Jesus Poster BulletinWe’ve all seen some version of this story. A father enters the train with five small children. He buries his face in his hands and forgets about the children for a moment. The children walk around, climb on the seats, hang on the metal rails, giggle out loud and generally bother the other passengers.

You hear the muffled sounds of people remarking about how unruly the children are. A lady on whose lap one of the children just landed finally has had too much. She turns to the father and sternly says, “You ought to be ashamed at the way you’re raising your children.” Clearly embarrassed, the man says softly through tears that they’ve just come from the cemetery, where they buried his wife and the kids’ mom.

At that time, the only question really is “where do I bury myself?” It’s so easy to fall for the easy narrative that things are as they seem but that is rarely, if ever, the case.

In Mark 14 an unknown woman breaks open a flask containing perfume that would cost the equivalent of a year’s salary for one making minimum wage. Some of the disciples were “indignant” about that extravagance. They complained that the perfume could have been sold and the money given to the poor.

Now “indignant” is a strong word in the Greek. It is used, for example, for the time when the disciples tried to bar children from coming to Christ. This is no mere annoyance or mild irritation. It is a strong feeling. In Luke 13:14 the synagogue ruler was not just a little upset that Jesus had healed on the Sabbath – he was outraged, driven to the edge of his emotions by a perceived wrong. He was “fuming.” That’s what it means to be “indignant.”

Not content, Mark tells us that they “rebuked her harshly” (the word in the Greek is “incensed.” We are not sure that they verbally scolded here, but based on Jesus’ strong reaction, it is more than likely that they did).

Jesus came to the woman’s defense and what a sight that must have been. In summary, Jesus’ comforting words to her meant: a) Contrary to your strong though misguided feelings, she has done a great thing; b) Contrary to your wrong sense of timing, she has done something that could only be done at this time; c) Contrary to your instinct to silence her, her story will be heard as long as the good news of the gospel is told.

Wow. If there is a lesson here to me it is this: THINGS ARE NOT ALWAYS AS THEY APPEAR. In a world where we tend to take up offense at the first sign of something going amiss, it pays to reflect before reacting. Let’s economize our indignant thoughts and hear from the master first before we speak harshly against someone.

And this is just one of the many lessons we will learn this Sunday from the longest chapter in the book of Mark, as we start bringing our “JESUS” series to a close.

Pastor Ivanildo C. Trindade

Lead Pastor, Grace Church, Lititz, PA