The Final Lessons: A Holy Week Plan

Devotional

Sacrifice

We start today, the day before Palm Sunday, when Holy Week officially begins, because we can’t miss where the Easter story really starts. The crowds, the camel, and the palm leaves too often overlook the story of Mary and her sacrifice. So we start on Saturday so we are ready for Palm Sunday.

Today, we begin at a much more humble place than cheering crowds. We begin at a place we would feel comfortable around a dinner table with friends.

Read John 12:1-8

Do you remember these friends of Jesus? If not, a little background: Lazarus’ sisters were not too happy that Jesus delayed in coming to their aid after receiving word that Lazarus was ill, resulting in his death. We saw Jesus grieve (John 11:35 tells us that, “Jesus wept.”) then work a miracle—He raised Lazarus from the dead!

These friends were acquainted with death, but also resurrection. Lazarus’ sisters had just seen their brother come out of that grave alive (John 11:44). They saw the impossible become possible.

At this dinner we see Mary do something unusual. In verse 3 we read, “Mary therefore took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair.”

This “expensive ointment” wasn’t like one of your bottles of perfume or cologne. Every commentary or study Bible I have read says that it was valued at an entire year’s wages.

Think of what an entire year’s wages are for you. Now, think about how it would feel to write a check right now to Jesus for that full amount.

I can’t even fathom. I struggle to give God my 10% tithe or 30 minutes of time in the morning with Him or Sunday worship with my church family. So to offer an entire year’s worth of income. Nope. I can’t go there.

However, this is where the Easter story starts—with a woman, a friend of Jesus, who gave something of value (the “pure nard”), and humbled herself by washing His feet with her hair. Mary got it—Christ deserves our all, our best.

Why do we give Him our left overs so often?

End today on your knees, if you are able. Open your hands to Jesus and confess what you’ve held on to. Ask for faith to be more generous and vulnerable. Beg for courage to give beyond what you know to be feasible.