March 19, 2010

March 19: A penitent heart

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By Jake Shipe, resident director
SCRIPTURE: John 12:1-8 (NRSV)
Scroll down for complete Scripture.

DEVOTIONAL:
In John 12:1-8, Jesus’ friends hosted a dinner party in honor of him. It was a time to give thanks and a time for friends to fellowship with one another. Those throwing the party had much to be thankful for. The party was held in the town of Bethany, the residence of Lazarus, Mary and Martha. In Mark 14 we are told the celebration was held in the home of a man known as Simon the leper. All of these individuals had their lives drastically changed through their relationships with Jesus and thus had many things to be thankful for. Jesus restored life to Lazarus, showed Martha how to truly serve, blessed Mary for her devotion to his message, and healed Simon restoring his exile from society.

The Lenten season is about penitence and repentance. A penitent heart is one that sincerely regrets the sin in one’s life, sin that alienates us from any relationship with God. A repentant heart is one that humbly accepts that it is only through faith in God’s grace that we are brought into a right relationship with him. Those at the party understood this. Their relationships with Jesus lead them to an attitude of penitence and a life of repentance. Life, consistently lived this way, will yield a rich fellowship and relationship to Christ.

So bring on the party.

SCRIPTURE: John 12:1-8 (NRSV)
Six days before the Passover Jesus came to Bethany, the home of Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. There they gave a dinner for him. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those at the table with him. Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus’ feet, and wiped them with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (the one who was about to betray him), said, ‘Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and the money given to the poor?’ (He said this not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief; he kept the common purse and used to steal what was put into it.) Jesus said, ‘Leave her alone. She bought it so that she might keep it for the day of my burial. You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.’

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Comments (7)

  1. Thank you for the daily devotional comments. I read carefully. Today, you have confused two accounts of Jesus being anointed… this is not about meeting in the home of Simon the leper but in the home of Mary, Martha and Lazarus. Mary’s generous gift is not for healing but presumably purely for Jesus whom she understand to be the Savior of the world…the resurrection and the life!

    Lillian Elias March 19, 2010 |
  2. This comment section is entirely unnecessary and detracts from the devotional. The devotions should not be graded, but enjoyed for their God-given purpose.

    Doreen March 19, 2010 |
  3. Some people say that by allowing the woman to annoint his feet Jesus was perpetuating a custom in which women were treated as second class citizens. But my contention is that the woman is my exemplar to teach me that by annointing Jesus’ feet I can enter into his death that was soon to be.
    Thank you also for the insight about the repentant heart.
    A truly repentant heart has understood what interiority is: the capacity to see and understand the world and the person from within, and cannot be realized without an intimate relationship with God.

    Mervyn Carapiet March 19, 2010 |
  4. “Those at the party (or the fellowship meal celebrating a healing with a gratuitous meal)… understood this, that it is..God’s grace that brought us into right relationship with him.” This to me was the key phrase in Jake’s thoughtful devotional.

    We can infer more accuracy in John’s account, (CE 100 a.d., composed in Ephesus) that the woman washed the feet of Jesus with the costly, ointment, a mideastern custom, rather than poured it on his head as Mark, who was the first gospel composer said.( CE between 70-73 a.d.) from Rome (International Version)

    John Hackman March 19, 2010 |
  5. I loved this. I was so blessed by it, Jake. As I have sought to be nearer to the Lord in this season, I have heard over and over again, ” I live with the broken and contrite”: what a glorious reward!

    Sister March 20, 2010 |
  6. This si a beautiful sensual, verse. That is what first struck me; the sensuality of Mary’s offering: the scent of the perfume, massaging the oil into Jeus’ feet, even eating the feast together prepared by Martha. To me Jesus’ was saying, love one another fully while you are here on earth, as I would love; loved ones wan’t be here forever. And also, again, remember the focus and source fo that love – Jesus.

    Beth March 21, 2010 |
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