Today is day four in our journey. This is the day my heart usually starts to ache for Jesus. Like Jesus, we too know, what is coming; yet how can we possibly understand?
Today, Wednesday, is a little bit lighter for Jesus. For a run down on what was done this day, take a look at Mark 14: 1-9:
14 After two days it was the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. And the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might take Him by trickery and put Him to death. 2 But they said, “Not during the feast, lest there be an uproar of the people.”
The Anointing at Bethany
3 And being in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper, as He sat at the table, a woman came having an alabaster flask of very costly oil of spikenard. Then she broke the flask and poured it on His head. 4 But there were some who were indignant among themselves, and said, “Why was this fragrant oil wasted? 5 For it might have been sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor.” And they criticized her sharply.
6 But Jesus said, “Let her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a good work for Me. 7 For you have the poor with you always, and whenever you wish you may do them good; but Me you do not have always. 8 She has done what she could. She has come beforehand to anoint My body for burial. 9 Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her.”
Please see a previous post of mine, titled, Holy Week: Day 4 to get more on the timeline as there is some debate on whether these events happened on Tuesday or Wednesday.
Today, the anointing at Bethany has touched my heart.
The Gospel is standing in front of her and what is her response? She anoints Him. She worships Him. That is the right response to Jesus as He marches towards His death, burial, and resurrections for my sins. And that is why her story will always be told.
What is your response to Jesus? Do you worship Him…truly worship Him?
Let us look at what the Gospel of John 12: 18.
Now, here is a powerful “reenactment of sorts” of the story found in John taken from The Anointing of Jesus at Bethany by the Junia Project.
It was as if I heard the words of old. “Arise. Anoint him. This is He.”
As Samuel before me, I thought, “What better place than in the midst of his brothers?” I glanced around at his friends; Lazarus, Simon Peter, James and the others.
“Two days” echoed through me. Did they not hear him? He told us that in two days, he dies. He foretells his death and his kingdom in the same sermon. How could the two relate? And yet, I have seen him bawl life into my dead brother. Can he raise himself? Two days marks something terrible … and wonderful. Death and a kingdom. A king in death. I could not see him go to his kingdom unprepared. My sweaty hand gripped the cool stone of the vial.
Meeting his eyes, I rose and pushed my way around prostrate bodies reclining at the table. I pulled the alabaster jar from the folds of my robe. His eyebrows quizzed me as I uncorked the bottle, turning its end up and letting all the contents slip out into his hair. The brown liquid dripped down his temples and began to gather in his beard and plop onto his shoulders. A warm, earthy musk invaded my nostrils. My hand cupped his cheek, smearing the nard. His features relaxed for a moment, eyes closed and head upturned toward heaven.
Did I expect loud cries of “Hail the king?” Well, yes. Wasn’t it obvious he deserved a proper anointing? Instead, silence buzzed my ears. Then, cries of outrage.
“Stop it!” Judas shouted. “Why waste this perfume? It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages and the money used in a more noble fashion!”
“Mary, what are you thinking?” Peter frowned and tried to grab the vial from my hand. My silent action, condemned. My motives, questioned. Shame spewed out over all the wrong things, threatening to invade me. Had I heard wrong? I pulled my hand away.
“Leave her alone!” Jesus scolded. “Why are you giving her a hard time about this?” He reached for my hand once more and squeezed.
To me he said, “This is beautiful.”
To the others, “She has listened to me and knows I am soon to die. This perfume is for my burial. You have a lifetime to do good for others, but your time with me is limited.”
Two days. I glanced around hoping the others would query him further. But they all bore the dull look of stubborn incomprehension. Neither hearing, nor understanding.
Jesus pressed my hand again in reassurance, and his words brought great comfort to me. “Believe me. What you have done will be remembered and admired wherever the Good News is preached. All over the world!” He smiled.
Two days is not the end, then. But a beginning. By my own hand, he is Messiah: God’s Anointed.
Is this the same story told in Matthew and Mark?
Well, if the experts do not know for sure, I certainly can’t say for sure. John’s timeline is certainly off from Matthew and Mark. There are differences. There are similarities. But, the message is essentially the same.
“Let her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a good work for Me.”-Mark 14
“Let her alone; she has kept this for the day of My burial”-John 12
This woman gets it. Jesus says he is going to be killed. His time is drawing near. This woman gets it. Those who are closest to Him obviously do not.
This woman knew she was doing a good thing. Yes, she probably assumed she would be praised by all the others. She was not. But she was praised by Jesus and that is all that truly matters.
We must seek the approval of God and not the approval of men. We must do what God calls us to do even when, and especially when, it will cost us something.
It will come as no surprise to those who know me that I have been called legalistic. I lean hard on obedience to the Word of God. I tend to see matters in black and white, wrong and right. My daughter holds to the same. Two days ago we had a conversation that is really hitting home today. She was sharing with me and her fiancé her struggle as a bible college student to keep her mind open to others’ religious views. Not on matters of salvation, but rather how those interact with the Holy Spirit and such.
She doesn’t want to be so set on how she interprets the Bible that she “troubles” those earnestly seeking Jesus.
She doesn’t want to be one of these men in Matthew, Mark, or John who tried to shut down an act of love or worship simply because of a lack of understanding.
My daughter is wise beyond her years (almost 20) and I am truly blessed to have her (check out her new blog Miss Proverbs 31)
Jesus has told his disciples repeatedly of what is to come. Either they simply didn’t believe it or they din’t want to believe it. I believe they didn’t want to believe it. They were probably still on a high from Palm Sunday. They may have still wanted to believe Jesus and themselves were on their way up. They were finally going to get the recognition due to them.
Once again I am reminded this Holy Week of the importance of seeking and wanting Jesus. We should want the healer, more than we want the healing. We should seek the savior more than the saving. We should want the giver more than we want what He has to give. We should desire Jesus more than anything.
When we seek the things of Jesus rather than Jesus we are walking a dangerous path. Judas is a great reminder. It is today, Holy Wednesday, that Judas made a pact with Satan.
Mark 14:10-11 (NKJ):10 Then Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve, went to the chief priests to betray Him to them. 11 And when they heard it, they were glad, and promised to give him money. So he sought how he might conveniently betray Him.
Be Blessed and Be a Blessing,