Thoughts to help you pause, appreciate and experience more deeply Jesus’ final week on earth in human form. And thus, experience Easter Sunday more fully. As you read these, try to put yourself in Jesus’ place: how would you feel, what would you be thinking, how would you act? Then thank Jesus for all He went through for us, for you.
As I wrote yesterday, there is nothing recorded about Jesus’ last Wednesday, so let’s look at the final events of Tuesday.
THE CONSPIRACY OF THE JEWS
Think how Jesus felt - the Jews were the people God had chosen in the past, and Jesus was God. Now, the very people He had chosen were conspiring to kill Him. Think what it would have been like feeling that hatred and knowing of that plot as Jesus was teaching and working with His followers.
Now the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread were only two days away, and the chief priests and the teachers of the law were looking for some sly way to arrest Jesus and kill him. “But not during the Feast,” they said, “or the people may riot.” Mark 14:1–2 (NIV)
A GREAT GIFT
At the end of Tuesday, Jesus was dining with a friend, when the sister, (name was Mary), of Lazarus, whom Jesus had raised from the dead, sacrificed an alabaster jar of pure nard. It was an extremely costly perfume, worth ABOUT A YEAR’S WAGES!! Think about how much you make in a year. Worth that much. WOW! In a moment of time Mary expressed her deep gratitude and deep love for Jesus by breaking an expensive jar and using that perfume to anoint Jesus before His death. It must have overwhelmed Jesus to be loved and honored so profusely.
While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of a man known as 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. Mark 14:3 (NIV)
Have you ever had a grand moment deflated by someone’s selfishness? Just as Jesus is being honored by this great sacrifice, some of the guests essentially said, “Jesus is not worth it.” Even some of His disciples. Rather than “wasting” this on Jesus, they claimed the perfume should have been sold for a year’s wages and given to the poor. In reality, at least one of the disciples (Judas) was stealing money from the group’s funds and took the loss personally. Others were being so practical they lost the significance in the extravagance. It begs the question: “Is Jesus worth all to you?”
Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, “Why this waste of perfume? It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages and the money given to the poor.” And they rebuked her harshly. Mark 14:4–5 (NIV)
Think how Jesus must have felt. He was the Son of God and about to give Himself to be abused and crucified for these people – to give His all. Though the gift was extravagant by human measures, it was NOTHING compared to what He did for us! Think of the sadness and hurt He must have felt as the moment was sucked away and He had to scold those present.
“Leave her alone,” said Jesus. “Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial. I tell you the truth, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.” Mark 14:6–9 (NIV)
Jesus knew it was coming, but being fully human, it must have sliced His heart out! That one of His closest friends, a man with whom He had spent 3 years was holding the knife that would stab Him in the back. Judas Iscariot went to the chief priests offering to betray Jesus. The Jewish leaders finally had a way to capture and kill Jesus without starting a riot. And Jesus knew what Judas and the religious leaders were doing. Oh, the pain it must have caused Him!
Then Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve, went to the chief priests to betray Jesus to them. They were delighted to hear this and promised to give him money. So he watched for an opportunity to hand him over. Mark 14:10–11 (NIV)
Ponder on these things and thank Him as you think of Jesus’ last week.
Boldly, Pastor Herb