All over the world, Jesus followers are walking with Jesus through his last week, through death into life. Circle of Hope shares a literal and symbolic journey together to mark the most important week in history and to be of one mind and heart with Jesus as we share his death and resurrection.

Today’s Bible reading and an excerpt

Mark 14:1-11

She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial. Truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.

More thoughts for meditation

The Gospel of Mark was written to evoke a lasting response in word and deed to the true identity of Jesus. In this wonderfully written scene we see that only one person really gets who Jesus is. Pay particular attention to the responses of those witnessing the action in this story, you might find yourself relating.

The bottle of costly oil was worth about a year’s wages. That’s a lot of money to pour out! Some onlookers thought (and said!) “What a waste! How much good could have been accomplished if only the oil had been sold and the money properly budgeted?” Matthew tells us that some of the disgruntled people were the disciples themselves (26:8).

Judas Iscariot was the designated treasurer of the Twelve and Jesus, according to John’s Gospel. The record of his betrayal of Jesus immediately follows the incident of the “wasted” perfume in Mark and Matthew, leading many to conclude that the two were related incidents. He, representing the disciples’ misplaced priorities, was overly financially minded. And they all failed to realize a person of Jesus’ true stature deserved more than flower petals in water. God-with-us was worthy of even more than this expensive oil!

The unnamed woman responds appropriately to the true identity of Jesus, though His closest followers did not. She was preoccupied with Jesus alone, evidenced by her eagerness to sacrifice such a valuable commodity for Him.

Suggestions for action

If you can make it, tonight at 3800 Marlton Pike is intimate. Jesus is in a house. We gather with him there to experience the perfume and tears and preparation for death.  Jesus is anointed by an unnamed woman whom he honors in opposition to her detractors. We let our hearts rest with Jesus in that bittersweet moment.

From wherever you are, consider this: There are many good things vying for our preoccupation. The disciples were preoccupied with the poor, wanting to sell the oil and care for the poor with the proceeds. What good things threaten to steal your preoccupation away from your Lord? Are you preoccupied with the poor? Your family? Education? Evangelism? The Bible? These are all very good things, but, as Christians, we have only one top priority: the Lord Jesus Christ. Preoccupation with anything else indicates that our priorities, like those of the disciples, need rearranging. Arrange yourself for quite a few minutes to be alone with Jesus – attending to Him and being attended to. Enjoy the intimacy.