A little over 100 days ago we celebrated Christmas and sang songs about three kings commonly called wisemen. We sang the verse that speaks of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Strange gifts for a baby to be sure but significant nonetheless. Theologians have proffered that gold could help Joseph and Mary care for their newborn baby, frankincense alluded to Jesus and his kingly nature, and myrrh pointed toward his preparation for death and burial. Fast forward those 100+ days and we're beginning the final week of Jesus earthly life.
"While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head." (Mark 14:3, NIV)
Huh!? This unnamed woman approached Jesus with expensive perfume and proceeded to offer her gift in sincere appreciation. The account in Mark 14 was followed by many in the house grumbling about the gross waste of resources. They argued the perfume could have been sold and money given to the poor. Ironic in that they had the Messiah, healer, teacher, and Rabbi in their midst and a woman recognized his significance. She spared no expense to honor and glorify Jesus.
We later find out from John 12:3 this Mary was sister to Martha and Lazarus. Mary, the one who sat at Jesus feet and listening intently to the Master, while the dinner party was being prepared. Mary who told Jesus, "If only you had been here my brother would not have died." (John 11:32) Now, it was Mary who honored Jesus with an anointing. Theologians surmise this was another preparation of Jesus for his impending death and burial.
I marvel at certain biblical characters who seemed to discern so much more about Jesus than others. They seemed to have a deep connection with Jesus while others walked beside the God man with little awareness of His power. It isn't without notice that those who knew Jesus to be someone special offered gifts that had great cost and significance. Which brings me to a mirror moment. What do I offer Jesus that will cost me something or perhaps all I own? Do I?
I often roll Jim Elliot's quote over in my mind and challenge myself to consider devotion to Jesus.
"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose." Am I fully connected to and willing to follow Jesus wherever he goes? Even to the cross? What do I offer Jesus? Are those things offered that are extra, peripheral, and auxiliary in nature? Or, are they the deepest, very best, and most expensive parts of me that I offer?
(Sunrise at Orchard Hill - Millerstown, PA)
As we move through Holy Week and going forward, it will be a new conscious decision for me to pour out my best worship and adoration on Jesus who is the author and perfecter of my faith. How about you?