March 19: A penitent heart
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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.’