Week 1: I can prepare for Easter
Jesus is Anointed at Bethany
“Aware of this, Jesus said to them, ‘Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me.’” Matthew 26:10-11
Read: Matthew 26:6-13, Mark 14:3-9
Take a minute to think about the word “preparation.” Does it make you feel excited? Happy? Anxious? Sad? Well, that obviously depends on what you’re preparing for! Are you getting ready for something exciting like a graduation or the long-anticipated birth of a child? Or are you preparing for a funeral or a medical test result for you or someone you love?
The Bible story this week involves two very different people preparing for an event: the death and resurrection of Jesus. They didn’t quite realize the importance of what they were preparing for, as they didn’t have full awareness of who Jesus is or what He had come to accomplish, but we can learn a lot as we reflect on the different ways they prepared.
The woman longed to show her love and devotion to Jesus. She had no social status (far from it!), no position of influence, no standing in the eyes of anyone who mattered. But she offered an extravagant gift, worth a year’s salary in that day. A year’s salary! Think about how many things you would be willing to give up a year’s salary for. You can probably count them on one hand. She spent that on her Savior on an amazingly sacrificial gift in a moment of incredible devotion.
Judas, on the other hand, appears to have felt betrayed – some have speculated that Jesus hadn’t brought about the military and political victory that Judas and others had hoped for from their Messiah. We can’t be sure what motivated Judas, but we do know that his preparations involved getting ready to turn Jesus in to the religious leaders who would ultimately crucify Him. He betrayed the Savior with a kiss.
Judas responded to Jesus out of self-protection. The woman responded with sacrificial love. We are faced with the same choice every day. The more we get to know Jesus, the more we can respond as the woman did. We find that we can trust His heart and that there is no safer choice than placing ourselves at His feet, offering all that we have and all that we are. The woman knew that. Even though she wasn’t sure what was to come, she trusted and honored her King.
“No devotion to Jesus can be excessive.” (Evangelical Commentary of the Bible)
Questions to think about:
- Are you currently preparing for an event? Are your feelings about that event joyful or fearful? How can you involve Jesus in your preparations?
- How can preparing our hearts for an event in advance help us to be more ready or more open to what God wants to accomplish in our hearts?
- What do you have to offer Jesus today? Its monetary value does not matter. He is ready to receive any offering from His children. He sees, knows, and loves your heart.