Jesus Makes The Broken Whole
Today I feel broken. Up late wracked with the stomach flu and the guilt of yelling at my kids, I didn’t have the strength to hear this morning that our last working vehicle needs thousands of dollars in repairs and two people I love dearly are struggling with major health issues.
Brokenness. It’s something we’d rather run away from, romanticize instead of experience, and encourage someone else through rather than go through ourselves. But what if we took another look? Could we see it differently?
Would we see that:
Brokenness isn’t the end; but the beginning.
With Jesus, brokenness is really the path to wholeness.
In our Life Journal readings we’ve reached the end of the book of Matthew. (Matthew 26-28).
In these passages, Jesus leads the way to utter brokenness.
And in His Story, we find ours.
Our chapters open in the home of Simon the Leper at a relaxing dinner gathering among friends. Simon, the one who had lived the life of a perfect Pharisee while hiding the fact that the disease of leprosy was slowly ripping his body apart; Simon, the one who had been made whole again by this man, Jesus of Nazareth, heard He was in town with His disciples and invited them over for dinner.
But as they reclined at the table suddenly an unexpected guest walked through the door. With all eyes glued on her, a woman of questionable reputation weaved her way across the room to Jesus, trembling hands cradling a perfect alabaster jar brimming with priceless perfume. What was she doing? The entire gathering watched in shock as she broke open her jar, pouring precious perfumed oil upon Jesus’ head.
The room erupted. What a waste! How disgraceful!
They were thinking of money and propriety and maybe even how this would affect their own reputations.
But Jesus silenced the protests by turning their perspectives upside down, like he’d just overturned the merchant’s tables at the Temple courts.
“She has done a beautiful thing to me.” He rebuked. (Matthew 26:10) “She is preparing my body for burial. I tell you the truth, wherever this gospel is preached through out the world, what she has done will also be told.” (Matthew 26:13).
Why was this single act so significant? I believe Jesus is giving us a glimpse into the true nature of brokenness. A broken woman stole herself into the home of a broken man to humble herself by breaking a costly jar to pour out priceless anointing oil, preparing the Messiah for His coming hours of utter brokenness.
Maybe brokenness isn’t to be avoided after all.
Not too many hours later, Jesus held up the Passover bread to His disciples and shook the room with the power of His proclamation, “This is my body, broken for you.” And with the cup held up, He revealed, “This is my blood, poured out for the forgiveness of sins.”
His body would be broken like the shards of an expertly formed alabaster jar, sinless and perfect but broken almost beyond recognition. His blood was to be poured out from within the broken pieces, gushing over our lives as the anointing oil of healing.
His brokenness brings our wholeness.
For me, it’s during the misty midnight hours later that night in the Garden of Gethsemane that this truth becomes most personal.
After this Last Supper to celebrate the Passover (the event foreshadowing the very outpouring of the Lamb of God’s precious life blood) Jesus withdrew with a few of His disciples to the Garden to pray.
For man, it was in a garden where brokenness was introduced with the first stolen taste of sin. For Jesus, our Messiah, it was a garden where His heart was deeply tested and pressed. He poured out His inner pain to God in prayer, “My Father, if it is possible, take this cup from me. Yet not my will, but yours be done.” He was in agony. Knowing what was coming and preparing His heart to face it was crushing His soul with sorrow “to the point of death.” (Matthew 26:38)
But Jesus didn’t withdraw to any garden. He went to the Garden of Gethsemane. Gethsemane literally means “The Place of the Olive Press.” It was the place where olives were crushed and pressed and bruised. It was the place they were broken to release precious oil.
And that is why I so dearly relate. I know the pain of my heart being crushed within me. I can understand the agony of my soul being pressed and broken. And I know you do too.
But God does not waste our brokenness. He uses it to release something beautiful.
The disciples were afraid the woman’s broken jar and perfumed oil were a waste. But Jesus demonstrates that in Him, brokenness is never wasted.
Brokenness feels like crushing. It can be full of pain and pressure. But when we can gasp out of the agony of our own pain, like Jesus, “Not my will but Yours be done.” there is an anointing that’s released into our lives. The anointing of supernatural wholeness, first deep inside, than poured out, can gush forward to bless, heal, warm, nourish and refresh -not just for us, but for others. (See John 7:38)
Yet if we don’t let ourselves be broken before God, its painfully possible our sin will break us down instead.
In Scripture, those who resisted brokenness usually lived to regret it. Judas is a prime example. Somewhere along the way he had become a lover of money. It was after he saw the “wasted” alabaster jar of perfume that he made his final decision to betray Jesus. He immediately snuck off to make a deal with the chief priests to betray Jesus for 30 pieces of silver.
After Jesus died, Judas was sick with regret. He threw the money back and ran off to hang himself. What would have happened if he first had taken his struggle to Jesus and poured out His heart, crying, “Here is my brokenness, Lord, my mess, my pain! Help me! Not my will but yours be done!”
Of course we deeply struggle when circumstances are painful. Our souls feel the agony of being crushed within us. But the lesson of the alabaster jar, the Garden of Gethsemane, the Last Supper and even the betrayal of Judas, is simply that brokenness before God is not to be feared. With God, brokenness is not the end of the story, but the beginning.
Jesus died on the cross. But that wasn’t the end. He rose from the grave.
In the Kingdom of God, brokenness is the road to wholeness.
Getting broken before God about our sin, our heartache, our pain, our inadequacy, our struggle brings healing.
This is the way of the Cross. Jesus was utterly broken. His body was crushed and bruised and torn and pressed. But out of His brokenness came resurrection life and through it the healing for our brokenness.
His blood flows over our lives, anointing with forgiveness, healing, hope and help.
One day, in the middle of the toughest trial of my life, I cried out to God in agony, “Why do I have to go through this, Father? Why can’t you take this trial from me?” His still small voice whispered in my heart, taking me right back to the Garden of Gethsemane, “Without this crushing, child, my anointing oil could not flow from within you.” And when I caught God’s heart, to release great purpose in the middle of pain, I knew that:
God wastes nothing.
May you lean into the will of the Father and trust Him, even in the most difficult of trials. May all your broken places be made whole in His healing Hands. Amen.