Holy Week Story – Monday

"A Woman Anoints Jesus" by Floridian artist Jan Richardson, 2006.

For the next five days I will be reflecting on parts of Holy Week Story.

Today’s reading is Matthew 16:1-16.

Jesus said to his disciples, “You know that after two days the Passover is coming, and the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified.” (Matt 16:2)

Plans and plots abound. The climax of God’s plan to rescue and restore humanity is near.  Jesus knows this and has tried his best to prepare his disciples.   The chief priest and religious officials are also planning their own intervention to arrest Jesus by stealth and kill him.  They think that now they must take control of the situation, but they do not realize that only Jesus is truly writing the story.  Even Judas, Jesus’ friend and betrayer, is not working in total independence.  He is part of a bigger plot.   This does not excuse his betrayal, but rather demonstrates God’s power to weave a new thing from our human foibles and sin.

The only person, besides Jesus, who acts with compassion and understanding, is the woman who anoints Jesus with costly perfume (Matt 16:6-13).  Her name is never given, but she prepares Jesus for his tomb. The disciples object to her apparent extravagant waste of money, but Jesus defends her.  By pouring this ointment on my body she has prepared me for burial. (Matt 16:12).

 I think, at times, I am like every character in the story.  I can be the religious official that tries to control how and when God will act.   I can be the disciples, misunderstanding how a brother or sister in Christ is serving God’s kingdom.   I can even be Judas, betraying a friend in little acts of bitterness or disappoint, whether in thought, word or deed.   And then, by the grace of God, I can also experience the woman’s joy of generosity in giving God a special gift.    The Holy Spirit can use .

 Prayer starter: Lord Jesus, turn my heart away from control, betrayal or manipulation to being generous towards You and Your people.

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