Mark 14: 1-11 & John John 17: 1-11
This is a poignant time in Jerusalem, Passover is around the corner. Passover has become of time of heightened concern by the Romans because nationalist sentiment takes over Jerusalem. Over the years, the Romans had built a troop pavilion and tower that overlooked the Temple so that they could respond quickly to any disturbances.
It seems the Jewish leaders are also on high alert as well, as they fear the power and influence of Jesus who has become a darling of the crowds. So concerned are they that they plan to arrest Jesus when he is isolated since they fear the masses. The passage ends with the arrangement that
Even the disciples are rather tense, as we hear of the story of the woman who anoints Jesus is chastised for wasting money. It is a fraught time, and everyone is feeling it, Romans, Jewish leaders, Jesus’ followers, all are being swept up in the tensions of the day. The tensions are a collision of different agenda, different desires. The betrayal by Judas is rationalized by the author as Judas witness the waste of the perfume and perhaps because he does not sense that Jesus is going to confront the Romans as he wishes.
The reading from Mark forces us to look at our own agendas this week. What is it that we are seeking from God? What do we want God to do? Are we concerned about God’s Will or just our own? As Jesus enters Jerusalem, we see the agenda of so many, but the only agenda that Jesus seems concerned with was the action of this woman who ends up anointing him. The author creates the possibility that this anointing is the anointing of Jesus’ body for burial. Are we comfortable with God’s agenda or do our desires push us to turn away from God’s Will?
Jesus farewell prayer in the Gospel of John speaks to Jesus’ willingness to complete the work of the Father. He has given over to the Will of God and speaks of this task being completed. Jesus has revealed the Will of God to those who the Father has given over to him. Now Jesus prays that the Father will continue to care for the followers of Jesus. Jesus understands that the world will be against his followers, that the tensions of Jesus day will not necessarily dissipate but instead will continue in new forms.
Do we recognize that Jesus is praying for us as we too face many tensions? Do we know that we are supported in pursuing God’s Will, that Jesus Christ himself is praying for us? Consider that in the midst of recognizing what was going to happen to himself, Jesus takes time to pray for you and me. As we face the anxieties and tensions of the world, as we live in this in between know, let us remember that Jesus is praying for us.