God's love has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit...Romans 5:5
Sandwiched between two hostile, death scheming situations, we witness the tender love of a woman, literally and profusely poured out upon Jesus.
The story 'sandwich' gives us a picture of the vacillating motivations of our own hearts. We are reminded again that a heart full of fear and shame will be motivated by anger and rage. Hurtful and destructive actions will rise out of it. A heart full of love and grace will be motivated towards acts of love, mercy, compassion, reverence and worship.
Jesus did nothing to stop the scheming to put him to death, but he did stop those who berated the woman for “wasting such expensive oil.” “Leave her alone,” he declares. Emphatically and unequivocally, Jesus defends her vulnerable, passionate heart motivated by love and grace. He prophesies that we will remember and discuss the woman who lavishly poured out love.
And now, we remember again.
Mark 14:1-11 (NLT)
It was now two days before Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread. The leading priests and the teachers of religious law were still looking for an opportunity to capture Jesus secretly and kill him. 2 “But not during the Passover celebration,” they agreed, “or the people may riot.”
3 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.
4 Some of those at the table were indignant. “Why waste such expensive perfume?” they asked. 5 “It could have been sold for a year’s wages and the money given to the poor!” So they scolded her harshly.
6 But Jesus replied, “Leave her alone. Why criticize her for doing such a good thing to me? 7 You will always have the poor among you, and you can help them whenever you want to. But you will not always have me. 8 She has done what she could and has anointed my body for burial ahead of time. 9 I tell you the truth, wherever the Good News is preached throughout the world, this woman’s deed will be remembered and discussed.”
Judas Agrees to Betray Jesus
10 Then Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve disciples, went to the leading priests to arrange to betray Jesus to them. 11 They were delighted when they heard why he had come, and they promised to give him money. So he began looking for an opportunity to betray Jesus.
For Prayer and Reflection:
What phrase or word spoke to you as you listened/read the text?
Who do you identify with in the story? Journal your perspective.
As you listen to Jesus' response, what feelings or reactions rise up within you? Have a conversation with Jesus about them.
Reflect on when you have experienced this lavish type of love poured onto you from Jesus. Savor it again in your prayer. How do you want to pour it back onto Him?