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Prayer for the Week 1st April

Prayer for the Week 1st April
April 1, 2023 Bronwen



Week beginning 1st April 2023           [Palm Sunday 2nd]

The Message Bible. Matthew 26:6 ’When Jesus was at Bethany, a guest of Simon the leper, a woman came up to him as he was eating dinner and anointed him with a bottle of very expensive perfume.’. {You may like to read the whole chapter}.

As we approach Easter week and remember Jesus entry into Jerusalem, perhaps we think we know the story well, so are less careful about reading and listening. Looking at a translation that is different to the one we habitually use can sometimes offer insights that extend our understanding.

If we think about the context which led up to the entry into Jerusalem on a colt we read in Matthew, chapter 26 of The Message version, that Jesus and his disciples were in Bethany just before the Passover holiday. Jesus knew that by going into Jerusalem he was likely to be arrested and sentenced to death. He knew that behind the scenes, high priests and religious leaders were plotting against him, and he warned the disciples of ‘trouble ahead’. It is likely that he also knew that the priests and leaders were waiting for the ‘right’ time to act. It is interesting to note that he would have entered Jerusalem by the East Gate which was reminiscent of the exiles returning from the wilderness. The Roman soldiers would have entered from the opposite side of the city from Caesarea Maritima.

In Bethany, a day or two before going into Jerusalem, Jesus and the disciples shared a meal at the invitation of Simon, the leper. During the meal a woman poured expensive perfume oil over Jesus. We are not told who the woman was. She may have belonged to Simon’s household, which seems likely as few women carry bottles of expensive perfume with them wherever they go. This was the act of a determined woman, wanting to show her respect and deep care about Jesus and his ministry. It was the disciples who complained and accosted her about being wasteful, and that better use could have been made of the precious liquid. Jesus however, recognises the significance of the woman’s act as an anointing in preparation of his death. Her action a generous gift and a message to the world of Jesus status, which Jesus commends by telling those present that her action would always be remembered, even though her identity was never revealed.

As we prepare for Easter let us reflect on the generosity of the un-named woman. Like so many women of the past and the present she is a shadow figure. All we know is that she anointed Jesus. May we also remember that although we have a duty to use resources wisely, there is sometimes a place to give, in a way which makes a statement, and makes others take note.

In our own lives help us to recognise the women who work for a better world, who care for their loved ones without complaint, who always put others first, are generous with what they have, even if it is not very much materially, and do not seek acclaim. Their influence on those around them can be tremendous. They are loved and remembered by those whose lives they touch.


Loving God, there was conflict and undercurrent aggression going on in Israel – an occupied country – as well as personal antagonism which Jesus knew and recognised as he prepared to go into Jerusalem. This did not stop him from facing his future.

In our own time conflict and aggression in various forms still disturb our world, and sometimes seem to drown out the positive, loving actions. Yet, we know they must be faced. May we, like the un-named woman be the ones who are generous and faithful, recognising that even in quiet ways we can all make a difference by affirming those things which will create a world where people can live in harmony.