The story of the anointing at Bethany is a passage of Scripture that has become very, very dear to me. Mary's passion and her unabashed pouring out of all that she had stir up in my heart such a longing and desire to come before Jesus just as she did, with all that my everyday coming and going has to offer. Let's head into the gospel of John together, sweet friends.
“Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany where Lazarus was, the one Jesus had raised from the dead. So they gave a dinner for him there; Martha was serving them, and Lazarus was one of those reclining at the table with him. Then Mary took a pound of perfume, pure and expensive nard, anointed Jesus' feet, and wiped his feet with her hair. So the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.
Then one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot (who was about to betray him), said, “Why wasn't this perfume sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” He didn't say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief. He was in charge of the money-bag and would steal part of what was in it.
Jesus answered, “Leave her alone; she has kept it for the day of my burial. For you always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.””John 12:1-7
I wonder at the boldness of Mary, coming before her Jesus with her alabaster box.
I wonder at the intimacy of her relationship with Jesus, fully God, fully man.
I wonder at her indubitable trust, faith, adoration... to approach her Savior with all that she had. An extravagant and inordinate gift that was at the same time... insufficient.
I wonder at how her heart must have pounded, how that must have been all that she heard as she moved toward Him.
I wonder if she could have even begun to grasp the enormity of what she had resolved to do, the immediate and unwavering obedience required to do something so inconceivable.
I wonder if all else simply fell away, vanished, as she gazed upon the Messiah, her First Love, King of her heart.
I wonder at the elation, the exhilaration of drawing near to Jesus. How exposed and vulnerable she must have been and yet how sheltered and covered she was in His presence.
I wonder at the hush in the room as the perfume was poured out, at the breathlessness of all present, how all eyes must have been fixed to the scene unfolding before them.
I wonder of the all-consuming love and joy that must have been burning in Mary’s heart as she wiped her Lord’s feet with her hair.
I wonder at His love overwhelming and filling and spilling out of her.
I imagine her brother’s miraculous resurrection fresh in her mind.
His body in the tomb, her Savior’s seemingly untimely arrival. How He was deeply moved by her sorrow, how He wept. How He called the dead to LIFE at the sound of His voice. His tender mercy, His loving kindness- forever and indelibly in her mind.
I imagine that every time she looked upon the life in her brother’s body, at his every breath and movement, she remembered what Jesus had done for him. For her. How could she repay Him?
Only her finest, most precious possession could do. And I wonder, as she broke open her most expensive treasure, as she sacrificed her alabaster box filled with pure and expensive nard, if she could have imagined His body broken in the ultimate sacrifice, His very life for His most cherished treasure- her heart and the hearts of all creation. The spotless, unblemished, ALL SUFFICIENT, perfect Lamb offered up so that WE can be reconciled to the Father forever. So that nothing stands between US and a HOLY GOD- the great I AM.
Jesus’ body was absolutely shattered and broken and His blood was poured out. His blood is poured out onto us so that our sin is washed away- it is GONE. So that we are dressed in His righteousness, so that we, too, are spotless. So that WE, once dead in our sin, can enjoy communion with our beautiful, holy God. So that we can have life to the full.
In that story of the anointing at Bethany in John 12, something that stood out to me was that it says after Mary anointed Jesus’ feet, ’So the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.’
The aroma of Mary’s gift, of her sacrifice, FILLED the house. The aroma was overwhelming to those present. And that aroma LINGERED, in Mary’s hair and on Jesus’ body in the days before His death, burial and resurrection.
I find it so interesting that in 2 Corinthians 2:15, Scripture says that WE are the FRAGRANCE of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.
Jesus told His disciples that Mary kept her perfume for the day of His burial. I wonder.. if her pouring out then was in preparation for His death.. I wonder then if OUR pouring out today could be in preparation for His return. In preparation for eternity with our Savior.
I wonder if we could be so enamored with Christ, if we could experience His love and power in such a way that the scent of His sacrifice on US would fill every place that we enter.
I wonder if His Great Love could enable us to live SO given that it commands the attention of everyone we encounter.
I wonder if we could trust Him to receive our time, treasures and talents and to then sow them into the growth of His Kingdom.
WRITTEN BY: Olivia Caldwell
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