It Is a Grateful Love
Secondly, genuine love of Christ is a grateful love. This act of love demonstrated by Mary was an act of gratitude to Jesus for the great things He had done for her. This may have included the great thing Jesus was about to do for her, and for all His people, at the cross (assuming Mary was aware that she was anointing Him for the day of His burial), but it was definitely an expression of gratitude for the wondrous love Jesus had shown her family by raising her brother Lazarus from the dead. Just a few months prior, Mary was in utter despair, having lost her brother suddenly and tragically to disease and death. Now, there was her brother, alive and well, eating and reclining at the table with the Master who had raised him. When Mary considered the great things Jesus had done (and would do) for her, she was moved with love for Jesus, and demonstrated her love by lavishing upon Him this extravagant act of worship.
Is your love for Jesus a grateful love? Do you know what great things has He done for you? We could begin with our lives, families, jobs, homes, and all of the other things we so often take for granted. These things don’t just happen. They are gifts to us from God, for “every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights” (James 1:17). But more specifically, did you know that you should rejoice over a resurrection the same way Mary rejoiced in the resurrection of her brother? For you were dead in trespasses and sins, and God made you alive together with Christ and raised you up with Him (Eph. 2:5-6). Out of His sheer mercy and sovereign grace, God gave you new birth, a spiritual resurrection, opening your blind eyes and enlightening your darkened mind to see and to understand the glory of the gospel. Had God not awakened you out of your spiritual death, you would have never seen, you would have never believed, and you would have never been saved. You were a wondering sheep, lost and hopeless, and Jesus sought you, found you, called you by name, and saved you. That’s why I love Jesus. When I was dead, He made me alive.
It Is a Public Love
Thirdly, genuine love for Christ is a public love. It is a love that is unashamed to claim Him as my Savior, my Lord, my Redeemer, and my King. Mary’s love for Jesus was a public, unashamed love. Not only did Mary perform this act of worship openly and publicly, in the presence of Jesus’ disciples and friends, but there was a tremendous risk involved in even being associated with Jesus at this point. “Now the chief priests and the Pharisees had given orders that if anyone knew where He was, he was to report it, so that they might seize Him” (11:57). And it wasn’t just Jesus who was in danger, for we read in verses 9-11 that they had put the hit out on Lazarus as well, because his resurrection and testimony was causing many Jews to believe on Christ. And evidently the disciples felt the danger and sensed the risk of being associated with Jesus, for at the end of the week they all fell away for fear of the Jews. And yet Mary publically received Jesus into the home and anointed Him for His burial.
Genuine love for Christ is never a private love. Youdo not love Jesus unless you are unashamed to call Him Lord and Savior, Redeemer and King. You do not love Jesus unless you are willing to acknowledge Him before men, and the initial way we acknowledge our allegiance to Christ, and love for Christ, is through baptism. It is faith alone that saves, but faith without baptism is dead, which is why Jesus told His disciples, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved…” (Mark 16:15-16). A faith that is unwilling to confess Christ in baptism is not true faith, like a man who professes to love his wife yet refuses to wear the wedding ring she gave him.
But baptism is not the only way we profess our love for Christ. We acknowledge our love for Jesus when we attend public worship on the Lord’s Day. Not coming to the Lord’s house, not singing the Lord’s praise, not hearing the Lord’s word, not fellowshipping with the Lord’s people, indicates that you do not actually love the Lord Jesus and are not actually saved.
Genuine love for Christ is a public and unashamed love. A person who loves Jesus will bear shame, scorn, ridicule, persecution, suffering, and even death for the name of Christ. Do you love Jesus with a public and unashamed love? Have you professed your love for Christ in baptism? Do you profess your love for Christ by making Lord’s Day worship a priority in your life? Do you openly acknowledge Jesus before your friends, your family, and the world?