This is called Holy Week, and the very name begs us to consider holiness itself.
Holy Week is intended not only to remind us of Jesus' journey in that climactic week, but to prepare ourselves again to follow him.
Prepare yourself now in the words and thoughts ahead.next >
But some were there who said to one another in anger, “Why was the ointment wasted in this way? For this ointment could have been sold for more than three hundred denarii, and the money given to the poor.” And they scolded her. But Jesus said, “Let her alone; why do you trouble her? She has performed a good service for me. For you always have the poor with you, and you can show kindness to them whenever you wish; but you will not always have me. She has done what she could; she has anointed my body beforehand for its burial. Truly I tell you, wherever the good news is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in remembrance of her.”
Mark 14:4-9next >
Jesus was getting ready too, preparing himself for the difficult days ahead. He seems to have known where they would take him. The woman who anointed him with oil was preparing him for burial, he said, when some friends objected to her action.
The oil, some said, could have been sold to help the poor. “The poor are always with you,” Jesus responded, and of course they must be cared for. But this was a special moment, a unique time. He added: “When the good news of God’s love is told again and again, this woman will be remembered.”
He was right. Today, as we walk through Holy Week, let us remember what this nameless woman did for Jesus. Then let’s care for the poor, who are still with us.
Bill Leonardnext >
O God, give me strength to learn from Jesus, and help wherever I can. Amen.next >
Prepared as you are,
Follow now your Lord,
Who goes ahead of you
To make ready the way,
To show you how to walk
This dark path.
Trust him to know where he leads you.
Bill Leonard is a professor of Baptist studies and church history and religion at Wake Forest University, where he is the founding dean of the School of Divinity.