Purpose of Heart for Christ: Two Beautiful Instances

 •  5 min. read  •  grade level: 5
John 12 and 20
What I want to see among us, dear friend, is a purpose of heart. We need not mere knowledge, but purpose of heart, individuality of love to Christ, that He, and He alone, should be the magnet; every heart turning to Him; the Lord satisfying the heart; Christ the polestar drawing up all our hearts to Him as we go through the wilderness.
As to Mary of Bethany, there was no particular light in sitting at His feet; she simply loved her Lord. In John 12:3 she gave an expression of love of the most costly order—not only the box, but she wiped His feet with her hair (hair given to woman as an ornament), and "the house was filled with the odor of the ointment." In Mary's mind there was only one thought; and only one Person present could read the enigma of her strange doings. Did she wish to make a perfume? Did she even think of His death? No, personal attachment to the Lord alone, and the heart drawn up to God to know what to do to express it, to hear from Him how to put honor on Jesus. Her thought was, What most costly can I give Him? Judas was quite the opposite—How much shall I put in the bag? And out of the abundance of the heart both spoke. (How strange the way human nature works. He bids them gather up the fragments, that they may see that with God there is more in the end than in the beginning, for those who need; and now, when the One that God delights to honor is present, they think of the poor!)
Then she got such a guidance from God! She did not know that He was going to die, but she heard from Him first that she was anointing Him for His burial. Her whole mind being set on Christ, God suggested to her the suited act that she had not the intelligence to understand. The power of the Lord let her into something new. Oh, what a beautiful thing is the retired walk of one full of Christ, and she a woman! A channel prepared of God for His own purposes. What could have been wiser? It was in beautiful season too. God honors His people by letting their loving purpose do the very thing He wants for His Son. She did the very thing that showed she was in practical fellowship, because Christ was the Object. What a beautiful subject to speak with her upon—One whom God had thus put honor upon.
Where there is purpose of heart, it is brought into a most blessed place of privilege (chap. 20). As to Mary of Magdala, her thought was, My Lord lies buried; I will go and visit the spot. But all her hopes were blasted when she found the stone gone. She went to the disciples. We have lost the object of our love, she says in effect.
The disciples had not the purpose of heart Mary had (v. 10). "The disciples went away again unto their own home" shows how low in love even the best of His disciples were. Mary's home was the sepulcher of her Lord! No sympathy or interest lay elsewhere, and she was riveted to the spot. No doubt the Lord kept her there to reap the reward of her unwearied love.
There was more attractiveness to her in Christ than in anything else; the angels did not surprise her (v. 12). What were they to the One she wanted? Nothing could turn her off. The needle of her compass was quite true to the one point; her soul was in a state for all that honored Christ to pass before her (v. 13). They drew from her the spring of her sorrow. "My Lord," as if hers alone.
What a touching scene follows (vv. 14, 15). The Lord risen from the grave, cognizant of the •state of all His disciples, saw this poor woman absorbed with Him, and communed with her to prove to her that His love for her was greater than hers for Him. "Whom seekest thou?" "If thou have borne Him hence, tell me where thou hast laid Him, and I will take Him away." Though dead, she still wanted to have Him. Poor, stupid thing that she was, she told her living Lord, Oh, but you are dead! But He said, "Mary." Whatever there was in that word, whatever the manner of naming her, she turned around with "Master!" She had now a living Christ. Mark how she got there. The Lord interfered- "Touch Me not" (v. 17). She got the place of messenger of resurrection—blessed post! How did she get it? With full purpose of heart, occupied so with the Lord that she was above all objects, and neither angels nor disciples turned her aside. What a heart she must have had in going forth with the message to gladden and console the disciples! Here was her reward; all through she had no thought of personal devotedness; she thought of Christ. He had her heart. If your eye be single, you cannot divide between having an object and following it.
"Touch Me not;... but go to My brethren." In heaven He could recognize them in this new relationship. "My Father, and your Father; and... My God, and your God"—blessed position of sons of God brought out at Pentecost! A woman got that truth first of all simply by purpose of heart, beyond faith. Himself the Object of worship in heaven increases the quantity of truth revealed, God finding and bringing souls into purpose of heart, into scenes where Christ came. Knowledge is useless without the heart, but they ought not to be divided. I would rather have less knowledge, but real purpose of heart for Christ, and Christ Himself.
These (I mean women) are not vessels to be put forward outwardly, but Christ ought to have been anointed for His burial; Christ ought to have had someone to watch His tomb; and God used them to honor Him. These are perhaps the two greatest instances of Christ attracting the heart after Him, and their following in purpose of heart; therefore, God uses them to anoint Christ, and to greet His Son after His resurrection. Oh, for more purpose of heart for Christ among all the children of God!