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DANCING BEFORE THE LORD  

| FRIDAY 17TH JUNE, 2022

Our Daily Bread 2022 Annual Edition

By David H. Roper

Read: Mark 14:1–9 (NIV) | Bible in a Year: Nehemiah 7–9; Acts 3

Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, “Why this waste of perfume?” Mark 14:4

A number of years ago, my wife and I visited a small church where during the worship service a woman began to dance in the aisle. She was soon joined by others. Carolyn and I looked at each other and an unspoken agreement passed between us: “Not me!” We come from church traditions that favor a serious liturgy, and this other form of worship was well beyond our comfort zone.

But if Mark’s story of Mary’s “waste” means anything at all, it suggests that our love for Jesus may express itself in ways that others find uncomfortable (Mark 14:1–9). A year’s wages were involved in Mary’s anointing. It was an “unwise” act that invited the disciples’ scorn. The word Mark uses to describe their reaction means “to snort” and suggests disdain and mockery. Mary may have cringed, fearing Jesus’ response. But He commended her for her act of devotion and defended her against His own disciples, for Jesus saw the love that prompted her action despite what some would consider the impractical nature of it. He said, “Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me” (v. 6).

Different forms of worship—informal, formal, quiet, exuberant—represent a sincere outpouring of love for Jesus. He’s worthy of all worship that comes from a heart of love.

Read: Mark 14:1–9 (NIV)

Jesus Anointed at Bethany

14 1Now the Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread were only two days away, and the chief priests and the teachers of the law were scheming to arrest Jesus secretly and kill him. 2 “But not during the festival,” they said, “or the people may riot.” 3 While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head. 4 Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, “Why this waste of perfume? 5 It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages[a] and the money given to the poor.” And they rebuked her harshly. 6 “Leave her alone,” said Jesus. “Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. 7 The poor you will always have with you,[b] and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. 8 She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial. 9 Truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”

INSIGHT

  1. Why do you think we’re critical of unfamiliar forms of worship?

  2. How can we change our thoughts about a form of worship that’s outside our comfort zone?

Mark 13 ends with Jesus urging His disciples, and everyone, to be awake rather than asleep when He returns (vv. 35–36). Chapter 14 gives us contrasting examples of what it means to be ready. Into the account of those who are conspiring to get rid of Jesus (14:1–2, 10–11), Mark inserts the story of a woman who honors His approaching death (vv. 3–9).

In the spirit of her affections, she was awake even if she didn’t consciously know that she was foreshadowing Jesus’ suffering (vv. 6–9). A group of religious leaders, on the other hand, were clueless to the fact that in the secrecy of their murderous plans, they, along with Judas, were about to betray and demand the crucifixion of their long-awaited Savior. Two days before the Jewish feasts of Passover and Unleavened Bread, they were sleeping in what Jesus had called the “yeast” of hypocrisy (Luke 12:1).

PRAYER

I bow before You, Almighty God, and worship You now. You’re worthy of the highest praise and adoration. In Jesus name, I pray. Amen!!

Read: Mark 14:1–9 (NIV) | Bible in a Year: Nehemiah 7–9; Acts 3

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