We are entering the holy week tomorrow, according to the Romanian Orthodox Church calendar. Palm Sunday. The Sunday that starts the Holy Week. The Passion Week. The Ultimate Suffering Week. The Victorious Week. My favorite week of the year.
Last night I read about what happened the previous day. Just before the triumphant entry. Just before the day of the fragile fame that Jesus never sought.
All four Gospels talk about Palm Sunday. The triumphant entry into the holy city. And all four books give us glimpses of what happened just before this glorious day. But what grasped my heart most is…
Mary’s Undignified Worship – she loved her Savior so much that she spent her savings and herself in reckless abandon and adoration. Knelt before the watching crowd, she was oblivious to their observant and critical eye. She was careless. She had One audience. One passion. One object of worship. An undivided and undistracted heart.
The strong smell of perfume filled the room, just like her heart was already filled with thanksgiving. This gift was not measured. It was not weighed and reasoned. This gift was extravagant. Complete. Because her heart was given. Completely.
Her long beautiful – unseen – hair came down. The abandonment was complete. And it was un-dignifying for a woman like her. Hair was personal. Hair was given only to the man to commit to for the rest of your life. Her visible hair was her statement. Her heart belonged to the One who saved her brother. Her heart belonged to the One who saved her. Her body may not had been dead, like her brother’s, but her life was dead. And He came down for her. He saved her. She believed!
Knelt in adoration, she proclaimed her love. She proclaimed her loyalty. And she proclaimed was was going to happen. Her salvation, her life, her brother’s life, all the observant crowd’s life depended on one thing. On one Life. On a sacrifice. Atonement was required. Salvation is never free. Somebody has to pay. Her sacrifice proclaimed the need and the soon-coming of another Sacrifice. The Ultimate one. The Lamb of God, slain once and for all. For All!
Jesus is no longer physically here. We cannot come with our own bottles of expensive perfume.
But to those given people – given to follow and worship Him in all ways and all days (regardless of the calendar) – we ourselves are becoming that perfume, filling the world with His presence, peace and hope.
“For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.”
2 Corinthians 2:15 NIV