So, it’s Friday prior to Holy Week. For you and me.
But for Jesus and His disciples it was time to make the trek toward Jerusalem in preparation for Passover Feast week. For our Jewish Jesus, it was also to be the final week of His human life. On this particular night, he would celebrate one last Sabbath – which would begin at sundown and go through Saturday at sunset.
In case you didn’t know, Jewish law only allows folks to do a few things on the Sabbath. One of the rules is how far a person can walk. According to the Mitzvah, you may not walk a straight line more than .598 miles (3161.74 ft.) in any direction in the wilds outside your city limits. (Even today, Orthodox Jews do not drive on Sabbath and walk to service.)
Jesus had been spending His time of late in the desert region of Ephraim (about 20 miles outside Jerusalem) and was now working His way to, and through, Jericho (15 miles out). He needed to get to where He was going by sunset, before Sabbath began. His destination for this night? Bethany. With the average adult walking pace at about 4 mph, that day’s journey from Jericho to Bethany (about 12 miles) would take about 8 hours. So basically, Jesus spent that day most likely travelling to not only be with dear friends, but to keep his appointment with destiny.
This village was about 2 miles outside of Jerusalem and was the home of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. And yes, that is the very Lazarus He had just raised from the Dead earlier that same week. (Jn. 11) Talk about a foreshadowing! The town was also dangerously close to Jerusalem and those that wanted him dead. But Jesus knew what he was doing.
Meanwhile, as He was walking that day, Martha was cookin’ up a storm down in Bethany. Probably fixing his favorite meal. And I bet she was keeping a sharp eye on Mary the entire day!
They had a big dinner in His honor that Sabbath. Martha served, Lazarus reclined at the table, and Mary entered the room full of men, broke a bottle of precious ointment, showered Jesus with tears of affection and anointed His feet with her hair. A fitting tribute that foreshadowed his coming burial. As tradition had it, you anointed a person’s head. You were allowed to only anoint the feet of a corpse.
Judas, the treasurer, who pilfered from the pouch, wasn’t too thrilled with Mary’s little scene and expressed his disappoval of this expensive “waste” that could, and should, have been used on the poor. Jesus replied: “You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.” (Jn. 12:8)
There’s lots more to come.
C U tomorrow.
TIP: Sunset Fri, – Sunset Sat. – DAY 1