View print-optimized version
Friday, February 5, 2016
Today’s Reading | Matthew 26:6–13
Now while Jesus was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very costly ointment, and she poured it on his head as he sat at the table. But when the disciples saw it, they were angry and said, “Why this waste? For this ointment could have been sold for a large sum, and the money given to the poor.” But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why do you trouble the woman? She has performed a good service for me. For you always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me. By pouring this ointment on my body she has prepared me for burial. Truly I tell you, wherever this good news is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in remembrance of her.” (NRSV)
It’s about to get real serious.
Jesus’ days, leading up to this passage, have included one civil riot in a place of worship, a denunciation of religious authority, threats of destruction and persecution, arguments over taxes, and numerous stories that all seem to end with someone being cast into the darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth. And there is one fewer fig tree in Jerusalem.
As Jesus sits there, the priests are plotting to kill him. His friends are shaky--one is going to betray him, another is going to sell him out, then the Romans are going to get him, and well, Jesus knows how this movie ends, and it’s not pretty.
For three years it’s been do this, do that. Change the water to wine. Feed these people. Cast out these demons. Heal my daughter, my son. Heal me. Raise the dead. “If you’d been here, he’d have lived.” Hearing things like that. Knowing that it ends with him alone, beaten and hung up to die.
Yes, he’s the son of God, but he’s also fully human and sitting there with mortality on his mind, when this woman comes up to him, asking nothing, and does something kind. It’s not pity; pity costs nothing and means less. It’s just kind and amazingly generous. She just does something to take care of him, to show him he’s loved.
If you’ve ever been in a really dark place and received one act of human kindness, you know how powerful that is, how that one small bit of light can sustain you through some very dark times.
It wouldn’t surprise me a bit if this act of kindness helped Jesus get through what was to come. At least someone got something of what it was he was trying to say.
Lord, help us to remember the power of kindness and to give it freely as you have given it to us. Amen.
Written by Rob Koon, Coordinator of Fine Arts
Devotion index by date | I’d like to receive daily devotions by email