Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus’ feet, and wiped them with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (the one who was about to betray him), said, “Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and the money given to the poor?” (He said this not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief; he kept the common purse and used to steal what was put into it.) Jesus said, “Leave her alone. She bought it so that she might keep it for the day of my burial. You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.” John 12:3 - 8 (NRSV)
In one totally unashamed act of worship Mary defined Christian discipleship. She brought what may have been the most expensive gift she could ever lay at/on Jesus’ feet – her spikenard perfume, and her heart’s devotion.
Warren Wiersbe wrote:
Mary’s example of devotion is one we should follow. She gave her best; she gave lavishly; she gave in spite of criticism; she gave lovingly.
Of course, when people act that way, falling at Jesus’ feet in total surrender, lavish praise and loving worship, criticism and conflict cannot be far behind. And how telling is the fact that Judas’ criticism centered on the cost of Mary’s gift – the money. Isn’t it always about the money? Judas said nothing about what wonderful praise was heaped upon the Son of God – only a high sounding (low motive) shot about wasting resources.
Notwithstanding, Mary’s gift filled the house with a sweet fragrance, and that is the whole point: our unselfish gifts of praise are what linger in heaven, no matter who condemns us on earth. Mary wiping Jesus’ feet with her hair seemed scandalous to earth-bound minds, but Jesus set it right; he said …leave her alone. And “right” it has stood for two thousand years…and on into eternity.
Good Story…what about us?
When is the last time you followed Mary to Jesus’ feet? Have you ever given something away – extravagantly, lavishly, and you just loved the giving…simply because of the love in your heart for Christ?
And perhaps it is also right we ask the other question:
Has it been too often you followed Judas into that room? Have you criticized the spontaneous worship of others?
Can there be a more perfect setting than the upcoming season of Lent to engage in “giving-up” Judas-criticism in favor of Mary-praise?
Got any alabaster boxes around the house?