“Mary brought in a pint of very expensive perfume made from pure nard. She poured the perfume on Jesus’ feet, and then she wipted his feet with her hair. And the sweet smell from the perfume filled the whole house” John 12:3
6 days before Jesus’ crucifixion, before he could cry out “It is finished” , he stopped by Simon the leper’s house along with his disciples and other invitees to eat. Many times, He had told his disciples of a day coming when He was to be handed over to be killed. Of course– they did not grasp it or understood why he had to die. For it was for this very purpose that He came.
His destination was Simon the leper’s house. But not any longer, just Simon. No doubt he was well received at Simon’s house. The host was personally touched by the Lord. No longer was he spending long hours in quarantine – now there were joyous times in the company of loved ones. Now he could be touched and hugged by his family. Jesus healed him and he was able to be part of society again – this time in his own house, full of friends and laughter with the Lord as his personal guest.
A life totally changed by a loving Saviour who came to heal the sick and saved the lost. Simon knew it first hand and He probably made sure that Jesus knew that He could stop by in Bethany at his house any time. In the days that were ahead, Jesus was to go to many other homes such as the high priest and Pilate’s –not as a welcome guest but to be interrogated and insulted. Imagine – God was in Pilate’s home and He could not see him.
Same house and behind Jesus came a woman. Her Mary was Mary. Contrary to the disciples’ refusal to believe that Jesus would be crucified, Mary came with the intent to anoint Jesus with her very expensive perfume for his burial. She believed Jesus when he spoke of his death while others doubted. We are told that the perfume was worth a year’s wages but she believed that her Lord was worth it and more. So she gave all she had. Lazarus was in the gathering – perhaps she looked at her brother and pondered the miraculous event when Jesus ordered him to come forth – and out he came with his grave clothes still on. Her own brother was given a second chance at life just like Simon.
What prompted Mary to do such a great gesture? Did she always carry the vial of perfume with there? Why that particular day? Did she have some insight that the disciples did not?
Perhaps she said to herself – this is the perfect opportunity to anoint the Lord before his burial. Let your imagination take you to Simon’s house and witness this beautiful event that is still being spoken of thousand of years later just like Jesus predicted.
Walking behind Jesus as he reclined at the table (not tables like ours), so she was probably standing over him and may be all eyes were on her. A brave woman she was. The disciples were probably wondering what she was doing after all she was a ‘woman’ and needed to be quiet while the ‘guys’ enjoyed the moment. As she poured the perfume over his head and I imagined it running down his shoulders then his back as the fragrance filled the whole house. Yes, she was mocked and rebuked for not using the perfume for a better cause. But she poured out her affection and love for her Jesus. So appreciate was the Lord that she rushed to her rescue telling the ‘know-better-ones’ to hush and ‘leave her alone’.
Max Lucado in his book, ‘And the Angels Were Silent’ had this to say:
Jesus’ message is just as powerful today as it was then. Don’t miss it: “There’s a time for risky love. There is a time for extravagant gestures….And when the time comes – seize it, don’t miss it.”
Don’t leave it to SOMEDAY.
Lucado continues: The enemy of risky love is a snake whose tongue has mastered the talk of deception. ‘Someday’ – he hisses.
“Someday, I can take the cruise.”
“Someday, I will have time to call and chat.”
“Someday, the children will understand why I was so busy.”
But you know the truth, don’t you? Some days never come.
He concludes with ‘But the rewards of risky love are always greater than its cost.
Go ahead and invest the time to seize the opportunity to do something that’s been set for ‘someday’. It promises to bring joy.
May God richly bless you during the coming holy week!