In Matthew 26:6-13, we have the story of a woman who, grateful for forgiveness and the gift of salvation, sacrificed what could very well have been her most valued possession to honour her Saviour.
Now when Jesus was in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper, There came unto Him a woman having an alabaster box of very precious ointment, and poured it on his head, as He sat at meat. But when His disciples saw it, they had indignation, saying, To what purpose is this waste? For this ointment might have been sold for much, and given to the poor. When Jesus understood it, He said unto them, Why trouble ye the woman? for she hath wrought a good work upon me. For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always. For in that she hath poured this ointment on my body, she did it for my burial. Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, there shall also this, that this woman hath done, be told for a memorial of her.
Jesus honoured that woman for her faith. And His statement is very true - every time you read the Gospels, you read the account of her sacrifice. I believe John 12:1-8 is an account of the same event. Both of these accounts mention this event that occurred in Bethany just before Jesus’ final Passover. The book of John gives us this woman’s name: Mary of Bethany (Lazarus’ and Martha’s sister). John 11:2 It was that Mary which anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick. Mary’s name was written down in the eternal Word of God; her name is preserved forever as a memorial to her and an encouragement for others.
In Joshua 10:13 and 2 Samuel 1:18, we have the mention of a book called the book of Jasher, which means upright. Some historians wrote down the names and accounts of some of Israel’s leaders. These books were not inspired of God, and therefore the record of them has been lost over time, but it was important to honour these leaders in future generations, and to remind others of what these godly men did. The names of Joshua, Saul, Jonathan, and others, were written down for all at that time to read or learn about. Later, we have record of the names of David’s mighty and valiant men. (See 1 Chronicles 11-12) Their names are written down for the service they have done for their king. Are our names written down for the service we do for our King?
In the books of Kings and Chronicles, we have mention of several books that recorded the acts, faith, and wisdom of other godly kings, and we have accounts of some less than godly kings! (I wouldn’t want to be remembered for the evil I do!) 1 Kings 11:41 says, And the rest of the acts of Solomon, and all that he did, and his wisdom, are they not written in the book of the acts of Solomon? This phrase is one we see over and over in these books: And the rest of the acts of …, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?
I love the passage in Malachi 3:16-17 that says Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon His name. And they shall be Mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up My jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him. When true Christians gather together and fellowship with one another about their Lord and Saviour, He remembers and writes their names down in a special book of remembrance, as those that have honoured Him. Jesus Christ places great value on our sweet meditations of Him. May all our meditations be pleasing to the Lord! Psalm 19:14 Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in Thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.
In the book of Hebrews (chapter 11), we have the names of many Old Testament saints who honoured the Lord through their acts of faith. We are able to see how these believers lived by faith, and how some even died in faith. Their names were written down in the inspired Word of God, to honour them and exhort others to be likewise faithful. The Lord remembers those who are His!
I believe that the canon of Scripture was closed at the end of the first century, when the Apostle John penned the last line of the book of Revelation. For the sake of this illustration, if the Lord was still writing Scripture, would your name be written down? Hebrews 10:38 says Now the just shall live by faith… Are you living by faith? Are you serving by faith? Are you seeking Him (in prayer) by faith? Would the Lord have something good to say about the way you lived your life in His name? Or would He be sadly disappointed with you as He will be with many at His return? Luke 18:8 …Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth?
But more important than having your name written down in a book of remembrance: Is your name written down in the Lamb’s Book of Life? This book is the record of all the names of those that have placed personal faith in the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, and His death on the cross for their sins. Philippians 4:3 And I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellowlabourers, whose names are in the book of life.
There are seven references to Lamb’s Book of Life in the book of Revelation (3:5; 13:8; 17:8; 20:12, 15; 21:27; 22:19).
Revelation 3:5 He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before My Father, and before His angels. This is a promise to believers in the Church Age, that if they overcome through personal faith in Jesus Christ, their names will be written forever in the Lamb’s Book of Life. (See 1 John 5:4-5) This verse teaches eternal security for believers when we consider that it is not a threat, but a promise to keep their names in this book. In the dark ages, the Catholic Church excommunicated true Bible believers and threatened them with removing their names from their church rolls. Because they taught that salvation was found only through “The Church” (meaning the Catholic Church), when someone left the Catholic church (voluntarily or involuntarily), they were threatened with the proclaimed loss of their salvation. But we see here that whether or not someone’s name is written on a church roll, whether their name is written down in Heaven is what is most important! Luke 10:20 …Rejoice, because your names are written in heaven. Even if the whole world rejects us as believers, we just need to believe 2 Timothy 2:19: Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are His. Our Heavenly Father will never forget who His children are!
In Revelation 17:8, the Bible teaches that true believers’ names were written down in the Lamb’s Book of Life from before the foundation of the world! Jesus Christ knew before He ever created the world who would respond to His precious gift of eternal salvation.
Revelation 20:11-15 And I saw a great white throne, and Him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
At the end of the Millenium, when all the unsaved are judged at the Great White Throne Judgement, the basis of judgement will be whether someone’s name was written in the Lamb’s Book of Life or not. As it turns out, no unsaved person’s name will be written down there. There might be a blank space where their name could have been. Then they will be judged for all the evil acts, words, and thoughts that they have ever committed. All these evil works will be written down in God’s books.
But we need not face this judgement! The Bible teaches that when we turn in repentance and faith toward the Saviour, believing in His death for our sins, in His burial, and His literal physical resurrection, then He wipes out the record of all our sins! They will no longer be written down, but our names will already have been written down in His book of the saved.
Has there ever been a time and place in your life when you realized that you were a sinner before Almighty God? The Bible teaches that All have sinned. (Romans 3:23) Have you ever repented of your sins (which means acknowledge to God that you have sinned against Him, and turned from your sins), and turned toward the only Saviour who paid the complete penalty for your sins? Acts 20:21 says Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.
It is not enough to simply turn from your sins, you need to receive the Saviour and be born again through faith in Him. (See John 1:11-13 and 3:3, 7) The Bible teaches that we cannot earn our way to Heaven through our good works, but we must receive salvation as the free gift of God. It is something that we could never earn. Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. (See also Titus 3:5) Our righteousness is as filthy rags in God’s sight. (Isaiah 64:6) We need the perfect righteousness of the sinless Son of God, who shed His blood to pay for our sins. (See 1 Peter 1:18-19) When we realize that we cannot earn salvation, but we accept His gift, we are made children of God that very moment. All those that have ever trusted in Jesus Christ for salvation (or those who will ever trust Him), have had their names written down for eternity in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
Revelation 21:25-27 And the gates of it (the New Jerusalem) shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there. And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it. And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life.
I sure hope so. I’d love to see you in Heaven someday!
By Jerry Bouey
60 Day Devotional Series: Numbers In The Bible