An Act of Devotion and Love
Devotional

An Act of Devotion and Love

March 14, 2023

An Act of Devotion and Love

“While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head…“Leave her alone,” said Jesus. “Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me.” Mark 14:3,6

According to the dictionary, the word anoint means to “rub or smear with oil, typically as part of a religious ceremony” (Oxford Languages). We see anointing all throughout the Old Testament when kings, priests and prophets are appointed. God called Moses to anoint Aaron and his sons as priests. Samuel was directed to anoint both Saul and David as king. Elisha the prophet was anointed to succeed Elijah. In each instance, anointing with oil is an outward symbol that God has set them apart for a specific task. In the New Testament “anointed” language expands as Jesus is revealed as our anointed king, priest, and prophet, set apart to proclaim the good news (Luke 4:18). Mark 14:1-11 tells another story of anointing in the days prior to Jesus’ death.

In this scene, Jesus is attending a dinner with the disciples, when a woman approaches him. Calmly, without concern for the others, she anoints Jesus by pouring an entire flask of oil over his head. The oil she used was costly and could have been worth up to a year’s wages. Upon witnessing her action, the disciples are indignant, proclaiming “what a waste”. In their minds she is not being a good steward of her resources, but that is not how Jesus sees it. Instead, he declares that she has done a beautiful thing. Jesus sees her action as one of great devotion and selfless love.

By anointing Jesus, the woman recognized him as king. She understood who he was and out of her deep love for him she gave all she had. We know that God is worthy of all we have to offer, but sometimes, like the disciples we are hesitant. We hold back part of ourselves from God, when all he wants is our wholehearted devotion. As we go through this week, reflect on how you respond to Jesus, our anointed king, priest, and Messiah. Do you find yourself being like the disciples, fearful of what wholehearted devotion may look like? What holds you back from giving your whole self to God? How can you be more like the woman this week?

Prayer: Lord, we are humbled by the gift that the woman in this story offered you. She gave you all she had and did so out of love. We know that you are worthy of our worship and you deserve all of us. As we continue to approach Easter, move in our hearts. Reveal the things that may be holding us back from giving ourselves to you. Strengthen us to follow the woman in giving you all we have to offer. We pray this in the name of Jesus, our anointed king, Amen.

Blessings in your week,

Makalah Scholten
Spiritual Care Coordinator

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