John 12:1-11 ~ Jesus Anointed at Bethany
I always appreciate those folks who seem to be great gift givers. The gifts they give are not frivolous, but heartfelt, thoughtful and tend to make you feel loved beyond measure. In our scripture passage, it seemed Mary knew how to give the most amazing gift to Jesus, though others branded her as wasteful and foolish for doing so.
The story surrounds a dinner party at Lazarus’s house in which Jesus was the guest of honor, and rightfully so. After all, Jesus had just raised Lazarus from the dead! (See John chapter 11). Amidst the bustle of the dinner party, a remarkable display of unfettered adoration took place. Mary wandered up to the guest of honor, Jesus, knelt before him and lavishly poured a whole 12 ounce jar of spikenard perfume onto Jesus' feet and then wiped His feet with her hair. (See Mark 14:3 re: the alabaster jar).
The fragrance of this spicy perfume filled the house, making Mary’s selfless, spontaneous act of extravagant adoration impossible to miss. In fact, Judas’ response to the situation was the exact opposite: a more selfish, prideful desire to keep money for himself rather than give the very best to honor Jesus that day.
Mary’s offering was not a waste at all as she was doing what no one else in history would have been able to do… she anointed Jesus for burial. (NB – the ladies at the tomb that Easter morning went to anoint Jesus’ body for burial, but He had already risen). Mary acted out of an intuitive desire to worship that made Jesus feel loved beyond measure and Jesus defended her for it.
Though she was not wasteful, it did cost her. It cost her dignity to bow, let her hair down and wash the feet of Jesus. It cost her social standing. It would have been tough to be misunderstood by anyone while being worshipping this way, but one of Jesus’ own disciples called her out for it. It also cost Mary her security. A whole year’s wages were poured out on Jesus feet, but seeing as how Jesus raised her brother from the dead, surely He also had the authority and resource to provide for her every need. Security lost … no.
We may not have an alabaster jar full of expensive perfume to offer Jesus in worship, but we do have a precious commodity worth pouring out and that is our very lives stored in these jars of clay
(2 Cor. 4:7-9). If we will follow the prompting of the Holy Spirit, giving the sacrifice of our priceless worship to God by offering our lives to Him, it will be like pouring out the perfume of heaven that no one could miss. (2 Corinthians 2:14-16)
May we be willing to pour ourselves out in worship to the One who alone is worthy of it all !!