As our hearts rest in Holy Week with anticipation for the celebration of Christ’s resurrection on Sunday, there are various scriptures to meditate on. Yet, today we will focus on the beautiful story hidden within John 12.
“Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him.” (John 12:1-2)
Jesus came to Bethany for a special dinner with His friends before the Passover to come. Can you imagine the excitement of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus as Jesus came to visit them? Over the years they had developed a close-knit relationship with Jesus – even to the point where Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. So here they were, having a dinner in His honor when Mary comes to sit at His feet.
Mary’s action is special because it has become more of a practice or discipline, and less of a random thing. Jesus has previously praised her for her willingness to come and sit at His feet in Luke 10; while Martha was preparing their home, Mary sat at the feet of Jesus. This was our Savior’s response then.
“but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:42)
Mary takes up this posture again, 6 days before Passover, and comes to rest at Jesus feet. “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.” (John 12:3)
This particular perfume was worth an entire year’s wage, according to Jesus’s disciple and betrayer Judas. But Mary poured this perfume on Jesus’ feet, anointing Him with something greater than just a fragrance: her devotion.
She took something beautiful, expensive, and precious and put it at the feet of Jesus. Judas thought it was wasteful. And we can make an educated guess that Martha was probably concerned at the mess on her floor. But Jesus saw it differently; He saw it as lovely telling the others to “Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. “It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial.” (John 12:7)
The world will always find our actions to be countercultural. They won’t understand them. And sometimes other Christians will even question our sacrifices.
But Jesus praises Mary’s sacrifice. She sat as His feet, making an active choice to sacrifice for Him.
So, the question is, what is God telling you to sacrifice for Him as you enter the next season of your life. What do you need to place at His feet?
Maybe it’s a possession. Maybe it’s a dream. Maybe it’s a relationship or a career.
Whatever it is, know that the Lord loves our sacrifice and honors us for it. Be like Mary and pour out your alabaster jar.
He is WORTH it.