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.