I love the women in Mark 14.
The women who gives abundantly, adoringly, extravagantly to anoint Jesus for his death.
‘As Jesus was reclining at table, a woman came with an alabaster flask of ointment of pure nard, very costly, and she broke the flask and poured it over his head. There were some who said to themselves indignantly, “Why was the ointment wasted like that? For this ointment could have been sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor.” And they scolded her. But Jesus said, “Leave her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you want, you can do good for them. But you will not always have me. She has done what she could; she has anointed my body beforehand for burial. And truly, I say to you, wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her.”’ Mark 14:3-9
I wonder that she gives so much, so crazily, to a dying man. She makes me want to read on in Mark; wondering at what she has understood, meditating on the significance of Jesus’ death. Here’s (some of) what Mark says about Jesus’ death:
Jesus’ death is the death of the Passover Lamb (Mark 14:12-25)
Jesus’ death is to serve many (Mark 10:45, Mark 14:24)
Jesus’ death is totally in his control (Mark 14:12-25)
Jesus’ death is the fulfilment of multiples prophecies (Mark 14:21, Mark 14:26)
Jesus’ death is the start of the new covenant (Mark 14:22-25)
Jesus’ death is when he bears the full anger of God at human sin (Mark 14:32-42)
Jesus’ death is true emotional anguish (Mark 14:32-42)
Jesus’ death is the death of an innocent, dying instead of the guilty (Mark 14:53-65, Mark 15:6-15)
Jesus’ death is a lonely death, even isolated from the Father (Mark 14:27-72, Mark 15:34)
Jesus’ death is the only option, no-one else can deny themselves and endure this wrath (Mark 14:27-72)
Jesus’ death is the coronation of a king (Mark 15:1-32)
Jesus’ death is real physical suffering (Mark 15:16-39)
Jesus’ death is when he judges the old, and starts a new, better way of relating to God (Mark 15:38-39)
Jesus’ death brings Gentiles into God’s kingdom (Mark 15:39)
Jesus’ death is not the end (Mark 15:42-16:8)
I wonder that she pours her all out for a dying Jesus. His teaching, his miracles, they are palatable to me. But his death? Well, I can agree in my mind that it is necessary, but I find it so difficult to love, to wonder at, to adore.
She pours out her all, she treasures her dying king. She spurs us on, in our meditations on Jesus’ death.
Why not take sometime this Easter to mediate on Jesus’ death: his experiences and his achievements. Ask him to help you go beyond understanding it intellectually. Ask him to help you love his death, to adore it, to be willing to pour out your all in worship of it.
‘Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all.’