Holy Week: Day 4

She Prepared Him for His Purpose.

Mark 14:3-9

Meanwhile, Jesus was in Bethany at the home of Simon, a man who had previously had leprosy. While he was eating, a woman came in with a beautiful alabaster jar of expensive perfume made from essence of nard. She broke open the jar and poured the perfume over his head.
Some of those at the table were indignant. “Why waste such expensive perfume?” they asked. “It could have been sold for a year’s wages and the money given to the poor!” So they scolded her harshly.
But Jesus replied, “Leave her alone. Why criticize her for doing such a good thing to me? You will always have the poor among you, and you can help them whenever you want to. But you will not always have me. She has done what she could and has anointed my body for burial ahead of time. I tell you the truth, wherever the Good News is preached throughout the world, this woman’s deed will be remembered and discussed.”

Once you’ve known me for a little while, you’ll probably figure out that speaking publicly is a challenge for me. Singing and reading scripture is fine because I’m just speaking someone else’s words, but I always relate the most to Moses and his insistence that maybe Aaron or some other leader could do a better job of speaking to Pharaoh than he ever could. But like Moses and like this woman in Bethany, truly encountering Jesus means that there’s no room anymore for holding back.

When this woman felt the prompting to come into the same room as the LORD and to offer him what was likely her most costly earthly possession, she didn’t just uncork it and dab a tiny bit on His head. The Scripture says that she broke her jar completely open and poured everything out before Him. Even though others in the room started to criticize her and to scold her, she had nothing to fear – because Jesus stepped in. Not only did the LORD Himself tell her mockers to leave her alone, He reassured the woman that in just doing what she could, her offering allowed for His purpose to come to pass.

Jesus knew all along that not only would the woman feel prompted to offer Him what was probably the most valuable thing that she had, but that it would be the very perfume that was used to prepare a body for burial. Her sacrifice was a vital part of preparing Christ for His death on the cross, but most importantly, his triumphant resurrection. So I take away this: It’s not about what we do or don’t do in front of other people; it’s about what we do or don’t do in front of God. If what we offer Him is all that we have, and we’re holding nothing back, we have done what we could. Our surrender means that we have allowed the Spirit to work in and through us to accomplish His will. I hope that encourages you as much as it’s encouraged me this season.

Lizzie Whipps

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