Kingdom Principle: Forgetting precedes Forgiveness
Forgetting frees us to forge ahead – Mary “forgot” what money can buy
|Isaiah 43:16-21||Psalm 126||Philippians 3:4b-14||John 12:1-8|
The Prodigal Daughter is the story of this week’s passage in John. Here Mary gets weak knees before Jesus and anoints him with costly perfume. The prodigal nature of this is only seen in the reclaiming of the parable told by Jesus last week and making clear in the true meaning of prodigal in Tim Keller’s book – Prodigal God. I’m not sure how my wife would respond if I went to visit a friend who had a week to live, and on my way I picked up a $10,000.00 bottle of wine and loaf of bread for us to share as a celebration of his final communion…. Mary did not think twice about this choice, she simply forgot – letting go everything that gave security ($$$) and significance (let her hair down) and anointed Jesus prior to his death.
In Lent we let go of the things that control us – our false perceptions of who God is, our desire for security, the fear of loneliness and hardship in wilderness experiences, and even the unwillingness to forgive. This week we forget what is behind and we press on to what is ahead. Looking even more closely at the Gospel of John we see that the resurrected Lazarus (John 11:38-43) was present at the supper with Jesus, and that people had gathered to see him and hear his story, maybe even more than to be with Jesus the one who did the healing. We are often sucked into the pursuit of the marvelous and miraculous, and altogether overlook the mystery of the miracle giver. Our eyes (of the flesh) have a hard time focusing on Jesus when what we really long for it for Jesus to do in our lives the miracle that we long for. (This is especial true for those who live in a FROM posture with God. If you have you ever thought or “prayed” – Jesus let me win the lottery… and I’ll give money to the poor and help the church…. Re-read the text and see what Jesus has to say about that.
Instead – might we rejoice and live prodigal for Jesus. It is far easier to live prodigal when you have very little, than if you have very much – so learn to live prodigal with less then let God trust you with much. (Luke 19:11-26, Luke 21:1-4) Living prodigal for Jesus will cause offense and disruption from those around – and it is only possible we stop playing by the rules and radically give your life to Christ. (This offense will require us to seek forgiveness often – not because we are “wrong” rather because we seek reconciliation.) While there is pain in this offering, the joy comes in the morning. My first thought on this week was in regard to the concept of forgiving and forgetting… where people debate whether if forgiving means you have to forget. I have my thoughts on this based on Matt. 18:21-35 – what are yours? The concept of forgetting if you forgive means that – if you release the debt then you shall no longer remember the offense. To understand the foundation of forgiveness see last week. What I pressing into here –is that if we live as Paul did “considering everything (in the past) a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things” we will be far more inclined to forgive on the spot. Therefore forgetting precedes forgiving. Forgetting what is behind is based on the hope to know the power of Christ’s resurrection and participation in his sufferings, it makes all things new and ushers us into forgiveness. So let us starting forgetting now – before we take offense, let us release control now, before our self-righteousness inclines us to be the “older brother”, let us reach toward what is ahead; investing in the only change that matters. This is the change of our hearts to submit to the King of Kings – this is an act of repentance. Based on this approach to forgetting – How might we live prodigal for Jesus?
To live prodigal we must see that the LORD is doing a new thing. In seeing the new things we will be free to release the old things that have brought us security and significance. C.S. Lewis captures this idea of a “new things” well in Prince Caspian. Lucy is seeking to understand why Aslan has not interviewed, He tells her, “Things never happen the same way twice.” This is why we must live WITH rather than OVER God… This does not negate that there are patterns, principles and paradigms to the Kingdom.( For more info on the Patterns, Paradigms and Principles I find most interesting – click here – but it is just for those who crave more knowledge and to understand my thinking….) These Patterns, paradigms and principles cannot be used to control the King. The King alone is in control and His ways and thoughts are not ours…. (Isaiah 55:8-9)
Simply put patterns reveal paradigms which lead to principles which can be followed, but to do so without being in relationship WITH the King is to miss the entire paradigm of paradox Jesus has come to establish as his kingdom here on earth. In this the King lifts our eyes off of ourselves and our story and directs us to His Story. We resist this change and his new ways for if we can figure things out and control our environment there will be no need for god , and we can become our own gods. While this may not be your goal, it is the result of many who confess that they don’t like change and don’t want it…
The Psalm this week tells us to sow in sorrow is to reap in joy… our joy is drawn from that which is yet to come. (While our hope is drawn from that which has already taken place.) The true joy is the return of the King, and the redemption of all things – beginning with our very lives!) Until that day, we press on to the goal, not looking back, (Luke 9:62) nor looking to others to make things right, we fix our eyes on Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith. (Hebrews 12:2)And in this we discover the confidence to rejoice in the Lord for the great things He has done and even more in the things he has yet to do!