📄 Always Be Prepared!

By Pastor Michael H. Koplitz, D.Min., Ph.D.

John 12:1-3

Six days before the Passover Jesus came to Bethany where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. So, they made Him a supper there, and Martha was serving; but Lazarus was one of those reclining at the table with Him. Mary then took a pound of very costly perfume of pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped His feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. 

Are you ready for anything? What do I mean? If you were to meet the LORD today, are you ready? My experience tells me that most of us are not ready. There is always tomorrow, right?  What happens if you do not have any tomorrows?  Anything is possible. 

Jesus went to the home of Lazarus, Mary, and Martha before he entered Jerusalem. He had a meal with them, which was the custom of the day. At the conclusion of dinner, Mary poured a huge amount of perfumed oil on his feet and wiped his feet with her hair. However, women did not let their hair down in public, and definitely only allowed their husband to touch their hair. 

An interesting custom of Jesus’ day was that they believed a married woman’s hair stored the seed of life that she received from her husband. Today, Orthodox Jewish women cover their hair. This is usually done with a wig. It is considered an intimate violation if a man touches a woman’s hair if he is not married to her. Therefore, Mary was showing her love for Jesus and her desire to take their relationship to the next level. She made that quite clear. 

Jesus’ reaction may not have been the one that Mary was expecting. It probably surprised the people in the room that  instead Jesus took the anointing as a foreshadowing of his death. Spikenard perfume was used to anoint the body of a deceased loved one. The author took this story to be a foreshadowing of his death by crucifixion. If Jesus’ words about death are removed, we would have a love story. Certainly, Mary could not have been the only woman who loved Jesus. Even with the death comments, I think you can see the love story. 

Many people loved Jesus. But then, there were others who were not quite that thrilled with Jesus’ ministry. After all, Jesus was upsetting the apple cart in several ways. Everything that Jesus said and did in all four Gospels was for the people. He did nothing for himself. Therefore, if he had a romantic relationship with Mary, that would have been out of character. Jesus acted like a prophet, and he knew prophets went to Jerusalem to die. He was on his way to Jerusalem where he would prompt a huge entrance. Therefore, having any kind of intimate relationship would not have worked. 

However, Jesus thanked Mary for her concern about his life. Then Jesus turned that concern around from being directed toward him and instead directed his attention to all his followers. Jesus wants a relationship with all of us. Obviously, for us the relationship is spiritual. Mary could not have had a physical relationship with Jesus, and we cannot either. Yet, both Mary and we can have a spiritual relationship. 

Another aspect in this story is the question I asked at the beginning. Are you ready to meet the LORD and Jesus today? This is going to happen in two ways. The first way is the future coming of Jesus. Wait a moment and look. No, Jesus has not returned yet. Therefore, the second way must also be acknowledged by us. When the angel of death comes when it is our time to die, it will take us on a trip to the LORD’s court and we will meet Jesus. Jesus will be either helping us to defend our life or he will be the prosecutor of all we did that was contrary to God. I am sure there is some objection to that statement. However, it is written in the Book of Revelation that this will happen (Rev 20:12). Therefore, we have to be ready to meet Jesus every day. 

The road of life has numerous potholes. In other words, there is no assurance that we will be here tomorrow. There are always health concerns, like a heart attack. There are accidental concerns, like being hit by a bus. It is something that we rarely think about. When the time arrives, will you be ready? 

Ready for what? There may be some questions about events in your life, and especially anything that has not been attended to, that should have been. Therefore, if you have sinned against a person and have not apologized, you should do it immediately. This is one of several items that you may have left open on your plate. These areas of concern need to be determined now and resolved. 

This narrative about Jesus and Martha can be viewed as a warning. Jesus was ready to face his death. I would guess that he wanted to do even more for humanity but there was only so much he could do because of the attitude of Judean leaders. He brought the knowledge of the secret to getting into heaven with him. His willingness to die for the LORD’s message made him a prophet. The LORD raised Jesus three days after his death and burial, thus proving to the world that Jesus’ words and actions were those as if they were spoken by the LORD. 

Today you hear it is wise to have a Will so that upon death all the material positions you own are dealt with in the manner you want. I bet most, if not all of you, have a Will. Do you have a spiritual Will? That is a different story in certain ways. Connecting to God through your Lord Jesus is a daily process, and connecting to Jesus is also a daily process. Freeing your soul from any sin done against another person must be resolved. If you have any broken relations that need to be patched, today is the day to start patching. 

Jesus was ready for the next step. Are you?

The road of life has numerous potholes. In other words, there is no assurance that we will be here tomorrow.

Please give us your thoughts on this article!

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Pastor Michael H. Koplitz, D.Min., Ph.D. is an ordained minister, author, teacher, and webmaster at BibleInteract. He currently lives in York Pennsylvania with his wife, Sandy, where he has been a pastor at the United Methodist Church for over 18 years.

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