Although Mary wasn’t directly invited to this meal nobody said anything when she entered the room behind them. Thomas closed the door and joined the others around the setting.
Mary came around behind Jesus and removed the container from her pocket. She caressed the article as she remembered the day her father gave it to her. “This is to be kept for your wedding night.” He informed her.
She accepted the fact that Jesus was the Promised Messiah, so she knew they could never be husband and wife. She also believed in the deepest part of her heart that she could never love another man as sincerely and passionately as she did this individual. She only wished to find a man who would stand up for her half as much as Jesus did. She knew that once she began this event there would be no turning back, all the contents would have to be used.
She raised the delicate jar over Jesus’ head and, with dedicated determination, broke it. The richness of the perfume quickly overpowered the body odor of the men in the room.
Jesus closed His eyes as the oil ran down his hair and beard.
Once the jar was empty Mary recoiled to the feet of the reclining Messiah. Her mind relived the time Jesus assured everyone that she was giving her best when she listened to His every word while Martha served the meal alone. The resurrection of their brother, Lazarus, from the dead couldn’t be forgotten; especially so soon after the miracle. All this after He forgave her of her past terrible life-choices that she thought she would never live down in the town of Bethany.
When Mary opened her eyes she saw that her tears had fallen on Jesus’ feet. For absence of a towel she used her own hair to wipe the fluid off. Her lips made contact with His skin, she instinctively repeated the kiss.
Judas Iscariot sat up. “Why waste this expensive item like this? It could have been sold for a year’s wages and the money given to the poor!”
Jesus opened His eyes and glanced at each man. He knew they all had a similar question. “Leave this woman alone! She’s preparing my body for burial, don’t take that away from her. You’ll always have the poor to worry about. I’ll be gone soon. She’s doing what needs to be done while I’m with you.”
Jesus looked into each disciple’s eyes. “As your Rabbi you should have anointed my head and washed my feet when we came in here, but neither of you did. She has done both with all she has, even using her own tears as washing water and her hair as a towel. I assure you she has done a great thing.”
Judas left the room without excusing himself.
All four Gospel writers present an anointing of Jesus by a woman. Only John specifies Lazarus’s sister Mary as the woman. Luke’s account occurs earlier in Jesus’s ministry than do the other’s. John places it preceding the triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Matthew and Mark put it just before the last supper. It’s unclear as to whether there was only one such anointing or a few. I’ve merely attempted to combine elements from each account to come up with a version to fit this blog.
I wasn’t sure exactly where to start my treatment of the Easter story until I began reading the Bible. Jesus told me in scripture where I was to begin. Matthew 26:13 and Mark 14:9 are identical verses where Jesus says that “wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her.” I may be dense, sometimes, but I caught the directive to me this time.
I’m pretty sure that Mary’s father was well-off, how else would she obtain such an expensive flask of oil. Her Dad probably died before he had a chance to arrange for her husband to be determined (a common practice in those days). Perhaps a man enticed her into a cheap relationship at some point to fulfill her desire to be accepted. But, then, when Jesus came along and forgave her of her indiscretion… how could she not give herself totally to Him?
I can see Mary’s desire to anoint Jesus coming from her deepest heart-felt longing to express her gratitude for her Savior. I don’t think see knew how close they were to Jesus’s death. Only Jesus knew that detail and the fact that there wasn’t going to be enough time for all of the proper embalming of the body to take place before Sabbath began. Hence His comment about her preparing His body for burial. The smell of the perfume likely lingered on Him through the entire crucifixion.
The part that Jesus admired the most about Mary’s anointing was the fact that she held nothing back. The oil container was constructed in such a way that it had to be broken to be opened. Once the flask that held the perfume was broken there would be no way to recapture it for future use. Her tears were ones of intense gratitude. Perhaps she recalled Jesus’s own tears at the death of her brother just before Jesus demanded that the grave stone be rolled away so He could demonstrate His power over death.
What about you? What are you holding back from Jesus? Is there something keeping you from giving Jesus your all today? Those are probably unfair questions since we’re usually blinded to our own motivations. Pray for God’s wisdom in your heart as you search your soul for the answer. I find it best to find a place of solitude, just me and Jesus. A chance to talk out loud with no other human listening. Others may see advantage in talking it over with a trusted personal confidant who knows you well.
What ever approach works best for you do it. Jesus desires a deep relationship with you. Hold nothing back!
I’ll see you later. Wade