There is a great hymn whose first line goes like this: “I have decided to follow Jesus; no turning back, no turning back.”
This week we have decided to take those words literally. We are going to follow Jesus on the journey of his last week on earth; the most important, impacting week that was ever lived on this planet.
Each day take a little time (20-40 minutes) to read each passage and devotional thought. Reflect on the questions at the end of each section and allow the Holy Spirit to speak to your heart. Receive the truth, even it if hurts, because He gives it with love. Allow Him to transform your thinking, your agendas, your outlook and your passions. By doing so, you are following the path of Jesus and will experience a greater measure of life that you never thought possible. It will be a week that will change your world.
Giving and Receiving a Beautiful Thing (Mark 14:3-9)
3 While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head. 4 Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, “Why this waste of perfume? 5 It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages[a] and the money given to the poor.” And they rebuked her harshly. 6 “Leave her alone,” said Jesus. “Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. 7 The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. 8 She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial.9 Truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”
It was scandalous. A woman enters a room and approaches Jesus as he was reclining. She opens a jar of $1,000 an ounce perfume, pours it over his head and starts massaging it into his scalp. Even more scandalous was that Jesus allowed her to do it! In this highly conservative, Middle Eastern culture, this public act was 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 thankfulness and commitment to Jesus – total. 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. Jesus never turns down a truly beautiful thing.
Jesus invites you to give 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? What are some beautiful things that happen to you everyday?