Paul writing to the Corinthians wrote that the people drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ. As you know, God commanded Moses thus: “I will stand there before you by the rock at Horeb. Strike the rock and water will come out of it for people to drink.” Christ was broken to give living water welling up to eternal life to you and me.
Your Christian life can never be much of a blessing unless you pass through the phase of brokenness. God not accepting Ishmael as the son of promise and the walk to Mount Moriah with his son Isaac could be termed Abraham’s experience of brokenness. From these experiences he emerged a blessing to others.
Similarly his great grandson Joseph’s road to usefulness and position of influence happened through rejection, being sold and later put in prison unfairly.
King David had to go through a very difficult time of youth. He was definitely not given much consideration by his elder brothers. Later King Saul hunted him. And after David became king he had that unfortunate episode of adultery and murder. Then both of these sins wrecked havoc in his family. Thus this man came to have a broken heart.
And he learned that God does not despise the offering of a broken and contrite heart. The Psalms he wrote during his brokenness experiences continue to bless generations of God’s children.
Peter the Rock is yet another example. Here was a man who was willing to go with Jesus to prison and to death. Yet he denied knowing Jesus. And then the cock crew even as he was speaking. The Lord then turned and looked straight at Peter and Peter then went outside and wept bitterly.
But Jesus had an encouraging word to Peter after the Resurrection. His question to him, “Do you love me?” once more broke his heart but also healed it. Without this experience of brokenness Peter would not have made any impact for Jesus in this world.
When Jesus was anointed at Bethany shortly before His death, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume. Mark records that she broke it and poured perfume on Jesus’ head.
John records: “And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.” The act was condemned by others but Jesus said: “She has done a beautiful thing . . . wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”
Two things need to be noted here. One, only a person who has undergone brokenness in life will dare to break an expensive jar of perfume and waste it on Jesus! Second, the fragrance of a life spreads only when that life is broken. The breaking releases the fragrance that is held within.
In two instances of the Old Testament there is rich symbolism of Christ as related to brokenness: One, incense which was to be burned had to be ground to powder. It is richly symbolic of Christ who was broken for you and me: “He was crushed for our iniquities” and ``It was the Lord’s will to crush him.”
Second, in Song of Songs, the Beloved says of her Lover, “Your name is like perfume poured out.” Jesus’ name is like perfume poured out because He was broken for you!