Posted in theology

The Anointing of Jesus: Righteous Wild Abandon

By Elizabeth Prata

Yesterday I wrote about how my Bible study ended with me coming to a settled conviction that though some of the smaller details seemed to vary, the incidents recorded in Mark 14 & Matthew 26, and the incident recorded in John, are speaking of the same incident.

I explained how I’d come to that conclusion after for a time initially believing the opposite.

After I finished sorting out the incident itself, there is the theological point to consider. I got to thinking about Mary and her vial of nard, worth 300 denarii. Her letting down her hair to dry Jesus’ feet. There is much to consider here.

Continue reading “The Anointing of Jesus: Righteous Wild Abandon”
Posted in theology

The alabaster vial incidents, and my “wasted” time

By Elizabeth Prata

I usually write about the word, or encouragement, or prophecy. But today I’m going to give a peek into and share an anecdote about my Bible study.

As I was reading Mark 14 and I got to the part when Judas went out to betray Jesus. (Mark 14:10), I began wondering, why now? What was the precipitating event that finalized Judas’ apostasy and treachery?

(What works for me is asking questions of the text. Why this? Why now? What is that about? How does that work? Where are they? What is that plant/tree/animal like?)

I suspected the catalyzing moment for Judas was the alabaster vial incident, AKA the anointing of Jesus, recorded just prior to Judas’ departure. But the more I read the parallel accounts, the more confused I got. I could not sort them out. I didn’t know why.

Continue reading “The alabaster vial incidents, and my “wasted” time”
Posted in theology

What is the necessary thing? Plus, The Storm has Gathered…and Burst

By Elizabeth Prata

Sisters, let Christ instruct your soul.

We all know the story or Mary and Martha. Mary was at Jesus’ feet, listening and learning. Martha was scuttling around the house preparing food and serving the guests. She complained to Jesus that Mary was not helping. Jesus responded that Mary was doing what was necessary, and for that, her part will never be taken away. (Luke 10:38-42). Which indicates that Martha’s part will be taken away.

Not that serving is bad. We are instructed to put doctrine into action. Being busy for the Lord is a good thing. But too busy? To the exclusion of all else? No. The things that Martha did to serve that day are not remembered. But what Christ said on that day is remembered. It’s the spiritual things that are eternal. Continue reading “What is the necessary thing? Plus, The Storm has Gathered…and Burst”

Posted in nativity, theology

Nativity & Advent: Sacrifice of Pigeons

By Elizabeth Prata

turtledoves verse

Previous essays in the series:

1. Zacharias: There is no such thing as chance, even when casting lots
2. Anna: The Lord’s Precious Widow

And when the time came for their purification according to the Law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every male who first opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”) and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the Law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.”  (Luke 2:22-24). Continue reading “Nativity & Advent: Sacrifice of Pigeons”

Posted in encouragement, Uncategorized

A Mother’s Agony

Luke 2:34-35

And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed 35 (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”

We know that the people whose lives are recorded in the Bible were real. Abraham, Noah, Daniel, Hagar, Rahab, Mary…and the others, were all real people who lived a life on earth with all their joys and trials, and heartaches and triumphs. They did their jobs, sang and laughed, worshiped, prayed, ate, relaxed, and did everything real people do.

Sometimes we read about their lives on the pages of the Bible and as inspired as we are, we tend to think of these people as object lessons, as in, what can I learn from their lives that will inspire me to further obedience or knowledge of Christ?

I see people close to me going through difficulties and heartaches. Some have aging parents in poor health, some are experiencing grief because of death, some are parents with ill children or have children who have received dread diagnoses.

The Lord saw fit to place me in this era and in this nation, where, as a Christian, I am not currently being stalked, hunted, killed, persecuted, or arrested. I know our brethren in the closed countries are, but as of now I personally am not. Sometimes I feel guilty about that, but then again, this is when and where the Lord created me, He appointed times and seasons for everything, so I cannot speak back to the Potter.

I think some of the greatest agonies ever endured. Number one has to be the separation Jesus endured when God withdrew from Him on the cross. “My God, My God, why has thou forsaken me?” Jesus cried. (Matthew 27:46–47). The glory and intimacy He had enjoyed for all eternity with the Father was broken, and Jesus was alone in the dark, spiritually bereft.

If there is a number two agony someone had endured, could it be Jesus’ Mother, Mary, watching her Son hung up as a criminal, beaten, tortured, and dying in front of her eyes? Most mothers believe in their sons. Moms tend to err on the side of their innocence, proclaiming their son’s non-guilt to anyone who would listen. However of all mothers who ever lived, Mary alone knew she had a perfect Son. He never did a wrong thing. He never harmed anyone. Growing up, He treated everyone with perfect courtesy, perfect consideration, perfect attention, perfect honor, perfect trust, perfect love…the list is infinite because Jesus’ qualities as God were perfectly and fully manifested in His human life.

So for Mary to see her beautiful Son, hung up as the lowest criminal, on the most dastardly method of execution ever invented, must have been a grief only mothers can conceive of, and even all other mothers can’t know the depths of her spiritual and motherly despair.

Jesus knew His mother’s temporal agony would be great and her future as a widow would be uncertain. The Lord is good and kind.

When Jesus saw His mother and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He said to His mother, “Woman, here is your son.” 27Then He said to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” So from that hour, this disciple took her into his home. (John 19:26-27)

He also knew her spiritual agony would be great too. As Barnes’ Notes says,

Yea, a sword … – The sufferings and death of thy Son shall deeply afflict thy soul. And if Mary had not been thus forewarned and sustained by strong faith, she could not have borne the trials which came upon her Son; but God prepared her for it, and the holy mother of the dying Saviour was sustained.

The Lord of all is so great, kind, wonderful. He is the originator of our faith, the pinnacle of perfection. And yet even as he looked ahead to the sure knowledge of imminent separation from the Father, a moment none of us can even plumb the surface of, never mind the depths, Jesus cared for His weeping and agonizing mother. He sustained her in her faith and spiritually carried her through her agony.

Whatever agony you endure, especially if you are a mother, remember Mary. Remember that even though her crisis was one that no other mother can even attempt to understand, we can still sympathize. It gets even better, because Jesus is there to help us, sustain us, give us the courage to endure. He did for Mary. He will for you.