“Leave her alone,” said Jesus. “Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me.”
After Jesus died, his body was supposed to be anointed. That was the custom with dead bodies, to honor the deceased and help keep away the smell of decay. But when a group of women came to anoint Jesus’ body in the tomb (Mark 16), they could not find it! Jesus had risen from the dead.
This helps to explain an important detail in our reading for today. A few days before Jesus died, a woman anointed him at a dinner gathering using expensive perfume. Some of the guests were offended at the waste, but Jesus was not. He said, “She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial” (v. 8). Even if the woman didn’t know it then, her act of honor and devotion hinted at the resurrection; she was anointing Jesus because he wouldn’t be anointed later.
Jesus said that what she did was beautiful. Any action that points to the resurrection of Jesus is beautiful. When we preach about the resurrection today, it is beautiful. When a hospice nurse gives tender care to a dying person, it is beautiful. When we raise children to live with courage in a world of fear, it is beautiful. When we are willing to give up trying to control things that we can’t control, even though it makes us afraid of our limits, it is beautiful. Jesus rose from the dead, and celebrating that fact is a beautiful way to live.
Risen Lord Jesus, we praise you for your victory over death. We praise you that as the anointed King, you would die and rise again to give us new life. Amen.
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