.

She watched her sister bustling here and there serving. She looked across the room and saw her brother. It was still  hard to believe that he was joining them tonight. It hadn’t been that long and they had buried him in a tomb. But this man whom some of them had grown to love and respect had called their brother out and now he was there, laughing and chatting.

Unable to hide her love and devotion, she quietly went to get her prized possession. An expensive bottle of perfume. She had been saving it for something special. What could be more special than to give it to her Master? Her Messiah. Unashamedly, she began to pour the perfume out over His feet. Unfazed by what the others might think or say, she wiped His feet with her hair. Jesus deserved everything. He looked down and His eyes of delight pierced Mary’s heart.

The lingering smells of cooking, sweaty bodies and feet were soon disguised by a sweet scent. Suddenly, the chatter stopped. The aroma had become obvious. Her act of worship was embarrassing. Hiding in the shadows, he had been enjoying the evening until now. His smile turned to a frown. How could she do that? How could she waste that expensive perfume on the Master’s feet? Why did she have to interrupt things and cause a scene? Surely the Master would say something and reprimand her for such a waste? He didn’t.

Unable to contain himself any longer he said, “Master, that perfume could have been sold and the money given to the poor?” Jesus turned to him, love mingled with sadness filled His eyes as he quietly spoke, “Leave her alone. She has done this in preparation for my burial. The poor you will always have with you. But you will not always have me.” Jesus knew that Judas wasn’t interested in the poor. He also knew that Judas was about to betray Him.

Mary had encountered grace and it changed her life.

Judas had lived in an atmosphere of grace. He walked with, talked with, ate with, and worked with the very man who personified grace. But it left him cold.

The Word, Jesus, became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.  John 1:14

Grace will only make sense in the context of relationship. In John 12, Mary knew the One who had lived out grace before her very eyes. Judas had witnessed the same things Mary had but they didn’t move him. His response was different. Why? He didn’t know the One full of grace.

If we want to experience and live grace, we need to know the One who was grace. The One who embodied grace and truth.

There was no conflict between the two. Grace and truth flowed perfectly through the person of Jesus who came to reveal the Father’s heart. A heart of truth which cannot look on sin and the sinner. A heart of grace which covers sin and embraces the sinner.

Grace leads us to the cross. Grace uncovers our imperfections and brokenness, not to judge but to deliver. Not to shame but to release. Grace binds our brokenness and seals our wholeness.

When we grasp this, we begin to see that grace is not a license. Grace is a magnet that draws us to the Father and invites us to a life of intimacy. A life of intimacy where the very One who embodied grace and truth lives in us and as a result can live through us perfecting our imperfections and shining in our brokenness. (2 Corinthians 4)

Grace doesn’t strive for what isn’t. Grace rests in what has been done: the complete, finished work of Jesus Christ. This is our source of power. This is our source of authority. Because of grace we have free access to the Father. Because of grace life makes sense. Because of grace we don’t need to run errands for sin any longer.

For in Him we live and move and have our being.  Acts 17:28

Little children, you are of God [you belong to Him]. … He who lives in you is greater (mightier) than he who lives in the world.  1 John 4:4