Summary: Anointing of Jesus feet - an extravigant deonstration of Love - Worship
Throughout history there have been people who have done extravagant things in the name of love.
There was Prince Reinier of Monaco that gave up his opportunity to be king, and he gave it up to marry the American Grace Kelly. And she gave up her acting carrier. Not exactly roughing it.
How about what people spend on weddings these days. I don’t think I want to know what my sisters cost. But it is not too uncommon to hear about people spending $20K on their daughters wedding.
I don’t know about you but I read something like that and I think what a waste. I won’t eve tell you what I think about people that spend a million which is rare. Perhaps you should know I still have less than positive thoughts.
In our scripture today, Jesus is at a dinner party in Bethany the home town of Lazarus, Martha and Mary. While today’s reading does not tell us who’s house it is. Matthew and mark say it was at Simon the Leper’s home, a Pharisee. Some believe that it is a celebration after Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. The whole pervious chapter of John is all about that incident. Jesus delay in returning, the fear of the disciples. The reaction of the family and crowds. Also the negative reaction of the Religious leaders.
This is a party in Jesus honor. Martha and Mary are there. They seem to have their characteristic personality traits. Martha is helping to serve the meal and Mary ends up out in the room with all the men.
We don know how they met, but these three people a brother and two sisters were friends of Jesus. Their home was a place that he and his group could drop in on and get a home cooked meal. No direct demands were placed on Jesus. We know that he did teach when he was in their home. But is seems like a place away from the crowds, like going home to be spoiled by family.
In today’s picture, the bulk of the meal is probably over.
"Now where has Mary run off to?" Martha sighs. "Time to clean the table off for dessert and no Mary; I’ll just have to do it myself." Mary finally returns balancing an urn on her palms. Her chin steadies the slender vase neck. She sets the urn down.
Mary takes an expensive Perfume and pours it on Jesus feet, and wipes his feet with her hair.
Sounds a little bit radical. Maybe the perfume lady at the big department stores comes to mind, standing there in the main entrance wanting to hose everyone down with High dollar toilet water.
I avoid the person and refuse if I get trapped.
I would guess that Jesus could have said hold up little lady. Go on back to the kitchen and help the ladies. Maybe it was a sneak attack where she surprised him.
But as normal Mary has jumped out of line culturally. This is probably not her home, She is in someone else’s home, this means that Jesus is not her guest.
The time she was sitting at his feet listening, and Jesus tells Martha that Mary is fine, was a little different time and place. Mary had crossed a line then but this time she went even farther.
What she does next was taboo for a respectable woman - she loosens her hair in a room full of men. No one does that in polite company, except . . . you know, those kind of women. Just as unorthodox, she pours this expensive perfume on Jesus’ feet.
Then she touches him. Rabbis do not allow single women to caress their feet. Not even among friends. And to end an already bizarre story, Mary uses her hair instead of a paper towel to wipe the extra balm from his feet.
Only sinners, women of the night, unnamed strangers do such things.
But Mary we know. She’s no stranger, no infamous sinner. Mary is just a friend. Jesus loves Lazarus, Martha, and Mary; they all love him.
But why act like this in front of everyone? Why such waste?
Mary must have gone off the deep end. No one knows quite what to do.
"Well, let me just say that I’ve never in all my life seen such a thing. What a complete misuse of that expensive nard. Shame on you, Mary," Judas scolds. "Haven’t you looked around and seen all of the poor people we’re trying to help? And you go and blow this valuable product on Jesus. God pity your soul."
Judas is right-the pure nard is very, very expensive. In fact, a day laborer and his family could live a year on that much money.