The Gathering Church/ Pastor Barry Bruce Gospel of Mark/ Naked Runner Series #22
In Memoriam Mark 14:1-2, Romans 6:10-23
In Memoriam means “in memory of”. It is what we share in an Obituary or Epitaph at a funeral or what we do to remember something or someone loved or admired at a special dedication, memorial or reoccurring event.
The Passover and The Festival of Unleavened Bread were memorials that God told his people to recognize every year (Exodus 12). The Passover memorializes Israel’s deliverance from slavery and recalls the Passover lamb sacrifice. The blood from that lamb sprinkled on the doorposts of the believers home caused the Angel of Death to pass over that house and spare the occupants from the fate of the Egyptians. The Feast of Unleavened Bread commemorates the day after Passover where God instructed the Hebrew people not to allow their bread to rise, but to grab everything and leave Egypt immediately. In this seven day period (Exodus 34:18) no bread or leavening was to be eaten. In fact, God commanded that leaven be removed completely from where a person lived (Exodus 12:15). Leven was a symbol to Jews of sin likely because it was introduced for baking bread by the Egyptians and “a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough”(Galatians 5:9), in other words sin grows and spreads.
As we now know, both Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread point to Jesus. It is only by the sacrificial blood of the Lamb of God, Jesus (John 1:29), “who takes away the sin of the world” that we can be saved from the wages of sin (Romans 6:23) which is death. He stands at the “door” of our heart and “knocks” (Revelation 3:20). We also understand that only Christ is sinless and the remedy for sin and our slavery to it.
It is ironic that as these days of Memoriam were coming upon Israel that her religious leaders were plotting the death of the very one to whom they pointed to. They were afraid of the people but not afraid of the one who made them (John 1:1-4). How about you? Do you elevate yourself and others above the one who made you? Do you live your life as a living memorial to him or do you simply keep religious traditions and live as a slave to sin like those who plotted Jesus’ death? We must remember that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and without that holy fear we are capable of ever growing, ever spreading sin that leads us and others to separation from God and eternal death! (Proverbs 9:10, Romans 6:23)
Extravagant for Christ Mark 14:3-10, Matthew 6:19-24
On the day before his Last Supper and arrest, Jesus didn’t go back into Jerusalem, but spent the day in Bethany with friends. “As Jesus reclined at the table, a woman came with an alabaster flask of imported, expensive perfume made from pure nard and poured it over his head. There were some who were verbally upset by this extravagant act. The perfume was worth a year’s wage and could have been used for the poor, but Jesus rebuked those who spoke against her and saw what she had done as a beautiful thing. How could such an extravagant act be honored by the Lord? This was not the only time such a thing occurred.
Theological Views on the Anointing (s) of Jesus:
Although some theologians try and fit all of the gospel accounts into one story, based on my study of the accounts, Jesus was anointed three times by three different women in two different geographical locations. Matthew (26:6-13) and Mark (14:1-9) state that Jesus was in Bethany at the house of Simon the Leper. This account happened after the Triumphal Entry and two days before the Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread (Mark 14:1).
The account in Luke’s gospel (7:36-50) speaks of a completely different time and place in Nain, at the house of Simon a Pharisee, when “A woman who had lived a sinful life” wept and anointed his feet with her tears and a “jar of perfume.” This account happened long before the Triumphal Entry.
The account in the Gospel of John (12:1-13) talks about a supper made with Lazarus and his sister Martha served in Bethany (same location at the supper with Simon the Leper) when Mary took a pound of Nard (Spikenard KJV) and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped them with her hair. She did not cry. This account was six days before Passover and the day before the Triumphal Entry. Judas Iscariot, who later betrayed Jesus, objected to the act in this account saying that the money could have been used for the poor, but in reality he said this not for the sake of the poor but because he was a thief and use to help himself to the money he kept for the ministry of Jesus. The last two accounts of such extravagance occurred in the last week of Jesus’ earthly life. According to Mark’s gospel the third time could have been the rationale behind Judas’ reason to betray Jesus, but then where was his treasure then?
The act was absolutely selfless, all three acts were! Pouring out such an expensive perfume profited the givers nothing. As a matter of fact it brought ridicule. The perfume was a thoughtful gift of love that said “you are more valuable than anything and I love you!” When you think of Jesus’ amazing love for you are you stingy or extravagant with your time, treasure and talent (devotion) ? “Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all.”
Betrayal and Devotion Mark 14:12-26, Revelation 19:6-9
Jesus celebrated the traditional Passover meal with his disciples (including Judas) but he made the bread and cup symbolic of his own body and blood. The betrayer would depart after super once Jesus had washed even his feet (John 13:2-5) as the servant of all. Jesus’ devotion to die for sins was extended even to Judas, although God foreknew that he would choose to depart. He desires no man to perish (2 Peter 3:9).
We are called to memorialize Jesus’ extravagant gift to us not only through communion (1 Corinthians 11:23-26) but through our living. Jesus promises another extravagant gift to all whose names are written in the Book of Life (Revelation 19:9), but what shall be our gift to him? Shall we be extravagant or stingy, devoted or detached, selfish or servants like Him?