16th March 2018

In Memory of Her 

And truly, I say to you, wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her.
Mark 14:9 (ESVUK)

What was so remarkable that it would be remembered wherever the gospel would be preached?

It’s quite an amazing story, and it was recorded in the gospel accounts of Mark, Matthew and John. A few days before Jesus himself washes his disciples’ feet and institutes the sacrament of the Lord’s supper, both his head and his feet are anointed with fragrant oil. Anointing with oil was common at festival times, and it was done for hygienic, medicinal, cosmetic and religious purposes. It happened also with the embalming of the dead.

Simon the leper, who had probably been healed by Jesus, hosted a dinner in Jesus’ honour, and during it a woman took an unopened vial of expensive plant-based oil and poured it over Jesus’ head and feet, and then dried his feet with her hair. She was Mary of Bethany, someone who had followed Jesus and listened to what he said. She was the sister of Martha, and of Lazarus, whom Jesus had raised from the dead to temporary, physical life.

Judas Iscariot led the disciples in objecting, saying this was a waste of money that could have been given to the poor, but Jesus took a different view. This, Jesus explained, was a prophetic act, in anticipation of his death. “’For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you want, you can do good for them. But you will not always have me. She has done what she could; she has anointed my body beforehand for burial,’ he said” (verse 8). The disciples had not yet fully grasped that Jesus would be killed within a week. Was Mary the only one who understood this, who had listened to and believed what Jesus had said? And this anointing was an act of faith on her part, her participation in his sacrifice to come?

I wonder, had we been there, watching what Mary was doing, would we have stood in judgment and complained, or would we have been moved by what she did, seeing it as a kind of preparation for his death?

This week let’s remember Mary of Bethany, and what she did for our Lord.

Great Father in Heaven, as we read of the events that surrounded the glorious sacrifice and resurrection of your Son, thank you for what Jesus did for us, and thank you also for the faith of people like Mary of Bethany. In Jesus
’ name.

Study by James Henderson 


About the Author:
James Henderson is the National Ministry Leader for Grace Communion International in the UK and Ireland.

Local Congregation:
You are welcome to attend any of our local congregations in the UK and Ireland. For details of your nearest local congregation, check on our website, www.gracecom.church under the ‘Churches’ tab, or ring +44 (0)1858 437099.

Or email: admin@daybyday.org.uk

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