On the Road with Jesus: Mary Anoints Jesus
John 12:1-11 (Matthew 26:6-13 & Mark 14:3-9)
April 7, 2019
I hope that you have enjoyed listening to this series as much as I have enjoyed writing it. It is important for you to know that in writing these messages that I have given each person a back story. If this was a movie it would say, “Based on a true story.”
Each of these people have a story, Lazarus, the leper, the Rich Young Ruler, Zacchaeus and today Mary. I did however use some creativity with all of them. Their interactions with Jesus, those are from scripture. It is important that you read the actual story from the Bible, especially if you have children. It is important to know that we really don’t know if Zacchaeus was bullied as a kid. It is important to know that as a tax collector he was hated and despised by his fellow Jews and for Jesus to talk with him much less ask to go to his house was out of the realm of what was normal and accepted.
Today we hear the story of Mary. Not Mary the mother of Jesus but Mary the sister of Martha and Lazarus. This is not the first time Mary is mentioned. There is a previous encounter with Jesus. Martha forever the servant and Mary spending time at the feet of Jesus.
Jesus was definitely familiar with this family. They had a bond for sure. It was just weeks previous to this that Jesus had raised Lazarus. Passover was approaching. Jews from all over Palestine would be making the pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Jesus had come through Jericho where he had encountered Zacchaeus and Blind Bartimaeus. He was now very close to Jerusalem and was reunited with this special family.
This morning we hear from Mary as she encounters Jesus again on the road to Jerusalem.
On the Road with Jesus: Mary Anoints Jesus
John 12:1-11 (Matthew 26:6-13 & Mark 14:3-9)
April 7, 2019
The swing of emotions that I had experienced over those several weeks…..well, I’m not sure I can even put words to it. It kind of all goes back to when Lazarus got sick. He got sick and then he got really sick. His fever was so high. We had tried everything we knew how but he was just not getting any better.
We hated to send for Jesus because it just wasn’t overly safe for him to be so close to Jerusalem. We just felt like we didn’t have any other choice. He didn’t get here in time and my brother had died. In fact he had been dead for 4 days before Jesus got here.
I knew that Jesus could have healed him if he had been here. I had never expected him to bring my brother back from the dead. I mean, really, who does that except for God alone. If there had been any doubt before that Jesus was the Messiah, it had been erased. So many that had witnessed what had happened now too believed!
I guess Jesus sensed that it wasn’t safe because he left pretty quickly. Over the next couple of week there was always someone asking to hear the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. Wanting to hear from Lazarus what it was like to be dead.
Lazarus didn’t really have any recollection, all he really remembers was being sick and then hearing Jesus voice telling him to come out of the tomb. All, however marveled at the fact that he was dead and Jesus had raised him to life. We gave all the glory to God and we were quick to point out that we were sure Jesus was the Messiah.
There were others however that wanted to know where Jesus was. We were pretty sure that they were wanting to turn Jesus into the authorities. We weren’t totally sure where Jesus had gone other than we had heard he had gone north.
The Passover was coming up and everyone was already in Jerusalem or on their way. There was so much talk about Jesus. So many people were hopeful that Jesus would show himself again. Some wanted to take him into custody and others were waiting for the Messiah to become a leader that people would follow. Tensions and emotions were running very high by so many people.
As the Passover approached we knew Jesus was coming back. We heard about him coming into Jericho and eating and staying with a tax collector. I’m sure that upset plenty of people. A servant had come to us from the house of Simon the Leper who had arranged for Jesus and his followers to dine there. He wanted us to join as well.
The dinner was being held at the house of Simon the Leper who was obviously no longer a leper but one of many who had been healed by Jesus and now knew that Jesus was sent from God and he wanted to honor all the Jesus had done for him and for us.
We were happy to help prepare the meal and Martha as always was helping out with everything. That was Martha’s thing. She was such a servant, always giving, always helping. We were sisters and I loved her and my brother, Lazarus very much. Sometimes I wish I could be more like Martha. Jesus, had told her one time to not worry so much about things and to spend more time listening to him like I was.
Martha sometimes gets a bad rap but we are called to be servants and Martha was one of the best examples of being a servant that I knew.
There were a lot of people there at the dinner and the conversation was stimulating. It was mostly men reclining at the table but I made sure that I was close because I wanted to hear all that was going on.
For one you had Lazarus there. I mean the man that Jesus had raised from the dead. You also had Simon the Leper there….who….yeah… was no longer a leper. There was no way everyone would be there if he still had leprosy. Jesus had healed Simon of his leprosy. You had two guys that Jesus had healed there. You had the 12 apostles of Jesus also there talking about all that had been happening. Oh yeah, and Jesus was there.
As I listened to everyone speak I was overcome with emotion for Jesus. As I watched him and listened to him speak it was just so apparent that he was the Messiah. These men followed him. They believed in him. They were devoted to him. As much as they loved Jesus he loved them even more.
It was in that moment that I became overwhelmed with his love. He was my Messiah. He was my Savior. He was my everything. Through him was life both now and eternal. I can’t say that I understood it all but I knew it. I knew it in my heart. I loved Jesus! I would follow him as he established his new kingdom.
So I rushed out of the room and ran back to my home. I had something for Jesus. I knew exactly where it was and so it didn’t take me long to grab the bottle of perfume. It was in a special alabaster jar. It was called, nard.
It was a light-reddish color, derived from the spikenard plant. It was very expensive because it was not grown here. It came from the East. Traders would bring it and sell it. It had a very pleasing smell. Once and a while I would put a small amount on to smell good.
It was mostly reserved however for burial. In order to help with the smell of the deceased, nard and other spices would be applied to the body. I’m not exactly sure why we had not used this when Lazarus and died but we had not. It was very expensive.
I grabbed the bottle and hastened my way back to the house of Simon the Leper where everyone was still reclining after their meal. I quietly made my way back into the room and began to approach Jesus.
At first no one seemed to notice, I suppose they thought I was going to serve them some more food or I was bring them some more wine. I don’t know I wasn’t really paying attention to anyone else, only Jesus. I loved this man and my heart was nearly beating out on my chest.
As I approached him I opened this bottle of perfume and it aroma filled my nostrils. A few of the other must have noticed because as I reached Jesus it got quiet.
I poured some of contents in my bottle on his head, to anoint him. He was my king. Most of it however I saved for the feet of Jesus. They had not been cleaned properly when he had arrived at the house. Martha was always the servant but I wanted to serve my Lord now.
And so I took down my hair. I always kept my hair up. In fact all Jewish woman kept their hair up when they were out in public. The only time you ever let your hair down was in the privacy of your own home. I didn’t care.
People might think of this as a scandalous kind of action I was doing. They might think that I was in love with Jesus. I WAS IN LOVE WITH JESUS! Just not the way people might think. I didn’t have romantic feelings for Jesus, I just loved him as my Messiah.
I poured the remainder of the perfume over the feet of Jesus. They had been washed when he came to the house but not well. I wet his feet with the perfume and then I washed them with my hair. The sweet smell of the perfume filled the house. It was the least I could do for Jesus.
No one objected, no one tried to stop me. No one gasped their disapproval….at least not at first. Not until Judas opened his big mouth.
“Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages!”
Like he has ever cared much for the poor before. Why did everyone trust him? I don’t know what it was about him but the more I was around Judas the more I didn’t trust him. He talked a good game but I don’t know, call it woman’s intuition but there was something I just didn’t like about him.
Of course later he would be the one to sell out Jesus. We would discover that he had been stealing money all along from the money bag. No wonder he had positioned himself to take care of it. He had managed to earn the trust of the others.
He must have been frustrated by Jesus not taking command of things and the current political situation. I don’t know if he was losing faith in Jesus or he just didn’t see that Jesus as a viable Messiah anymore. All he cared about was money.
He couldn’t stand me “wasting” this expensive perfume on Jesus. No, that is because he was greedy. There was no price too great for me to sacrifice for Jesus. Jesus was always doing everything for everyone else. Just this once I wanted to do something special for Jesus.
But….no….Judas has to speak up and ruin my special gift to Jesus. The others began to mumble in agreement with Judas. I can’t blame them so much because….well….yes….we were to care for the poor but I wanted to give this gift to Jesus. I was scared for Jesus as he got closer to Jerusalem.
Jesus spoke up and quickly shut them all down. “Leave her alone” he said to them, “It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.”
He had accepted my gift. I had no idea that it would be just a short time later and Jesus would be dead. I had used up my perfume and I wouldn’t have any more to anoint his body. I had been able however to do it in life and prepare his body for death. I had no idea.
When it comes to showing gratitude to Jesus I gave the best of what I had. It all just hit me so hard as we were all gathered there after that meal. Seeing Simon there who had been healed from his leprosy and then seeing my brother talking with Jesus.
My brother….he had been dead….Jesus had given him back to Martha and me. He had given Lazarus life. My heart had become so full of love that everything just spilled out. I wasn’t embarrassed by my actions. I wasn’t ashamed to express my love for Jesus. I wasn’t going to hold back any of my worship for my Savior.
I will never regret that night. I don’t care what people might have thought or might have said about me. I simply loved Jesus and I gave my best in worship to him.
I had no idea the celebration that Jesus would have the next day as he entered into Jerusalem. I had no idea that the chief priest had made plans to kill my brother. Lazarus was even more vocal than me when it came to telling whoever he could about the goodness and power of Jesus. Many were believing in Jesus because of the testimony of my brother and so they were going to kill him to silence his testimony.
I guess they got a bigger prize because they would kill Jesus instead. I had no idea. It could have just as well have been me that died….I guess a part of me died that day too.
Have you met Jesus on your road? If you have experience his love like I have, are you worshipping him with all that you have? Don’t be ashamed of your love for Jesus. Don’t miss your opportunity to worship him!
His love for life didn’t stop with my brother. No, he would give his life for mine. That is love. Jesus gave me the gift of life in eternity. I pray that you have also received this gift. Praise God and worship to the risen King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
There is no copyright on this so please use all/part as you please.