As this is the week before Easter, my pastors have challenged us to spend some time each day studying the last week of Jesus' earthly life. As I was reading the passage for today, Mark 11:20-14:11, I was struck by the obvious contrast between the two responses to Jesus:
The end of chapter 11 through chapter 12 give account after account of Temple Leaders, Sadducees, Pharisees, and Scribes trying to trip Jesus up. What a long day this must have felt like as He silenced one group only to be greeted by another group of prideful critics. Because Jesus threatened their authority and called their lives and purpose into question, they spent the whole day baiting Him. They tried to find the one experience which would serve as the exception to Jesus' teaching and so provide them with the "obvious out." And I wonder how often I question God because His Word convicts me and will require painful change and humility. How often do I fire off "What if...?"s or "How about...?"s in order to find the loophole to nullify His call to obedience?
After a day of mental gymnastics, Jesus went to Bethany and dined with His disciples. It is here that we meet Mary, the contrast to His critics. Whether or not her heart was tender to the difficulties of Jesus' day and emotional exhaustion apparent on His face, we do not know. We do know that her heart yearned to worship; it was her heart's cry. She sacrificed something very precious to her, pouring it all out on Him. Longing to worship, be obedient, so much that she braved the annoyance, misunderstanding, and belittling of the other disciples. And I wonder, do I long to worship Him extravagantly--risking what is precious to me, inspite of what others may say?
What is my response to Jesus and His hard teachings? Am I offended and unrepentant, trying to critique His meaning and authority? Or do I greet who He is and His Kingdom call with humility and worship? At the end of today does Jesus feel like He spent more time with a woman who is a stubborn, prideful loophole-finder or with a woman who worships Him with reckless abandon?