Sometimes when I’m reading about Jesus walking the earth, I can think of a series of scripted events… somewhat precise and orchestrated…. everyone has their parts, maybe even predictable. I can tend to not be surprised….. “oh, I know this story…yes, okay, I know what happens here; my imagination can be put to the side.”
Well, as I was reading the story of Jesus going to dinner with Martha and Mary and Lazarus…after Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead… I began to think, “wow, that must have been a real scene”. In John 12:1-9, it says:
“Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. There they made him a supper; Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those at table with him. Mary took a pound of costly ointment of pure nard and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the fragrance of the ointment.But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (he who was to betray him), said,‘Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor’, This he said, not that he cared for the poor but because he was a thief, and as he had the money box he used to take what was put into it. Jesus said, “Let her alone, let her keep it for the day of my burial. The poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me.” When the great crowd of the Jews learned that he was there, they came, not only on account of Jesus but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. So the chief priests planned to put Lazarus also to death, because on account of him many of the Jews were going away and believing in Jesus.” (John 12:1-9)
Wow, talk about a scene ! First of all Jesus, Mary, Martha, Lazarus, some of the apostles were sitting around having dinner…but this is after Lazarus had died and was raised to life….wow. Do you think someone said, “gee Laz, what was it like being dead and wrapped in a shroud….” Did anyone say anything … maybe a glance and a smile….”
Next Mary, obviously overwhelmed with gratitude and the greatness of the moment, anointed Jesus with this costly ointment (300 days wages, maybe $20,000 or more) She was not counting the cost… wonderful generosity.
Next you have the continuing saga of Judas, the thief and betrayer of Jesus, acting out his greed…. what did every one think of Judas… in truth probably other’s eyebrows were raised at the cost of this gift. You have Jesus defending Mary… beautiful tender care for Mary.
The town shows up and the chief priest continue plotting to kill Jesus and now Lazarus. Yikes, talk about having a quiet meal together. In 6 days, it’s Passover, the last Supper, and the beginning of Christ’s passion. Incredible ! You could write a book about this one meal… what a terrific movie you could make only about this one meal. Amazing !
Well, may the Lord anoint our imaginations during the rest of Holy Week to see with new eyes the greatness of the events. So much was going on in the lives of the people during these days, in addition to the eternal salvation being won for us by our Lord Jesus. Holy Spirit, let us see with new eyes the events of Christ’s passion and death. Let our souls be strengthened and brought to a new generosity, even like Mary’s costly gift, that was freely given to our Lord.