We spent most of the day sitting and listening to Jesus teaching. We were in Bethany for the day. A man named Simon, who had previously had leprosy, invited Jesus to his house for dinner. The dinner was held in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, Lazarus, the disciples and we were among those who were present.
We were eating our dinner and conversing about day to day events. As we were talking, Mary, Martha and Lazarus’ sister, came in and knelt at Jesus’ feet. She had a twelve-ounce alabaster jar of perfume. She opened the perfume and poured it over Jesus’ feet wiping it with her hair. The house was filled with the beautiful fragrance.
I know we have seen this before. I completely understood why Mary did this. She and Jesus were very close. Mary spent many hours just listening to Jesus, taking in everything he said. I too, am like Mary, I want to spend every waking hour with him. Martha was always busy in the kitchen, baking, serving and cleaning. She talked to Jesus in between her busyness, and she thought Mary was lazy for not helping her. Martha was not wrong with being busy, it was where her heart was at the time. I have learnt busyness is okay as long as it doesn’t trump my time with Jesus.
Mary was very upset when Lazarus had died. She poured out her heart to Jesus. Of course, we know Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. He is here eating with us. She was beyond grateful for Lazarus’ new life. She had her brother with her again.
The disciples, again, became angry. They didn’t understand what Mary was doing or why. I guess it’s because they are men and they don’t understand our emotions, but nevertheless, they started scolding her. Judas Iscariot shouted at Mary and said, “What a waste! The perfume could have been sold for a high price and the money given to the poor!”
Judas Iscariot didn’t care much about the poor. He was known for being a thief and even though he was in charge of our finances, he was often known for stealing some of our money for himself.
True, the bottle of perfume was very expensive, a luxury which came from far away Asia. Usually these types of perfumes were given as a family heirloom which was not to be sold but prized and saved. It was kept in an alabaster jar to preserve it.
Mary gave everything valuable to Jesus today. She poured out her all in an act of worship and honor. Why couldn’t the disciples just leave her alone?
Jesus looked at the disciples with a look a father gives his children when they misbehave. He said to them, “Why are you fussing about what this woman is doing for me? You will always have the poor with you, but you won’t always have me. She has poured the perfume on me to prepare my body for burial. This woman’s deed will be remembered wherever the Good News is preached.”
I thought, “Well, that told them. They should be rejoicing in what Mary has done.”
Then I thought about what he said again. He said, “She was preparing my body for burial.” Does this mean his time for his death is coming soon? I surely hope not. I have learnt so much from him.
As I was in mid thought, people came flocking in to see Jesus and Lazarus. They had heard the news Jesus was there and they wanted to see both him and Lazarus who was raised from the dead. The leading priests in the area came in as well and I overheard them talking about killing Lazarus as well as Jesus! They said it was because of Lazarus’ resurrection many people deserted their traditions to follow Jesus. They could not have this happening.
I began to worry about Jesus and his safety. I prayed that God would protect Jesus and keep him safe.
*The perfume Mary used is worth approximately $15,000!
*This type of perfume was usually offered on the specialized incense altar in the tabernacle.
For further study:
Matthew 26:6-13; Mark 14:3-9; John 12:1-11