What an incredible Palm Sunday we enjoyed at Killearn! I saw some folks who enjoyed worship in our sanctuary for the first time in over two years. The choir processed singing Hosanna into the sanctuary with palms at 8:00AM, and then kids & families did the same at 9:30AM and 11:00AM. Our Youth Mission Team was at all three services as they prepare for serving with Twelves Churches this June. We remembered the powerful image of Jesus riding a donkey into Jerusalem. Here comes the King of kings and the Lord of lords! It was a banner day at Killearn UMC.

Well, right before Jesus comes to Jerusalem with the donkey, the palm branches, and shouts of Hosanna, the apostle John shares this story about a dinner party that included Lazarus, Martha, Mary, Judas, and others. It’s one of my favorite moments of Holy Week. Read with me from John 12:1-8.

Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.

But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.” He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.

“Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. “It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.”

This gesture of wasting something as expensive as an entire jar of perfume is very frowned upon by Judas. He complains that the nard could have been sold and the money given to the poor. This complaint is a double gut punch because Judas doesn’t actually care about poor people and is only worried about his own cashflow.

This extravagant gesture profoundly displays what Jesus is about to do. Jesus is preparing for His own burial. Jesus is absolutely committed to radically giving himself away. Mary gives herself away to Jesus, and Jesus gives himself away for all of creation.

There is nothing calculating or careful about Mary’s action. Her love for Jesus is extravagant. Her friendship with Jesus is intimate. As Jesus prepares for His last week on earth, Jesus will give Himself away completely and extravagantly. This is why Mary’s beautiful gesture is a prelude to this holiest of weeks in the history of the world.

I hope you won’t miss a minute of this Holy Week! We will focus on aspects of Holy Week in our blog. Hope you will worship with us on Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday!

In His Grip,
Mike Toluba

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