Scripture Reading — Mark 14:1-11
“She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial.” — Mark 14:8
Earlier this month we talked about how Jesus doesn’t always fix things now; instead, he prepares the way for eternal life. Mark builds on that point here. Jesus is the heavenly King who came to fight a spiritual battle for our sake.
“Christ” means “Anointed One.” Prophets, priests, and kings were anointed by God in the Old Testament. Jesus was anointed at his baptism (Mark 1:9-11). Great triumphs were expected of him. And in the story we read today, Jesus was anointed, as he put it, for his burial. The anointing perfume for burial was extremely expensive, and this act seemed out of line to others who were there.
“Whoa, there! Think of the poor!” some of the others cried. They were expecting Jesus to be a king focused on the problems of the present world. But Jesus had a different plan for fixing the world’s problems. “The poor . . . you can help . . . anytime you want,” Jesus said. As for the woman who anointed him, he added, “She did what she could.”
The difference is striking. One woman, moved by God, took the action she felt called to do. And Christ praised her for it. The others said their hearts were moved to help the poor, but instead of taking action for the poor, they blamed her for not doing so. God used her small action to prepare for his ultimate action. What good did the others’ inaction do?
Dear Jesus, what can I do? Should I help the poor? Should I pour out a year’s wages as an act of worship? Tell me what I can do, and give me the courage to do it—for you. Amen.