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Signposts: Daily Devotions

Monday, March 29

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.
—John 12:14

Monday in Holy Week

Today is the beginning of Holy Week for Christians, the week that
culminates in Good Friday when Jesus was crucified, Holy Saturday when Jesus lay in the tomb, and Easter, celebrating Jesus’ resurrection. It is such a blessing to walk through this most sacred week with Jesus and his friends and disciples.

In this scripture, John recounts Mary's poignant anointing of Jesus at the table. Mary's act is extravagant and generous (this is the scene where Judas objects to the huge expense and suggests the money she spent could have been used for the poor). 

As she pours out the expensive oil, she is pouring out her devotion and gratitude. Many people note that this anointing is ironically preparing Jesus' body for the tomb he will enter several days hence.

Preacher and pastor Fred Craddock wrote a lovely reflection on Mary's act. “It is God's gifts added to our simple acts that often elevates them to a place in the grander purposes that God has in mind.” 

Our simple acts…what could those be? When we feel touched by God, what simple act can we perform to express gratitude and devotion? It is something to ponder as we walk this week with Jesus and his friends.

Most gracious God, you have given us so much.  Give us one thing more, we pray: grateful hearts. Amen.

These Signposts originally appeared on explorefaith in 2005.