Day 45

Wednesday: Jesus Is Anointed for Burial

from the Lent 2020: His Love Endures reading plan


Matthew 26:14-16, Mark 14:3-11, Luke 22:3-6, Zechariah 11:12-13

These past few weeks have changed the way I look at the world. While my wife and I have always considered ourselves amateur preppers, we weren’t expecting the speed with which a virus could wing its way around the world and affect our everyday lives.

When we were building a deep pantry with plenty of shelf-stable breakfast foods and slowly buying enough batteries to power a small village for a weekend, we were trying to be ready, just in case we lost electricity for a few days or an ice storm in wintertime left us unable to leave our neighborhood. But we can never plan for everything that comes our way, as these last few weeks have made clear.

There are some things we can plan for, and there are some for which we cannot. And then there are those times when we inadvertently plan for something we didn’t see coming. Mary of Bethany loved Jesus, but she didn’t know that in just a few days His lifeless body would be wrapped and buried in a garden tomb. When she grabbed that alabaster jar and broke it, she was acting out of love and devotion; she wasn’t thinking about a funeral. When she poured the perfume of nard over Jesus’s head, she must have breathed in the heavy fragrance, a scent normally reserved for nobility and the wealthy. She wasn’t aware that Jesus would soon be “crowned” King of the Jews with an arrangement of cruel thorns and a faded purple robe borrowed from a Roman soldier.

Mary’s heart was undivided. That perfume poured out in extravagance might as well have been her own life. She loved Jesus. But without realizing it, she was also taking part in the most important event in all of human history. Jesus said, “She has done what she could; she has anointed my body in advance for burial. Truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her” (Mark 14:8–9).

We can’t plan for everything, but here’s what we can plan for: the kingdom of God advancing. Someday it will be said, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign forever and ever” (Revelation 11:15). This is the future. This is certain. Therefore, it is never a mistake to pour ourselves out for the Lord, never a waste to give Him everything we have. Mary may have looked like the fanatic that day at Simon the Leper’s home, but in reality, she was the only one who understood the times, even if she didn’t know precisely what was coming.

Written by John Greco

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