Fifth Sunday in Lent
“Let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith.” (Hebrews 12:1-2)
Lent is not often pictured as a race, but these words from Hebrews fit well with some of the ways we talk about the season. Lent is the season to look to Jesus once again, to refocus on him and the cross that he took up. It is the season of repentance, or in other words, a time to get back on track and turn again to the ways of discipleship. So as we “run with perseverance the race that is set before us” on this Lenten track, this bulletin back series will encourage us to take many “turns” along the way to be closer to the pioneer and perfecter of our faith.
Just before this point in the Gospel of John, the plot to kill Jesus went into effect. Immediately after hearing that Jesus had raised Lazarus from the dead, the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the council to create this plot. Upon Jesus’ visit to Lazarus’s home, Mary seemed to know how much Jesus put himself at risk by raising Lazarus. In return, she did something special. With an entire year’s wage, she bought perfume to anoint Jesus as a way of thanking and blessing him. She could have chosen to anoint his head, but chose to anoint his feet. When she did this, Judas questioned the appropriateness of this gift. This question set Jesus up to prove that Mary’s gift was worth far more than its original cost. Not only did it foreshadow Jesus’ death, since his body would be anointed in a similar way afterwards, but it also foreshadowed and perhaps even inspired something that he would do shortly after. Just as Mary anointed Jesus’ feet, Jesus washed the feet of his disciples in the upper room to teach them how to serve others. The sacrifice Mary turned in to Jesus was magnified by him and turned into abundance.
How can we take this turn?
When have we witnessed a simple act of kindness turn into something much greater? What gifts of service, care, dedication, treasure, praise, love, talent, or time could we turn in and offer to Jesus?
Dan Miller, pastor, Edgeboro Moravian Church, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania