Lent Daily Devotionals: Mark 14

Reading: Mark 14
“Sweet Perfume” by Penelope Goode

Mark 14 tells several stories.

There is the account of Jesus, wracked with sorrow, praying in the garden while His friends are meant to be keeping watch. Three times, they fall short and He finds them sleeping.
Next, the story of Peter, who, having been identified as a disciple after Jesus’ arrest, denies knowing Him. As Jesus prophesied during Passover, this happens not once, but three times.
The most harrowing tale is that of Judas’ betrayal: one of the twelve nearest to Jesus gave Him up for personal gain.

Juxtaposed against these stories, however, is the beautiful act of the woman (known from other Gospel accounts to be Mary, sister of Martha and Lazarus) anointing Jesus with sweet perfume, despite protestations of the disciples. It was expensive – an exotic oil from India in a fine alabaster jar, which she broke and poured out over her Lord. She alone, of all the friends around Jesus in this time so near to His death, gives Him something precious without being asked. Seeing a service she could perform, and, seemingly knowing that His time among them was limited, blesses Him with this selfless act.

Father, during this season in which we focus on Jesus’ sacrifice, may we be like this woman, who gave without regard for herself, focused as she was so intently on the One who was giving everything for all of us. May we not sleep or betray, but give to Him that which is precious.