A Beautiful Gift - Saturday, Mark 14:1-11
Today we are at the very end of the fifth week in Lent, and we are beginning Mark chapter 14. The chief priests and the teachers of the law are angry with Jesus, and are looking for a way to have him killed. But a woman gives him a beautiful gift, and Jesus welcomes her gesture. He is preparing to die, and she is one of the only people who seems to understand what is happening.
This story happens right before Passover. Passover is the festival that remembers and celebrates the time when God led the people out of slavery in Egypt, and safely across the Red Sea into freedom. I wonder why the chief priests and the teachers are afraid there will be a riot if they arrest Jesus during the Passover festival?
In Jesus's time, men and women did not usually sit together at the main table for feasts. They weren't even in the same rooms. I wonder what it was like for this woman to step into a room full of men, with everyone looking at her, and walk straight up to Jesus with her jar of perfume?
Mark doesn't tell us what this woman was thinking, or any words that she spoke. Can I put myself into her place? I wonder what she was thinking about, or feeling, as she broke open her jar and poured the perfume over Jesus's head?
The perfume the woman brought to Simon's house was very expensive. It was made from a plant grown far away in India, and it cost a whole year's worth of wages. I wonder what moved her to pour this costly gift out, all at once, all over Jesus?
Jesus says that this woman poured perfume on his body to get him ready for when he is buried. What a strange thing to say at the dinner table! I wonder if this woman understood the way that Jesus would die, and that there might not be time to care for his body well when it happened?
Jesus says that "what she has been done will be told anywhere the goods news is preached all over the world; it will be told in memory of her." What this woman did for Jesus was that important. So I wonder why we do not even know her name?
Jerusalem is a city with many twisting alleys, courtyards, and dark corners. It would be hard for the chief priests and their guards to find Jesus without help. I wonder what happened in Judas's mind and heart as he followed Jesus? I wonder why he agreed to help the chief priests find and arrest Jesus?
Today is the last day before Holy Week. Each day, Jesus is getting closer and closer to the cross. As I watch him, is there anything I want to pour out to him, to give him, or to say to him?
Are there any words, or pictures, or moments in this story I want to ask God about right now?
Are there any words, or pictures, or moments in this story I want to carry with me into the rest of my day?
Jesus of Nazareth, son of God: thank you that we have a book filled with your words and deeds. Give us the wisdom and understanding that comes from your Holy Spirit, so that we can know you better and follow you all the days of our lives. In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Amen.