(This week is a special 7 day [yes – Saturday and Sunday, too!] blog devotional that gives perspective on Holy Week. I encourage you to read the passage listed before reading the devotional blog – Doug)
Wednesday (Mark 14:3-19)
Theme: Giving and Receiving a Beautiful Thing
It was scandalous. A woman of ill-repute enters a room and approaches Jesus as he was reclining. She breaks an alabaster jar worth several months wages. The $1,000 per ounce perfume oozes out. She scoops it up and pours it over his head, massaging it into his scalp. She starts weeping and starts to wash his feet with her tears, while constantly kissing them at the same time. What was even more scandalous was that Jesus allowed her to do these things to him! In this highly conservative, Middle Eastern culture, this public act would be considered highly offensive. Not only did it seem to contradict Jesus’ attitude towards helping the poor and denouncing excessive wealth, the woman’s intimate gesture and Jesus’ acceptance of it also raised the eyebrows of everyone in the room.
But Jesus calls her act “a beautiful thing.” It was beautiful because it was a costly gift (it was probably her wedding dowry). It was her expression of her deep gratitude and total commitment to Jesus. It was beautiful because it was given unconditionally. There were no strings attached. Once it was poured, it was gone. It was beautiful because it was given at a great risk. People could (and did) misunderstand her intentions. They condemned her for it. But it didn’t matter because it was not about them or her. It was about Jesus. And Jesus knew that. As he was about to face the most lonely path to the Cross – a path filled with denial, betrayal, insults, injustice, suffering, separation and death – Jesus welcomed this tender gesture of extravagant love. It reminded him that his task would be the most ultimate gesture of extravagant love of God to a lost world. Jesus embraced this beautiful thing. It gave him strength to do the most beautiful thing.
Jesus invites you to be a part of beautiful things. When was the last time you truly did something beautiful? Notice how some reacted to the beautiful thing: judgment, resentment even betrayal (Judas). How do you receive beautiful things? List some beautiful things that have happened to you recently.