Wednesday, April 4, 2012


This week as I have been working on the devotionals and studying about the events of the week leading up to Jesus’ crucifixion, I have been moved deeply.  But it’s the kind of moved that leaves you feeling a little disturbed.  That is ok.  We need to be a little disturbed about what He endured for us.  Reading about what Jesus did his last week here on earth, who He was with, and especially the last 24 hours of His life, have really made Easter different for me.  I already knew these things.  I have seen the Passion of the Christ, but I have chosen to put the crucifixion out of my mind and focus on the resurrection.  After all, it is a much more positive aspect of Easter.  You may also choose to ignore the truth of all that Christ went through for you, but the facts remain and it is good for all of us to face this at some point in our lives.  And when you do, may it have as a profound effect on your life as it has on mine. 
Imagine actually being there as one who loves Jesus and see him experiencing this all in person.  One such person was an unnamed woman who came to a house where Jesus was eating.  She came for the sole purpose of anointing His head with precious oil. 

Jesus was in Bethany at the house of Simon, a man who had suffered from a dreaded skin disease. While Jesus was eating, a woman came in with an alabaster jar full of a very expensive perfume made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on Jesus' head. Some of the people there became angry and said to one another, "What was the use of wasting the perfume? It could have been sold for more than three hundred silver coins and the money given to the poor!" And they criticized her harshly. But Jesus said, "Leave her alone! Why are you bothering her? She has done a fine and beautiful thing for me. You will always have poor people with you, and any time you want to, you can help them. But you will not always have me. She did what she could; she poured perfume on my body to prepare it ahead of time for burial.  Mark 14:3-8

This woman's act of devotion will be the last expression of tenderness that Jesus receives before Judas sneaks away to betray him.  How precious that anointing in Bethany must have been to him.  He could see how much the woman loved him, He could see that she recognized him as Messiah, and He could see that she knew that He was going to die.  She was anointing the body that would not otherwise be anointed before burial.  The text says that the woman broke open the jar which shows that she was generous in lavishing the jar's entire contents on Jesus.  But it also speaks of the occasional practice of anointing a corpse and then breaking the oil flask and placing it in the coffin. Unlike the other disciples, this unnamed woman understood the way of the cross.  Unlike the other two disciples who are key characters in Mark's story of the Passion - Judas, who betrayed Jesus, and Peter, who denied him - this unnamed woman understood the Gospel.  She knew that Jesus was the Messiah and that "for the sake of the joy that was set before him" Hebrews 12:2 - the joy of redeeming humanity and all creation, the joy of reuniting you and me with our loving Creator - He had to endure the cross.  This unnamed woman represents all of us who have felt blessed and strengthened by Jesus' presence and who long to offer back some expression of blessing in return.

He did suffer excruciatingly for you and me but He did it because He loves us so much.  It is good to remember now and then exactly what price was paid for our salvation.  This woman paid an extraordinary piece of respect to Christ as she thought nothing too good to bestow upon Him to do Him honor. Christ must be honored with all we have, and we must not think to keep back any part of the price. Do we give him the precious oil of our best affections?  Let Him have them all; love Him with all your heart.
Scripture to Claim:
But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed. 
Isaiah 53:5

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