Saturday Jesus Anointed in Bethany

The traditional scriptural events of the last week of Jesus’ earthly life. Traditional is not necessarily the actual daily events that occurred during the last week but a way of commemorating the major significant events of that all-important week. Tradition provides a scriptural focus for each day of the week.

  1. Saturday – in Bethany at the home of Lazarus, Mary anointing Jesus feet
  2. Sunday – Jesus entrance into Jerusalem
  3. Monday – Cleansing of the Temple
  4. Tuesday – Teaching in the Temple
  5. Wednesday – Judas; scheme: Let’s make a deal
  6. Thursday – Last supper and prayer in Gethsemane
  7. “Good” Friday – Trial and crucifixion
  8. Saturday – Victorious preaching in “hell”
  9. Easter Sunday – Resurrection


Saturday: Jesus Anointed at Bethany

Mary or Judas? Are you generous in your sacrifice of love to Christ? Mt 26:6-13, Mk 14:1-9, Jn 12:1-11

In reading the 3 gospel accounts of the Saturday events we find different contrasts portrayed in the level of devotion shown to Jesus.

Mary, with a great act of lavish love, pours very expensive perfume on Jesus. Matthew and Mark record the perfume was poured on his head and John reveals it was poured on his feet as well. John adds a further detail of Mary using her hair as a towel – a scandalous act for a woman to uncover her head and to “let down her hair” in the presence of men. It is an act that exposes Mary’s love – unbridled and unconcealed – an act that would be misunderstood, embarrassing and offensive to “righteousness” that cannot see the intent of the heart.

For some of the disciples, that act is a “waste” of precious money … a small dab would have been sufficient – but emptying the whole jar created such an overwhelming overpowering sensation to the olfactory nerves – perhaps causing eyes to tear up and producing coughing fits or even gagging because the perfume was so FILLLLLLING the house. I can see the guests coughing, gagging, sneezing, and stumbling over each other as they escape out of the house, wiping their eyes. I can hear the loud objections and complaints and course laughter at the offering given.

And even more than the ridicule of the disciples was the outright murderous hatred that FILLLLLLLED and consumed the heart of the religious leaders. John reveals they began to plot even the death of Lazarus. The plot was conceived and conducted covertly in the highest echelons of Jewish religious and political power.

However, Mary’s devotion was not surreptitious or limited or secret or partial. Was it a “fragrance” or a “stink” that FILLLLLLLED the whole house?

John,s gospel pinpoints Judas as voicing the objection to the use of perfume but Matthew and Mark reveal that the disciples (maybe all or a majority of them) thought the same.

And just as Jesus rebuked the disciples from telling children to stay away, and again in wanting fire to fall on Samaritans – Jesus again had words of rebuke for the disciples in their criticism of Mary. The disciples were clueless once more. Jesus however understood her heart.

Jesus recognized the act as an expression of belief in Jesus’s words. She alone understood that Jesus was going to his death – just as he had repeatedly said. Jesus reveals the significance of her devotion – she was preparing his body for death – a death that would not be pretty or dignified. The family might not be allowed to prepare the body after death. She is preparing his body before hand – she really gets the full reality of what Jesus was facing.

Her act shouts – a desperate cry of rebellion and defiance against norms, traditions and proper social customs. Her act is a pledge of extravagant emotional and total of commitment giving of herself in loving blessing – she could not give in any other or in any greater way – a whole years wage given in one moment – love broken open.

Her act also shouts at the “waste” of Jesus life – such a violent death by false accusations and an innocent man willingly going to the cross. What recourse did this lone woman command to get the attention of the clueless men who surrounded him? It is as if she is shouting at them, “do you not know what Jesus is facing? You think that you are on the edge of a rebellion and the ascension and the crowning of the Messiah … you think he is your ticket to positions of greatness – NO, NO, NO!!! He is going to die a violent death.”

I wonder dear friend, do we get what Jesus thinks as a waste? It was not a waste to do the Father’s will – even if others did not understand.

I also wonder …. Is our expression of love to Christ calculated, measured and evaluated based on the appraisal of others around us – whether or not they will find it acceptable? Are you seeking to avoid scorn and ridicule in your gifts of service and generosity given out of love for Christ? Do you “play it safe” or do you love with abandonment?

The idea is captured in the song broken and spilled out. Steve Green – Broken and Spilled out –

One day a plain village woman
Driven by love for her Lord
Recklessly poured out a valuable essence
Disregarding the scorn
And once it was broken and spilled out
A fragrance filled all the room
Like a pris’ner released from his shackles
Like a spirit set free from the tomb

Broken and spilled out
Just for love of you Jesus
My most precious treasure
Lavished on Thee
Broken and spilled out
And poured at Your feet
In sweet abandon
Let me be spilled out
And used up for Thee

Lord You were God’s precious treasure
His loved and His own perfect Son
Sent here to show me
The love of the Father
Just for love it was done
And though You were perfect and holy
You gave up Yourself willingly
You spared no expense for my pardon
You were used up and wasted for me

Broken and spilled out
Just for love of me Jesus
God’s most precious treasure
Lavished on me
You were broken and spilled out
And poured at my feet
In sweet abandon Lord
You were spilled out and used up for Me

In sweet abandon, let me be spilled out
And used up for Thee


Prayer: Father God, may my life be broken and spilled out for you.


God bless you, Pastor Dan

Douglas Leslie