March 21, 2016

Holy Week: A Scripture Journey

John 12:1-8

Jesus Is Anointed at Bethany

(Matthew 26.6-13; Mark 14.3-9)

1Six days before the Passover, Jesus went to Bethany, the home of Lazarus, the man he had raised from death.2They prepared a dinner for him there, which Martha helped serve; Lazarus was one of those who were sitting at the table with Jesus.3 Then Mary took a whole pint of a very expensive perfume made of pure nard, poured it on Jesus' feet, and wiped them with her hair. The sweet smell of the perfume filled the whole house.4One of Jesus' disciples, Judas Iscariot—the one who was going to betray him—said,5“Why wasn't this perfume sold for three hundred silver coins and the money given to the poor?”6He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief. He carried the money bag and would help himself from it.

7But Jesus said, “Leave her alone! Let her keep what she has for the day of my burial.8 You will always have poor people with you, but you will not always have me.”


Lord, draw me closer to you as I meditate on your Word.


There are four very powerful moments in this story.

First is the fact that Jesus was visiting the home of a man he had raised from death. Just by standing there, Lazarus was a strong statement about who Jesus was.

Take a deep breath and imagine the scent of perfume that filled the room. Mary’s anointing of Jesus would have been shocking—and impossible to ignore.

In that context, Judas says exactly the wrong thing. His greed-based comment is countered by the appreciative statement of Jesus.

Everything comes together when Jesus talks about his burial. In the home of a man who had already been buried once, Jesus is lovingly prepared for his own burial, with a sweet-scented extravagance that the selfish thief just doesn’t get.


What extravagant act of devotion could you offer Jesus? A song? A work of art? A gift to the needy? A lengthy time of meditation?