The powerful aroma of spikenard must have filled the room and mingled with the smell of food. Mary had taken ointment and had poured it on Jesus’ head as well as His feet as Jesus was eating a meal at Simon the Leper’s house.1 The value of this ointment represented the yearly wages of a laborer. Many who observed Mary’s selfless act were critical. “The money could have been used to help the poor,” they reasoned.
In 1980, a construction crew accidently uncovered an ancient tomb as they excavated a site in a neighborhood south of old Jerusalem. Entombed were 10 ossuaries containing bones. On one of the ossuaries, an inscription read, “Jesus the son of Joseph.” Inscriptions on the other ossuaries revealed two Marys, a Joseph, a Matthew, and a Jude the son of Jesus. The one Mary’s name was rendered in Greek as Marianene which some believe could be Mary Magdalene.
“Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us” (Ecc 1:10). This question of the wise man becomes very interesting when we apply it to new year. Is the new year really new? In many ways the new year of 2012 will probably be a lot like other years if the Lord tarries. The seasons will come and go. The earth will be planted and harvested. People will be born and people will die. The problems of mankind like disease, crime, political upheaval, and environmental woes will continue to exist.
October 1st represents the beginning of the new church and Sunday school year in many of our congregations. Generally, congregational elections are held to fill various church offices such as song leader, trustee, janitor, usher, Sunday school secretary, etc... While these jobs may sometimes seem insignificant, this work is very vital to the growth and success of our congregations. Our worship services and church life in general flow smoothly when elected workers faithfully fulfill their responsibilities. Let us consider some encouragement as we strive to do this special work.
One of the greatest resources that God has given to the Christian church is old people. Blessed is the congregation that has many of them! The proverb writer tells us that “the hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness” (Pro 16:31).
They were called the Halbtaeufer or Halfway-Anabaptists. These people sympathized with the Swiss Anabaptists but never left the state churches to join Anabaptist brotherhoods. Some sympathized because they recoiled at the horrific treatment these defenseless brethren endured as they were chased, tortured, and slaughtered at the hands of the Swiss authorities. Others were convinced that the Anabaptists practiced a pure Gospel that they themselves did not have the courage to practice openly.
“Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you?” What an essential question! We live in a time when our churches are bombarded with all kinds of Christian rhetoric from many quarters. Church leaders, teachers, writers, and laymen often discuss and even debate numerous ideas of how the Christian church should function and what she should believe. In the midst of many voices, who are the wise men who are endued with knowledge? How may we conclusively determine who represents true wisdom from God and who is merely skillful in the art of rhetorical debate?
A relatively new phenomenon is sweeping across the political landscape of the united States. It is called the Tea Party Movement. This populist movement emerged to protest the bailouts and the stimulus package that the federal government passed in an effort to revive the declining economy. This movement generally supports constitutionally limited government, fiscal responsibility, and free markets.
We indisputably live in the last days. In fact, as you read these lines, you are living on the oldest day in the history of this earth; for you see, today is older than any other day.
For generations the church of Jesus Christ has awaited the consummation of the church age. No human being knows when the last day of this age will occur; however, with each succeeding day that comes and then goes, we can confidently state, “Today we are one day nearer to the end than we were yesterday!”
Editors Note: This article is an extended series written to aid one in the study of the Bible. "Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptavble, by the Word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. But the Word of the Lord endureth for ever" (1Pet 1:23,24a).