Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Day 42: Jesus anointed - John 12:1-8

Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.

But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.” He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.

“Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. “It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. You will always have the poor among you but you will not always have me.”

Spices and ointments were quite costly because they had to be imported. Frequently they were used as an investment because they occupied a small space, were portable, and were easily negotiable in the open market. Mary’s offering was valued at three hundred denarii (v. 5) approximately a year’s wages for an ordinary workingman. Perhaps it represented her life savings. […] Wiping his feet with her hair was a gesture of utmost devotion and reverence. The penetrative fragrance of the ointment that filled the house told all present of her sacrificial gift
With whom can you identify more?

What can you learn about the progression of sin from Judas who “helped himself” to the communal money and “was later to betray” Jesus?

What is the fundamental difference between Mary and Judas as revealed by his objection to what she did?

What is the only thing that can explain Mary’s outpouring of this expensive perfume? Why is this appropriate in light of what Jesus was about to do (Vv. 23-24)?

How might things have changed for Judas if he had been honest about what was going on in his heart at this point?

Almighty God, grant that in the midst of our failures and weakness we may be restored through the passion and intercession of Your only-begotten Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen

Schnorr von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS used by permission for private and congregational use
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 Biblica. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved
Collect for Monday of Holy Week – Lutheran Service Book © 2008 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis

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