Holy Wednesday, March 28
scripture reading: Matthew 26.1-16
“But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, ‘Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a beautiful thing to me.’” – Matthew 26:10 (ESV)
In this chapter, we find both the plot and betrayal of Jesus set into motion. This betrayal is engaged by those who observed him and by one closest to him. Whether chief priests or Judas Iscariot, the story is the same: betrayal is a human experience we all undergo. Very few of us can identify a life without betrayal. This pain might have happened through a family member, a friend, a loved one, or a complete stranger. Regardless, there is very little to remove the possibility of betrayal.
The famous author, C.S. Lewis, indicates you could avoid betrayal; but the cost would be selfishly withholding yourself from loving others. He says, “Lock [your heart] up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.” And I think this is the case for each one of us when it comes to being betrayed. We fear the betrayal so much we find ourselves calloused to the love we so desperately desire. When we avoid the risk of betrayal, we avoid the possibility of love.
In this moment with the disciples and Jesus, we find our selfish calloused selves mirrored in the story. Our reaction would be similar to theirs if someone ripped off the callousness and fear of betrayal and stepped into the possibility of love. This woman dared to bring her whole life before Jesus and refused to believe he would offer anything else but trust. The alabaster jar broken and poured out is an offense to our hardened hearts. Our disbelief and disgust reveals we are not much different to the priests and betrayers of Jesus. We are offended by reckless abandon. It’s not safe. It’s not smart. It’s not to be displayed in private, much less public. Only pain is possible, never love. To be known for our unrighteous lives and still give everything we have it too difficult. We love ourselves too much and what others think about our love, knowing it would never be enough.
This is why we betray one another, we never believe what we do is enough. We never believe we are enough. But this is what the woman of Bethany illuminates for us. It is our brokenness and our willingness to love unrestrained which collapses the fear of betrayal. What is this so-called power she wields? Why does it make her renown in the earth? Why was Jesus so keenly aware of her actions?
His words seem to reveal the importance of this verse: “she has done a beautiful thing.” Jesus’ awareness of beauty helps us understand why loving trust is important. Beauty reveals the power of process and the result of surrender. Beauty demonstrates the unrestraint of love. Beauty prepares us to push past our walls preventing betrayal and opens us up to receive the goodness of trust. Ultimately, beauty calls us to the power of vulnerability. And as Lewis resolves in his quote about love and trust, “To love at all is to be vulnerable.” The woman’s vulnerability displayed beauty which disarmed the fear of betrayal and opened up the ability to trust. When’s the last time you did something beautiful?
SPECIAL THANKS TO SUSAN THOMPSON, OUR EDITOR,
AND OUR CONTRIBUTING AUTHORS:
Palm Sunday - Marcus Harris
Holy Monday - Joel Fernandez
Holy Tuesday - Gina Green
Holy Wednesday - Ps. Jason Peaks
Maundy Thursday - Susan Thompson
Good Friday - Betsy Herman
Holy Saturday - Ps. Jordan Shimon
Resurrection Sunday - Cathy Harris