Sunday, October 28, 2007

The anointing of Jesus

Just who is the woman who anoints Jesus with perfume in Mark Chapter 14? In John Ch 12 she is identified as Mary, the sister of Lazarus and Martha. Who was Simon the Leper of Bethany, in whose house the anointing took place? Google Simon of Bethany and you find the interesting suggestion that Simon the Leper and Lazarus are one and the same. We have the English meaning of Lasar house - a hospital for lepers - taken form the story of Lazarus and Dives. We then have the interesting possibility that the Lazarus of that parable really did refer to Simon Lazarus of Bethany. Perhaps that parable rather than being just a made up story, was pointedly referring to certain well known characters. Dives just means a rich man so it could have referred to any rich man in Jerusalem. But there was one rich man at whom it might be pointed - Caiaphas. Like Dives, Caiaphas had five brothers.

I found these ideas on a Christadelphian website and I certainly don't endorse them. It is just this speculation about genealogies that detracts us from the message of the passage by arguing about its provenance.

This is well known story, which Jesus prophesied would be told whenever the Gospel is preached.

The message is first that we should do what we can.

Mary couldn't preach like Peter or write like Paul. She didn't even have the domestic skills of her sister Martha. What she had was a pint of pure nard. This exotic perfume was expensive and was also used for anointing dead bodies. At the feast in Bethany she gave it to Jesus.

Jesus doesn't expect us to be what we are not. Gladys Aylward was very short, unprepossessing, and had short, straight black hair. (Not at all like Ingrid Bergman in Inn of the Sixth Happiness). God had called her to China. No Missionary Society endorsed he call, so she saved her wages as a servant and found the cheapest way to get there - third class on the Trans Siberian Express. When she arrived she found that the women of China were just like her; short, unprepossessing, and with short, straight black hair. She gave what she had to Jesus and made a difference.

We don't need to envy the skills of others; God has given us certain gifts and it is these that we bring to Him.

If we do that He will regard it as a beautiful thing.


Anonymous said...

This post is a gift to me and it is reinforcing that the Lord has something for me here.
On 10/18 I attended a work party where we did karaoke. I'm not much of a singer. I just watched those who had the courage to sing. A number of the other employees are professional musicians with a ton of talent. My human nature started thinking stuff like, "I wish I could do that...". Then somewhere in there this passage came to me with the thought that we all have our talents and gifts. He is the audience that I should be looking towards. My talents are not glamourous. Even so, they are given by Him and can be used to glorify Him. Smile.
Actually, I had not really looked at this passage in this way until that day and have been thinking about it ever since then. To see similar thoughts written in such a short time span by someone all the way in England is a blessing to me.
I am doing chemo right now and this is such an encouragement to me and reminder of His Presence.

Liz from MN

Terry Hamblin said...


It is He who does the extraordinary things with our ordinary contributions