Summary: When was the last time that you connected the dots and realized that you’re being here today is because of what Jesus did on the cross for you? How have you expressed your gratitude and praise?
From the party at Bethany to the peace at Ephraim
After Jesus raised Lazarus to life the village of Bethany went ballistic. A man named Simon the Leper threw a party in honor of Jesus with Lazarus at the head table. I think we can assume that Simon the Leper was a former Leper who had also felt the healing power of Jesus at some earlier point.
The party is going on and people are coming and going there are all kinds of well wishers greeting Lazarus and checking him out. Then Mary approaches Jesus in the middle of all this commotion and she takes a very expensive bottle of perfume and pours it over Jesus head and feet. Then she wipes Jesus feet with her hair.
The room goes quiet and we hear someone protesting. It’s Judas saying that this is all a waste. This perfume could have been sold for a great amount of money and the money given to the poor. Jesus comes to her defense.
She has done a beautiful thing to me – Jesus says. Matthew 26:10
The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me. 12 When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. 13 I tell you the truth, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her. Matthew 26:11-13
Mary may have been saving that bottle of perfume for her wedding day. It was worth a whole year’s wages. Her brother has been raised from the dead before her very eyes and she knows who Jesus is. Without a doubt she alone knows that Jesus is preparing for His death and resurrection in Jerusalem. The Apostles missed it even though Jesus foretold it three times to them. Only Mary connected the dots.
She was so moved by what she now realized that she broke that alabaster box of expensive perfume in order to anoint Jesus before His death.
When was the last time that you connected the dots and realized that you’re being here today is because of what Jesus did on the cross for you? How have you expressed your gratitude and praise?
Mary exceeds the Disciples in understanding and in spiritual maturity. She has only been on the fringe of things not part of the inner circle of the twelve. But she is the only one to comprehend the magnitude of the moment. For this reason Jesus puts her act of love into the gospel record forever.
That’s some honor to be mentioned by Jesus by name. To be singled out for an act of love that touched the heart of God. Friend we too can be remembered in a similar way all we need do is break our alabaster boxes and pour them out for God.
What precious thing can you pour out for Jesus? How about your heart?
Mary demonstrates her humility by wiping Jesus feet with her hair. By this act she would at least have the fragrance of the perfume with her for a little while. Jesus would be taken from her – willingly – becoming for her a far greater gift than she could ever imagine.
Jesus would become the resurrection in her life but for that brief moment she could give something to him.
The Bible goes on to tell us that Jesus had to leave Bethany because those who wanted to kill him were also after Lazarus. How absolutely ludicrous was their thinking. Kill Jesus and kill Lazarus and that will kill the story was their reasoning.
Jesus slipped away for now and went from Bethany to Ephraim. It was a place of peace set in the hill country. It was where Jacob saw God send down a ladder from heaven and where Jacob anointed a stone and called out to God for peace as he ran away from his father –in-law Laban.
Bethel was a place of peace and for Jesus it must have provided some needed time alone as He prepared for His final Passover. Ephraim was also a dividing line. It was the line that separated the divided kingdom when Israel was the northern kingdom and Judah & Benjamin made up the Southern kingdom.
No doubt Jesus wanted to bring all the Jews together again by His sacrifice but they missed seeing him as Messiah. Instead he stayed in the land of the 10 lost tribes waiting to ride into the Holy City in the hopes of saving whomever he could.
My friends are you in the land of the lost today or are you residents of the Holy City – the New Jerusalem?
Jesus has weighed the cost and just like that beautiful alabaster box He is ready to be broken for you and spilled out. You can know the fragrance of a new life in Christ and you can know the power of His resurrection today.