“Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. 2 Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. 3 Then Mary took about a pint[a] of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.” John 12.1-3
Written through the eyes of Martha….
“I smelled the perfume before I saw it. I was in the kitchen, as usual, doing that which the Lord had called and gifted me to do. I was preparing the meal, entertaining the guests, making sure everyone had every thing they needed. Because of Jesus’ popularity, the house was packed with people. Friends, strangers, guests and dignitaries. Anyone who Jesus had invited, or just showed up. Jesus had a way of attracting all kinds of people. All levels of life. From the rich to the poor, they were all in my house.
“But the smell was amazing! So fragrant, so rich, so beautiful to the nostrils. It crept up from the corners of the main living room and before long it consumed not just that room but the entire house. Like a flowering spring bouquet, the floral sensation was everywhere.
“So naturally, I went to find the source of the smell and that’s when I saw here. My sister, Mary. Doing what I would never do. Doing the impossible. Embarrassing herself again, as her star-struck eyes saw no one but Jesus. She was already known for “not working” and sitting at the feet of the Teacher. She often left me to do all the work while she sat like a man at his feet listening to his teachings. This was not acceptable. Why was I always left with the work to do?
“And that’s when I saw her — Mary, kneeling before the Teacher, wiping his feet with her own hair. Unbelievable. In front of everyone. Did she have no shame? She had apparently used the whole jar of nard. Not just a few drops, an appropriate anointing, but a whole pound! Mary took it all, broken it open, poured it liberally on Jesus’ feet and now was wiping his feet with her hair. Was she singing? Was she crying? Silence. Total stillness. Nothing moved, nothing stirred. Even Jesus appeared to have his eyes closed. Was he praying?
“And usually, I would be angry, so mad I could burst. But there was something different about this impulsive act that was more worship than waste. Mary, my sister, full of courage, grace and love, anointing the Teacher. And he wasn’t rejecting the offering. Rather, he seemed to be soaking it in. Moment by moment. Affection affirmed. Adoration adored. Grace on display.
“My brother Lazarus also sat at the table, reclining. Watching, waiting, observing. No one said a word for what seemed like eternity. It was just the overpowering smell of the perfume wafting up into the rafters and out into the night air and stillness. Worship. Reward. I dared not move, dared not breathe. For I did not want to miss a moment of what I’d remember for eternity– unabashed, unabated, uninhibited love. Worship for Jesus. The Teacher. Our Messiah. God among us…”
“O Lord God, you are good. I’d love to return to the moments of this scene when Martha watches Mary wash your feet, preparing your body for burial. They didn’t know what they were doing, that you would die and be raised again. Thank you Lord for allowing Mary to show such extravagance. I praise you Lord for allowing us to come before you. Broken, bent, ready to be restored. Weeping with tears of joy over the realization of our salvation. Come Holy Spirit, come. Into this moment. Capture our hearts. Win us for your cause. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen