Summary: The anointing of the Lord by Mary was an act that was to be remembered, which affected everyone around, and was an evidence of her love. She gave her best to the Lord.
ANOINTING THE LORD
1 Six days before the Passover, Jesus arrived at Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. 2 Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honour. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. 3 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. 4 But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, 5 “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages." 6 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. 7 “Leave her alone," Jesus replied. "It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. 8 You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me."
In the anointing of the Lord Jesus by Mary, we have a wonderful narrative. Did Mary fully understand what she was doing? It is important to see the words of the Lord just here. The Lord said she did it for His burial!
Matthew 26:12 By pouring this fragrant oil on My body, she has prepared Me for burial. [Holman]
Did she really understand? The Lord stated that He was going to be betrayed and crucified.
Matthew 26:2 "You know that two days from now will be Passover. That is when the Son of Man will be handed over to his enemies and nailed to a cross." [CEV]
Let us look at the account concerning this great gift.
I. A GIFT OF GRATITUDE
Lazarus, Mary’s brother, had been raised from the dead by the Lord Jesus just a few days earlier. I feel sure that Mary, and Martha her sister would have been extremely grateful for the raising of their brother Lazarus from the dead.
We also have much to be grateful for
II Corinthians 9:15 thanks be to God for His Gift, [precious] beyond telling [His indescribable, inexpressible, free Gift]! [Amp]
II. IT WAS A GIFT OF LOVE
There can be no doubt of the love which Mary and her brother and sister had for the Lord Jesus – their home at Bethany was open to Him at any time. I wonder what the conversations were about when He stayed with them. Did He recount the miracles that had taken place? Did He repeat the discourses?
This love was a mutual love.
John 11:5 Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. [They were His dear friends, and He held them in loving esteem.] [Amp]
The love that Jesus was showing to them is the same love He shows to all His ‘friends’. Let us remember that
I John 4:9-11 God showed his love for us when he sent his only Son into the world to give us life. 10 Real love isn’t our love for God, but his love for us. God sent his Son to be the sacrifice by which our sins are forgiven. 11 Dear friends, since God loved us this much, we must love each other. [CEV]
I John 4:19 We love Him, because He first loved us. [Amp]
III. IT WAS A GIFT OF WORSHIP
This was true abandoned worship. She did not care for those who looked on and criticised. We can get side-tracked by our concern for others coming before our concern for the Lord! We say ‘What will they think’, instead of ‘What will He think’!
In our worship, let us know something of this abandonment!
I Chronicles 16:29 Ascribe to the LORD the glory of His name; bring an offering and come before Him. Worship the LORD in the splendour of [His] holiness; [Holman]
He is wonderful! Praise him and bring an offering into his temple. Worship the LORD, majestic and holy. [CEV]
We can only use words like that if our eyes are focused on the Lord, and not on people.
IV. IT WAS A FRAGRANT GIFT
Kings were anointed; Priests were anointed. In feasts, the guest of honour was often anointed by the host as a sign of esteem. This was certainly a sign of the esteem with which Mary held the Lord Jesus.
In Luke 7, we have a similar happening, but the host, Simon, neglected the courtesies of the day, but the woman who was criticised so much was willing to show her appreciation and love for the Lord.
44 He turned toward the woman and said to Simon, "Have you noticed this woman? When I came into your home, you didn’t give me any water so I could wash my feet. But she has washed my feet with her tears and dried them with her hair. 45 You didn’t greet me with a kiss, but from the time I came in, she has not stopped kissing my feet. 46 You didn’t even pour olive oil on my head, but she has poured expensive perfume on my feet