Mark 14:1-9 (The Message)
In only two days the eight-day Festival of Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread would begin. The high priests and religion scholars were looking for a way they could seize Jesus by stealth and kill him. They agreed that it should not be done during Passover Week. "We don't want the crowds up in arms," they said.
Jesus was at Bethany, a guest of Simon the Leper. While he was eating dinner, a woman came up carrying a bottle of very expensive perfume. Opening the bottle, she poured it on his head. Some of the guests became furious among themselves. "That's criminal! A sheer waste! This perfume could have been sold for well over a year's wages and handed out to the poor." They swelled up in anger, nearly bursting with indignation over her. But Jesus said, "Let her alone. Why are you giving her a hard time? She has just done something wonderfully significant for me. You will have the poor with you every day for the rest of your lives. Whenever you feel like it, you can do something for them. Not so with me. She did what she could when she could—she pre-anointed my body for burial. And you can be sure that wherever in the whole world the Message is preached, what she just did is going to be talked about admiringly."
My old friend Curt Cloninger, the amazing actor and interpreter of scripture, calls the meal Jesus is eating in the scripture above "the next to the last supper." In Curt's brilliant one-man play entitled Witnesses, he plays a fictional character (Abe the Banana Man) who was present at this meal. He used to be unable to speak, he tells us. In fact, he points out, almost everyone there (in Curt's version) was a "used to be." Simon (their host) used to be a leper. Bart used to be blind. Lazurus used to be dead! Curt points out that Jesus most likely ended the party during His speech praising the woman who had anointed His feet with perfume, because He once again announced that He would soon be dead. Now THAT would end a party. The whole evening must have been indicative of the highs and lows of that last week.
We all used to be something before Jesus got hold of our hearts. Some of us still are things that we would rather not be. Holy Week is a wonderful time to let Jesus make you a "used to be" again. He will- if you seek sanctuary in the grace he offers you. Honor him this week (and every week) with your very life.
He Is Risen!