Tuesday, August 11, 2009

MkITN XIV, Verses 1 - 11

1. By this time the Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread were only two days away, and the religious leaders and teachers of the law were actively looking for some way to easily and justifiably arrest Jesus and kill him.

2. "It has to be done," they said, "but not during the Festival. If we make our move during an especially holy time like this the people may riot."

3. Meanwhile, in Bethany, Jesus was having dinner in the home of Simon the Leper. After the meal, while he was reclining at the table, a woman came in with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure and rare spikenard. Without asking permission or explaining her actions, she walked up to Him, broke the jar, and poured the perfume on His head.

4. Some of the guests who witnessed this were indignant, and said to one another, "Why this extravagant display, and waste of such expensive perfume?

5. This rare and costly substance could have been sold for as much as (or more) than a whole year's wages, and the money be given to the poor!" And they railed on the woman without restraint.

6. Jesus lashed out at them immediately, saying sharply, "All of you...leave her alone! Why are you bothering her...rebuking her for doing such a beautiful thing to me?

7. The bottom line is this...if you're really that concerned with helping the poor, you can relax...this isolated event isn't going to keep you from trying to wipe out poverty, altogether! But the truth is, no matter how much you help the poor, you will always have the poor with you...and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have Me, at least not in this physical incarnation.

8. She did what she could...acting out of what she knew to do. You can't even grasp the symbolism of this, but she poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare me for My burial.

9. I don't want to overstate the importance of this gesture, but, truth be told, wherever the Gospel is preached throughout the world in the future, what she has done will also be told in memory of her."

10. But that event was a turning point, especially for Judas Iscariot. As soon as this happened he went to the religious leaders to betray Jesus to them.

11. And this was the opportunity for which they had waited, so they were delighted to receive him. They also promised to give him a significant amount of money, so he began to watch for an opportunity to hand Jesus over to them from that moment on.


Avatar said...

V. 7..."this isolated event isn't going to keep you from trying to wipe out poverty, altogether."

Cool...there is so much here to be mined. I like how, smack in the middle of the context of "well, IF you really care about this" vs. "you can help them whenever you want", MkITN forms a balanced vision (she's placing her riches where she is led) and also gently reshapes the misplaced concern (translate: manipulation) to hint at actually caring to help the poor...at another time.

Lord, bless this paraphrase beyond measure!

karl cobos said...

...and it is still being spoken of in memory of her.

I haven't looked into it yet, but how did that actually prepare him for burial? He says that it did... is it something about that particular perfume, or is it something else?

Erik said...

“8. She did what she could...acting out of what she knew to do.”

How we act out of what we know to do, regardless of what anyone else know or understands. That is the essence of The Spirit. It simply takes place, sans social, political, religious, standards. It simply is done, chips fall where they may. In my own opinion, chips only exist because of the silliness of social, political, and religious foolishness.

V10. – The turning point for Judas. He was given the final confirmation by Jesus to go ahead and complete the assigned mission. Judas was singularly focused from that point in.

V3 - Without asking permission or explaining her actions, she walked up to Him, broke the jar, and poured the perfume on His head. “ -- That to me is the most fun, no permission asked or any explanation given, just doing it because it is what is to be done. Of course, Jesus understood.

That is an example of our authentic selves, simply to do who we are. Authenticity is understood in life, relationships, business, mentoring, and existence. It simply is, sans drama.

Amen always.

Mystic said...

Karl...yes, there was a combination of perfume oils and spices used to anoint one for burial and spikenard was a part of it. I believe others were frankincense and myrrh--two of the gifts given to Jesus at his birth...he actually did come in among us preparing to leave.

Thank you Lord! No one can match what you did at Calvary (nor do they need to) but better yet (greater still) is what you did for us when you returned! Hallelujah! Glory to God in the highest!

Goodnight (Good Morning) and Blessings Blog Fam!

PS Avatar...I think this paraphrase already is...do you agree? ;-)

karl cobos said...

Good morning Bishop...blessings on your morning!

Yes, I will seek to be my authentic self today, doing what I know how to do, regardless of others judgement.

Izumi/JOY said...

What I enjoy about v.3 is the entrance of the woman with the perfume jar. I just read how spikenard is used medicinally for the treatment of rashes and wrinkles. (interesting how God would write a woman's entrance into the leper's home with such a gift) Reminds me of Eph. 5:27.

The point that it was a woman breaking the stone vessel seems literal and metaphysical. Seems to have symmetry with Scriptures relating to the matrix.

She released the precious. Her perfume pervaded His tabernacle, rejoiced His heart, offered sweet soul incense, and anointed Him for atonement.

She was a lamplighter, fulfilling Psalm 119:105, and Matthew 5:15.

Since Jesus often spoke in parables, verses 4-11 remind me of Matthew 12:20, and how the Lord might have described His own destiny.

Love v. 7's, "at least, not in this physical incarnation", and v. 8's, reference to the symbolism of worship.

What did she know to do? Give Him her best? Would it have pleased the dinner guests if she had formed a committee; sought their approval before she christened Jesus?

What might she have announced? "I will not offer to God, that which cost me nothing."?

Was it the money issue that bothered Judas? Or, her intimacy with God?

Anonymous said...

Love this place. Izumi/Joy got to the bottom of what bothered the religious leaders the most including Judas. Her intimate connection with God allowed her to transcend traditions of protocol such as getting someone's permission. I am sure that Simon the leper didn't mind at all that his house smelled of spikenard rather than decaying flesh. I am also sure though that here Simon would have better been referred to as Simon who used to be the leper. None the less that precious spikenard was a prophetic offering to cover the smell of dying flesh. It was God's way of saying to the situation through the woman that no matter how stinky things get He is always on the scene to cover us with His sweet perfume. This is sweet reading, Bishop. I will do what I know to do today.

Anonymous said...

Did it ever occur to anyone that if everyone just did what they know to do then there would be no poverty?

Bishop Jim Swilley said...

I'm loving your insightful and well-expressed comments here, bloggers...really good stuff...

Brenda said...

She did what she could, acting out of what she knew to do. That jumps out a me for so many reasons. I see that as a form of Worship and that's what I know to do worsip Him, which means giving him my all. That's why each time I come, I will never feel right if I don't give. It's just a way for me to worship him and to show CITN that I support you and I love worshipping in such a lovely place. So giving my tithes and offerings is but a small thing for what I am receiving. I get paid once a month and at the end of the month I will say I'm not giving today because I've already exceeded my amount but how can you come into the presence of the Lord and not give. Its all I know to do because when that curtain goes up after the sermon its as If God himself is saying this is what I have prepared just for you, its the most beautiful thing to me. I know people don't really think about that curtain going up but it speaks volumns to me. My daughter thinks that's crazy but she just don't know the cost of the oil in my alabaster box.

Anonymous said...

I’m taking a different direction—
I noticed that people were looking for a way to murder Jesus. He knew he was soon to
face death, but he received this comfort given to him by his heavenly father through this
woman’s actions.
How I am blessed by this at this time:
I am using the passwords at my work (which I have to use a dozen times per day and I have to change very often)
“ Joy”

This is my way of declaring that I have Joy and Love.
But many times I notice, I am under deadlines, pressure, then I get anxious, and
feel awful.As I type these in, over and over againg, I am declaring Joy and Love is mine.
Even if I feel like I’m going to die!! I do feel that awful at times.

So I see this in the Christ being a precious mentor: Jesus received this act of love and comfort offered to him by this woman and blessed her, even though he was actually facing death.

On another lever, the level of loving Christ-- This reminded me of a friend of a group of mine. We knew he hand a terminal tumor. After our group got together one night, for some unconventional reason, we gave this person a foot rub, while another had this person’s head in their lap. This person did die, but I will never forget that night. I know it was eternally comforting. This passage brought me to tears when I could relate this to a real event in my live.
And don’t tell me Jesus did not have human emotions about facing death!! I imagine he needed some special affection, facing death, especially since his own disciples where in denial about it and I am sure gave him no comfort at all. Like Bishop said, we read the same passages over so often, at times we do not really ‘get’ them—so new translations and paraphrases are great.

And of course He conquered death!!

And so do I

Halleluiah, What a Savior!
(Old hymn I love)

Anonymous in North GA

SCRIBE said...

Had the woman not come and made a decision before hand to break, pour, and spill out her very existence as a sacrificial offering unto God, withholding nothing-- preparing Him for burial and resurrection, then would the prophecy have been fulfilled? In her actions to give the most valuable commodity that she had for a purpose greater than she, the wheels were set in motion for Judas to take his rightful place in the chronicles, that the process would escalate, thus bringing Christ to the Cross, then to resurrected life for us all! Wow!

Oftentimes, that which we possess and hold dear may seem as if it only has meaning to us, yet is representative of something so much greater than we could ever conceive. Her broken alabaster box and pouring out of her livelihood (lifeblood, savings, earnings, nest egg, emergency fund, representing hard work and costly substance) could serve as a lesson to us all that in order to receive something more, pour out that which we already have into someone else, or invest into the purpose and destiny of others.. then how much greater shall we receive as we RELEASE the meaningful, valuable, precious contents of our life. On one hand, we may very well desire to hold on to it all, yet if we feel a prompting to let it all go / give it away, or to walk away regardless of how painful it may be, we have given God the opportunity to show us that which far exceeds what we originally had to let go of. Amen.

If and when it costs us all that we have and hold near and dear, then IT HAS TO BE in the plan of God for us. In our "death experiences" and becoming detached from what we thought defined us, made us, validated us, GOD creates the extraordinary... Resurrection Life in us and through us to empower and bless so many others.

Avatar said...

Mystic, Yes!

This may be TMI, but the genesis of that prayer was something I remembered from chapel services: "Lord, bless the reading and hearing of these words". What was in my spirit was the "after publication" world-wide impact. But, when I previewed, I realized for anyone not inside my head it could read like I was a bit full of myself. So I changed it.

And yes, absolutely, I agree.