Tuesday, April 16, 2019
Preparing Our Hearts For Easter: What Matters Most
Many significant events and discourses took place during the final week of Jesus’ earthly ministry. Of those events, there is one occasion that adorns the pages of Biblical history with a quiet and persistent demonstration of the truth of the cross and the resurrection: Jesus anointed in Bethany. Many scholars consider that there was only one anointing interpreted differently with each of the Gospel records; others consider the anointing in Galilee (as recorded by Luke) and the occasion in Bethany (recorded by Matthew, Mark, and John) as two separate events.
Matthew and Mark’s Gospel place the chronology of the anointing at Bethany two days prior to the Passover. The murderous plots against Jesus had begun to grow, and during this brief period, Jesus stayed at a home in Bethany that belonged to Simon the Leper. While at Simon’s house, accompanied by Lazarus and his family, a woman (most likely Mary, the sister of Lazarus) broke open an expensive bottle of perfumed oil at the cost of a year’s salary and anointed the feet and head of Jesus. This anointing symbolized something very significant in reference to the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. Obviously, she received criticism as the disciples viewed this act as a waste of resources (supposing that the monetary value of the oil could have cared for the poor). But, the opposition was quieted as Jesus spoke in defense of the woman’s actions:
Jesus said, “Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me. When she poured the perfume on my body she did it to prepare me for burial.” (John 26:10-12)
These words of Jesus definitely point toward the crucifixion, as Jesus Himself proclaimed the significance and necessity of His death; the oil symbolized the preparation of Jesus and His body for the sacrifice (although at the time the woman may not have known the full significance).
I tell you the truth, wherever the Gospel in preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her. (John 26:13)
This is an amazing statement; this woman’s actions are remembered today! Jesus affirmed her actions in such a powerful way because the anointing demonstrated her love and honor for Jesus and announced His identity as Savior of the world.
Today, will you consider your posture before Jesus? How much does your heart resemble the heart of this one who anointed our Savior? I often feel many resemble the disciples who were eager to announce the importance of doing “good things” – caring for the poor, for that in itself is a significant act of Christian love. Yet, sometimes our desire to do the good things can actually interrupt or distract from the best thing: a posture of love and worship for our Savior. If your faith is in Jesus, He is YOUR savior. Have you quieted your heart long enough from the busyness of all the good we do to truly develop a posture of love and worship before Him? What a great way to prepare for Easter!