“Six days before the Passover, Jesus arrived at Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. Then Mary took about a pint 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. But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.” He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it. “Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. “It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.” Meanwhile a large crowd of Jews found out that Jesus was there and came, not only because of him but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. So the chief priests made plans to kill Lazarus as well, for on account of him many of the Jews were going over to Jesus and putting their faith in him. ” (John 12:1–11, NIV)Martha and Mary. We are first introduced to these sisters in Luke’s gospel where we find them bickering with one another for “not doing their part”. Actually it was Martha who was bickering because Mary is just sitting at Jesus’ feet. Jesus rebukes Martha's harsh words and explains that Mary has made the better choice.
Apparently she got the message because we see them here again with a different outcome. Martha is still serving and Mary is still at Jesus’ feet.
But there is no rebuke from Jesus this time because the service that Martha is rendering was never the problem…it was the heart behind the service. Last time she was complaining because Mary wouldn’t help. This time, she allowed Mary to worship at His feet while she worshiped by serving Him at His table. There is a new attitude of humility and meekness with Martha, and it has made all the difference in the world.
But, Mary is not only at the feet of Jesus. She has taken a vile of very expensive perfume which John tells us it was worth about 300 denarii – the equivalent to about one year’s wage. Mary takes it, breaks open a $30,000 bottle of perfume, and used it to wash the feet of Jesus.
Judas, a thief, sees money he could have pilfered, go down the drain and so he protests. Jesus turns His rebuke to Judas this time and says, “Leave her alone. She has saved this for the day of my burial.”…..
Did she? Did she know that in just 7 days, Jesus would be crucified?
No, probably not. But it is likely that she had saved this perfume for a special occasion. Some suggest maybe it was the dowry she would need in order to marry. What we do know, is that this is no small gesture. It is a self sacrificing act of adoration and Jesus uses it to reveal to His disciples what was coming.
Mary used it as an act of love. Jesus used it to reveal the ultimate act of love…His death on their behalf.
Stop and think about the 4 individuals in this scene and their interaction with Jesus: Mary, Martha, Lazarus and Judas. Three are worshiping, one is not.
Martha, still serving, but with a changed heart. In humble gratitude, she looks at Jesus with affection and expresses her love in preparing a meal for Him to eat.
Lazarus, the man Jesus raised from the dead, is probably looking at Him and still wondering, “How did you do that?” Do you think he was worshiping? Most definitely! He knew firsthand the power of God and something tells me he was still in awe.
And Mary… such self sacrificing adoration. She just gave more than a bottle of perfume for Jesus. She gave Him all her hopes and dreams.
But then there is Judas. He’s not worshiping because he is more concerned about what he could gain than what he could give.
Now you tell me, which one are you? A worshiper who eyes are fixed on Jesus…serving with your hands, serving with your testimony of His power, serving with your obedient love.
Or are you more concerned about what you can gain than what you can give?