￼John 12:1-8 reads:
“Then Jesus six days before the Passover came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, which had been dead, whom he raised from the dead. There they made him a supper; and Martha served: but Lazarus was one of them that sat at the table with him. Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odor of the ointment. Then said one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, which should betray him. Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor? This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein. Then said Jesus, Let her alone: against the day of my burying hath she kept this. For the poor always ye have with you; but me ye have not always.”
This story from the bible is a very popular one. It has been used in many sermons, bible studies, Sunday School classes, Retreat themes and Christian songs. It has great meaning, and symbolism. I call it one of those gifts of God that keeps on giving. A flower that continues to blossom. By that, I mean, it is one of those passages that you can get a profound lesson from every time.
Mary was the sister of Lazarus and Martha. She’s the same Mary who sat at the feet of Jesus in Luke 10:38-42, when her sister complained that she would not help with the meal preparations for Jesus. She’s also the same Mary, who, according to John 11:5, Jesus loved. Along with her brother Lazarus and sister Martha. The same Lazarus whom Jesus raised from the dead.
It suffices to say that the account of the passage above; the account of Martha, Mary, and the meal preparations; the account of Lazarus, his illness, his death, and his being brought back to life; one can infer that Mary was quite in awe of this man called Jesus.
She revered Him in a way that the others didn’t.
Her spirit was very inclined to His in a way that even her siblings were not.
She acknowledged who He was in a way that the others, even His disciples, did not.
Visualize the scenario for a moment.
Jesus is a guest in this house. The guest of honor. All His disciples were there. There were others there as well. From the text, we can infer that Martha and Mary were the only women there. The text also says that Martha, as in the passage from Luke 10, was the only one serving the guests.
So, imagine Mary. Imagine what was in her heart. Imagine what was upon her spirit. To – in the midst of all the people in that were present – take an ointment that was obviously of great value, get on her knees, wash the feet of Jesus with her tears.
￼Imagine where those tears came from. Tears from a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart; tears of gratitude; tears of relief; tears of love and adoration.
Then, she used her hair; her crown of glory; and wiped his feet. It was a gesture of humility. It was a gesture of complete self abnegation. It was a gesture of honor.
Then, she took the expensive oil. Oil that was worth 1 year’s wages, and anointed His feet.
Not only did she do all these things, she did them in a room full of people, without even noticing a single one of them.
The scripture tells us that Judas murmured about how wasteful she was. The oil should have been sold and the proceeds given to the poor. Knowing that he cared nothing for the poor. Jesus did respond for Mary. Honoring her for her gesture.
Mary heard nothing. She did not even falter. For all she knew, it was just she and Jesus in that room. Her spirit was focused on the only guest that mattered that day. The Messiah. Jesus.
There were many guests in that house that day. Martha knew that. Thats why she was busy serving. But, there was only one Guest of Honor. For all the honor that was given Christ by way of the attention, the best seat in the house that He must have been given, the food and drink that He must have been served, only one person honored Him spiritually during that gathering.
Only one person worshipped Him that day.
As out of place as she was.
As unothrodox as her actions were.
In spite of all the stares, disapproval, and criticism.
Oblivious to the judges and condemners.
Oblivious to the chatter.
Oblivious to the expectations of others.
Oblivious to the running around and the noise.
Mary worshipped Jesus. She Honored her Guest of Honor.
Not one request escaped her lips that day. She asked for no miracle; not one favor. It was a spiritual connection. She simply wanted to honor Him. For who He was. For what He was to her.
The tears from a broken and bound soul that had now been set free, her hair, a woman’s source of pride, used to wipe feet that were dirtied from much travel, and her most prized possession; an expensive jar of ointment. All used in a gesture of honor and gratitude that no words could ever express. In a setting far from ideal, but as impromptu, genuine and overwhelming, as can only be the case when the Spirit of Christ connects with our spirit. This was the Honor fit for a Savior. The Savior that was in their midst. That only this broken, saved, sinner, recognized.
￼Who is Jesus to you? What has He become to you?
Do you simply believe that He’s in your midst, or do you ‘See’ Him?
When He’s in your presence, when you’re in His presence, are you busying yourself with catering to Him, and to the crowds?
Does the criticism from the crowds about how you worship dissuade you?
Do their opinions affect your worship? Your focus? Your connection to Him?
The Spirit of Christ moved Mary, because she chose to focus on Him.
Are you ready to focus on Him? In the midst of the crowd of your enemies? Your brethren? Your busy life? Your needs? Your wants? Your struggles? Your doubts? Your sins?
Are you ready to come on bended knee to wash His feet with the tears of your repentance and contrition?
Are you ready to wipe them with the hair of your dignity, intelligence, pride, self affirming knowledge?
Are you ready to anoint them with your praise, your confessions, your adoration, your substance?
Are you ready to silence everything and everyone else in the room, and wholly acknowledge Him?
If you are, then, why are you still standing?
Now unto Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us. Unto Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all the ages. World without end, Amen.
As always, share your thoughts, that you might encourage your brethren.
The handmaid at His feet.