After speaking to a crowd Jesus drew close to his disciples to share His heart. His first three words jumped off the page for me: “As you know”. My heart skipped a beat. He mentioned that this Passover was weighty with significance, because it would be their final one together. He had told them before of his arrest and death, but now it was imminent. People in Jerusalem were plotting intrigue. His disciples knew too, didn’t they? He had told them. Had they truly listened? Apparently not.
In my mind I see the hurt in my husband’s eyes when I’ve missed something significant; the hurt that is there when I should have been tuned to his thoughts and plans after having been knit together in relationship for many years. I missed it because I wasn’t listening with my heart; I only heard words. Was it that same kind of pain that rippled across Jesus’ heart that day?
The imminence of loss and death has a way of clearing our vision. What we love about the person who is about to leave us gets magnified, it occupies our thoughts and fills our emotions. Everything else pales in comparison.
In this passage it seems obvious that the disciples were not in that space, not yet. Their callousness to the danger Jesus was about to walk into surfaced again during a meal they all shared as guests of Simon the Leper. In a quiet manner a woman entered the room and with reverent love and worship poured a whole container of very expensive perfume over Jesus’ head. She had listened to her heart and now, without a word, ministered to His need. The disciples however couldn’t see anything but wastefulness. Angrily they told her that there were more responsible ways to offer this gift.
Jesus, who was prepared to give his life in an outrageously costly sacrifice for us, came to her defense. He praised her for doing a wonderfully significant thing and said “She did it to prepare me for burial”. And what this gentle woman has done was not to be forgotten. He honored her by making sure that she would be forever part of His story.
Listening or not, made the difference. How do we experience listening to God in our daily life? How might our life be different if we lived truly alert to Jesus’ voice?