Every Woman a Theologian
— The Cleansing, the Anointing, and the Cost —
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Dear friend,
Yesterday was Holy Monday, the day Jesus flipped the tables in the Temple (at the end of His ministry) and the night Mary poured anointing oil on the head of her King. As we move through Holy Week - the week leading up to Easter - each day draws us to meditation on the goodness of Christ, His sacrifice, and the power of His resurrection. Monday in particular contains these two fascinating narratives, one emphasizing Christ's authority, the other a sacrificial anointing.
The temple cleansing is fascinating to me. Jesus cleansed the Temple twice - at the beginning and end of His ministry. Clearly, the moneychangers went right back to what they were doing after Jesus came through with his whip (John 2). Three years later, there they still are, exchanging money and charging exorbitant rates.
Jesus hated their injustice, of course; but He cleansed the Temple for other reasons, too. His cleansing of the Temple twice was intentional and significant, and I tend to think it is rooted in Leviticus. Here's a quote from an interesting article on the topic:
“…there were two separate cleansings of the Temple, and there is a better explanation for them. What lies behind these separate instances is Jesus fulfilling the role of the High Priest visiting and inspecting the touch of affliction/corruption in the house. This is described in Leviticus 14:33–53. It accounts for the multiple visitations and the repeated act of removing the corruption, then finally pronouncing the house (temple) unclean and decreeing the total destruction of the house. It also fits in with Jesus’ mission against Jerusalem."
In summary, Jesus visited the Temple twice in the same way as the High Priest in Leviticus visited a corrupted home: He observed the disease of greed. He cleansed it. Then after a period of time He returned to see whether the corruption had spread. It had.
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The final Temple cleansing is different from the first. Jesus' words are harsher; He concludes later on by saying the Temple would be destroyed, not a stone on top of another (Mark 13)… just like a corrupted house in Leviticus. In its place a new Temple of God's Spirit is built: the Church. 
“As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 2:4-5
After this expression of His priestly authority, Jesus makes His way to the evening meal, where Mary anoints Him with precious oil. Here is what I shared about this on Instagram:
"Mary’s offering of oil, poured out on Jesus’ head and feet, was worth 300 denarii. A denarius was a day’s wages, meaning that Mary’s offering was the equivalent to almost an entire years’ salary. Many scholars believe this alabaster jar of perfume was her dowry.
On Holy Monday we remember many events of Jesus’ life: the Temple cleansing, the cursing of the fig tree, but perhaps most of all… Mary’s offering. If the oil was Mary’s dowry, she didn’t just pour perfume on Jesus. She poured out her future."
Exodus 40:12-15 describes the process of anointing a high priest:
"Bring Aaron and his sons to the entrance to the tent of meeting and wash them with water.  Then dress Aaron in the sacred garments, anoint him and consecrate him so he may serve me as priest.  Bring his sons and dress them in tunics.  Anoint them just as you anointed their father, so they may serve me as priests. Their anointing will be to a priesthood that will continue throughout their generations.”
We usually assume Mary was anointing Jesus for burial, and that may be true. But what if her anointing was actually, or additionally, a fulfillment of Christ's high priestly role – as expressed in the Temple cleansing? I'm no academic and this is just speculation. But the parallels between the priestly duties (purification of the corrupt house) and the priestly anointing (consecration for eternal priesthood) are there. 
Regardless of whether Jesus was anointed by Mary for burial or as a symbol of His fulfillment of the high priestly role, one thing stands out to me: He was anointed by a woman. I've overlooked this fact due to my familiarity with the story. I usually focus on the cost of the perfume, like the disciples did. I miss the beauty of a Savior who allowed a woman to anoint Him for the task ahead. A woman who probably didn't know why she was doing it… she just knew that she loved Him. And that was enough. 
What a Savior we serve! Mary's love for Him was honored and seen. And for Mary, the cost of the perfume - likely her life savings or dowry or both - was nothing compared to the presence of her Lord. The Priest of Priests.
Holy Week serves to remind us of many things, but this account reminds me of the infinite value and importance of the Old Testament, the attentive love of our Savior, and an important truth: no matter what things I depend on for security, Christ is always more. 
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Dimpled knees dangle from His lap.
Bright eyes latched
on His every parable.
Carpenter’s hands
on tousled heads—
“I hate kids,” we tweet, and laugh.
And He looks at us.
Bending knees with dirty seams.
Torn red dress
by Pharisees encircled.
Adulterer’s eyes filled with tears—
“Should’ve kept her legs closed,”
we whisper, and laugh.
And He looks at us.
Scraping knees dangled from a tree
just to catch
His every parable.
Collector’s hands on cheated coins—
“Stupid liberals" / “Right-wing idiots”
we post and laugh.
And He looks at us.
On His knees, sweating drops bright red,
“Pass this cup,”
His Gethsemane prayer.
Crucified hands to heal a world.
“All this for you...”
He breathes, and dies—
Looking at us.
When did compassion
become a synonym
for compromise?
It’s the strongest thing
I’ve ever seen.
The Strongest Thing I've Ever Seen, PDM

My Favorites in the Shop This Week

  • The new lemon cake mix in Verity Home! This is a recipe refined by our very own team, packed on site in small batches. I love having mixes like this on hand for hosting since we have people visiting the house 2-3x a week!
  • Reframing Pregnancy and Birth: this little booklet will, I hope, set a lot of women free from fearful narratives about birth being “cursed”.
  • Heirloom Bookstand: This sits on our dining room table with all our card sets for verse memory, sibling reconciliation, and prayer. Adjustable to different sizes!
  • Honeycomb Hand Soap: Verity Home is our line for easy hosting and hospitality. We love partnering with Hickory Grove for small batch, goats milk soaps.
  • Every Woman a Theologian Book: Add the workbook if you like! This book was my favorite to write: an accessible, approachable systematic theology for laypeople, outlining different theological viewpoints and how they impact us.
  • Raising Tiny Disciples: A simple walk through Deuteronomy 6 for mamas of littles (age 1-10): how to practically equip yourself to disciple your kids as you come, go, sit and rise.
  • How the Bible Came to Be: A summary of the history of the canon of Scripture and why we can trust it.  All books also available as ebook PDFs on our site.
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What I'm Listening To

In a little change-up from my book list, here is what I've been listening to lately!
  • Christian Theology 3rd Edition by Millard Erickson
    • This one is tough to wade through at times and it's been slow going (only 44 hours left, ha!) but he is clear enough I can still track with what he's saying. I wish I'd listened to my textbooks in college… I'm retaining way more!
  • Glass Houses by Louise Penny
    • I finally picked back up in the Three Pines series after a long (unintended) break! I am on book 13 and she has written 2 books since I stopped. If you like mystery, you might like this series (warning: language).
  • 10 Minutes to a Better Homeschool by Pam Barnhill
    • This podcast is so good, I don't want to miss an episode! Great for beginners and experienced HSers alike.
  • You're Not Crazy by Ray Ortlund
    • This podcast for young pastors/ministers has been helpful to me.
  • The New Mason Jar Podcast (also see A Literary Life)
    • Mason Jar is more about homeschooling, literary life about reading.
  • Lamplighter Kids Podcast
    • My kids beg for this podcast! We also love Greeking Out and Tiny Theologians.
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At Home with Phylicia

I shared these last week but I want to link them again for the new members of my email community! Here are some great resources for Holy Week.
  • Don't miss my free Hope for Holy Week Guide! It will walk you through every day of Holy Week from Palm Sunday to Easter. Since you're getting this email on Holy Tuesday, you may have missed a few days - but that's ok! You can start where we are.
  • Check out this amazing Holy Week themed watercolor class from Brighter Day Press! My girls and I will be doing this over the next few weeks. (great for adults or kids!)
  • He is Risen / Nest Entertainment Animated Movie: I grew up on this one and it's still special to me. Kids can watch it on YouTube at the link.
  • Superbook: The Last Supper: Another good animated video for kids - mine love Superbook!
  • An interesting peek at the story of DaVinci's Last Supper
  • Some Easter books your library might have:
    • The Donkey Who Carried a King
    • God Gave Us Easter
    • Twas the Morning of Easter
    • Tale of Three Trees
    • The Story of Easter (Little Golden Book)
    • Jan Brett's The Easter Egg
    • Marshmallow by Clare Newberry
    • The Garden, the Curtain and the Cross
    • Bare Tree and Little Wind
for the awakening,