Summary: A brief study in Mary the sister of Lazarus.
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’ honor. 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 moneybag, 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."
Mary, Mary, quite contrary,
How does your garden grow?
With silver bells and cockleshells,
And pretty maids all in a row.
1. Mary was one of the few who understood that Jesus was more important. James and John were fighting to see who would sit at His right hand. Judas was wanting to force Jesus into taking the throne. Peter was too busy jumping to conclusions and running off at the mouth. Martha was trying to make sure all the housework got done. And, most of the others were just trying to figure out what was going on.
But Mary, Mary understood that she was a witness to something greater than anything else she had ever seen, and she wasn’t about to miss a minute of it if she could help it. She knew that time spent with Jesus was more important than any chores and more valuable than any amount of money.
2. She was willing to sacrifice her time and possessions for Jesus even at the ridicule of her friends and family. I can imagine that Martha and the disciples might have called Mary impulsive or irresponsible. After all she should have been helping her sister with the housework, and she wasted a very expensive bottle of ointment to do something that seemed quite pointless.
She was one of the first to worship at the feet of Jesus, she loved him and devoted everything that she had to him.
I can picture Mary anointing Jesus
Something begins stirring inside of her. So she begins looking around the house for something. Searching knowing that she’ll know what she’s looking for when she finds it. She spots the jar of burial perfume in the bedroom. “Martha is going to kill me, after all it was father’s. I don’t care, I must do this.”
Gingerly she picks it up and carries it through the house, unnoticed by all she takes her seat at Jesus’ feet. Carefully she breaks the sealed neck off the jar, some begin to notice that Mary is doing something, others begin to smell the perfume.
Slowly she takes his foot and begins to pour the perfume on it. Worshipfully she takes her hair and works the perfume into his skin. Prayerfully she anoints him.
By this time everyone is watching Mary, and murmuring is spreading through the room. Some ask what she is doing? Some complain about the smell, and others realize that she is wasting an expensive bottle of perfume on Jesus’ feet.
But Mary, Mary simply worships her Lord, not caring about anything else, she simply worships.
3. Do we understand that Jesus is more important? Do we truly understand that time spent with Jesus, in his presence is more important than other thing that we can do? Time to truly sit at Jesus’ feet is priceless.
4. Are we willing to sacrifice our time and possessions for Jesus even at the ridicule of our friends and family? Mary sacrificed a year’s wages to anoint Jesus. Even at minimum wage that jar of ointment would have cost $10,000. How many of us value Jesus more than $10,000? Would you waste it washing his feet? Would you give it up if he asked?
5. How have we sat at Jesus’ feet? In our lives how do we sit at Jesus’ feet? What is it that we do that brings us into the presence of the Master, the teacher? Are we too concerned with the things that need to be done or our position to concern ourselves with what Jesus has to tell us?
6. How have we anointed Jesus? What do we do to anoint Jesus’ feet? Jesus wants for us to love him recklessly. He wants us to worship him without thinking about anything else but him. He wants us to follow him without thinking about the consequences. Mary was probably called a silly girl when she anointed Jesus’ feet. How many of us have been called silly because of the way that we love Jesus?