Monday March 29- Already Ready- Women@ the tomb

Mark 16:1

When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, bought spices, so that they might go and anoint Him. 

Why did these ladies go to the tomb?

A quick lesson in ancient Jerusalem burial.

When a person dies, he is placed in the family tomb. This is a room carved as a cave, where there are many shelves where the bodies would be placed.

The bodies would deteriorate and then the family would go back in the tomb and place the bones that remain in a box called an “ossuary.” The person who is fresh dead would be soaked in spices so they wouldn’t stink.

The women went to the tomb on Easter morning because they wanted to do the proper burial of Jesus. You see, he died so quickly, before sundown on Friday, the beginning of sabbath, that they didn’t have time to anoint him with the spices.

But, in one sense, it wasn’t necessary. Mary, the sister of Lazarus, already prepared Jesus for burial. Remember?

She poured expensive perfume over him. I think of this when I think of the agony of Jesus on the cross. Even in the most cruel excruciating pain, Jesus knows he is the the anointed one. The Messiah. The awful smell of his own death is overpowered by the most expensive perfume in the world.

But, he still dies. So, they come to the tomb.

Me

What is a good smell that stays with you in your memory? Revisit this when you have stress today.

Thursday February 25- What does God have for you to do?

Gratitude

Spend five minutes focusing on a couple of things you appreciate and thank God for them.

Word

Mark 14:6-9

6‘ Leave her alone,’ said Jesus. ‘Why make trouble for her? She has done a wonderful thing for me. 7 You have the poor with you always; you can help them whenever you want to. But you won’t always have me. 8‘ She has played her part. She has anointed my body for its burial, ahead of time. 9 I’m telling you the truth: wherever the message is announced in all the world, the story of what she has just done will be told. That will be her memorial.’

Content- Perceiving God at work

Jesus gives insight into what is really happening with the precious ointment. Mary is getting him ready for his burial. She doesn’t consciously know this, but Jesus does. This is confirmation for Jesus that God really is behind the events that are happening to him during Holy Week. 

We have to realize Jesus is a human being, as well as divine. Paul gives us the best statement on this with his song from Philippians 2.

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 

Jesus emptied himself of his divinity when he is on earth. The miracles and such are as a human perfectly in tune with the Holy Spirit. He doesn’t know Mary is going to do this anointing. Such an amazing act of worship must have been very encouraging. His confidence in what is coming is built up and he declares that for such a case, Mary is fulfilling a destiny God has in store for her and it will be known eternally. 

Me

God has a purpose for you in his plan. He has something in mind for you to accomplish which is one reason why you are still alive on earth. What is God preparing you for? 

Wednesday February 24- Extravagant Worship

Gratitude

Spend five minutes focusing on a couple of things you appreciate and thank God for them.

Word

Mark 14:4-5

4 Some of the people there grumbled to one another. ‘What’s the point of wasting the ointment?’ they asked. 5‘ That ointment could have been sold for a year’s wages, and given to the poor.’ And they were angry with her.

 

Content- Worship is personal

We enjoy criticizing other people when it comes to the money they spend. If they are going into debt, of course it is a concern. But, we criticize people for spending what they do have? When did that all of a sudden become our concern?

In the case of criticizing Mary for anointing Jesus, if you are so concerned about the poor, why not give more of your own money to that cause?

On another level, let’s get beyond the money theme here and realize Mary is anointing Jesus as an act of declaring his worthiness. Worthy enough to warrant a 30-50k dollar gift. It is an act of devotion and gratitude to the one who brings new life into her life. Mary is giving an example of extravagant worship and she is being criticized for it.

What about today? What do we criticize about others when it comes to worshiping Jesus?

Stop it.

We are always going to be wrong.

 

We are trying to tell someone else how they are supposed to show their gratitude to Jesus. We do not have a say about someone else’s heart.  Only God does.

Me

If you attend a worship service this week, imagine Jesus is there in front of you. Imagine he knows what you are thinking. He is and he does. Now, what is he thinking about your worship personally? 

Tuesday February 23- Mary Magdalene

Gratitude

Spend five minutes focusing on a couple of things you appreciate and thank God for them.

Word

Mark 14:3-5

Jesus was in Bethany, at the house of Simon the leper. While he was at table, a woman came up with an alabaster pot containing extremely valuable ointment made of pure spikenard. She broke the pot and poured the ointment on Jesus’ head. 

Content- Quit making stuff up

What do you think of when I say two words?

“Mary Magdalene.”

If you immediately think of a former prostitute who is now Jesus’ friend- “BZZZZZZZZZ” Wrong!

Nowhere in the Bible does it say anything about Mary being a prostitute. She had demons attached to her until Jesus released her from them. That’s it. Not a hooker or a “loose woman” in sight.

Now, Mary Magdalene is an important person in Jesus’ life. She is mentioned about as much as anyone in the New Testament. She also is the first person to announce the resurrection of Jesus. The first evangelist, if you like. But, there still is this “image” problem…

You can thank the over sexualized imaginations of Christians in the Middle Ages for going all “Pretty Woman” on us.

Now, with the woman anointing Jesus with expensive ointment, this is a different Mary anyway. This story is recorded in all four Gospels. In John, we see this is Mary the sister of Lazarus and Martha, a dear friend  of Jesus, as well. 

Me

Pray for our society every time you see a sexualized advertisement today.