12 Then Jesus six days before the passover came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, which had been dead, whom he raised from the dead. 2 There they made him a supper; and Martha served: but Lazarus was one of them that sat at the table with him. 3 Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment. 4 Then saith one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, which should betray him, 5 Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor? 6 This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein. 7 Then said Jesus, Let her alone: against the day of my burying hath she kept this. 8 For the poor always ye have with you; but me ye have not always.
It is two days before Jesus will enter Jerusalem for the Passover feast. 2 days before what we now call Palm Sunday. It appears that Jesus s back at the house of Lazarus because we see Lazarus is with Him, as well as Martha and Mary. Once again, Martha is doing the work of taking care of guests. I love Martha for that. Yesterday we talked about hospitality. Martha is our hospitality queen. Whenever we see her, she is caring for the family and guests. I have heard many people put Martha down in the past because she was working instead of spending time with Jesus. That is so wrong to do. Martha is a great example of how we should treat our guests. We should honor her for that. Romans 12:13 says that we should be Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality. This is a ministry, and is deserving of our respect.. When you go visit someone,, and you are treated with good hospitality, do you leave a blessing with the one who provided it? You should!
Mary now comes into the picture, carrying a vial of Spikenard ointment. Spikenard is a very aromatic perfume which is estimated to cost around $40 an pound in Jesus time. The only mention in the Old Testament is in Song of Solomon, where it is simply called ointment. It was a prized perfume from India, and somehow Mary had some in her house. She anointed Jesus feet with it, and wiped them with her hair. This is how much she loved her Lord. The aroma filled the whole house, and it would stay with Jesus and with Mary for many days.
Judas, who carried the money bag as the treasurer of the group, argued that the ointment had a better purpose – it could have been sold and money given to the poor. Oh, how Judas misses the point. Mary was showing her devotion to Jesus, and she would have done anything she could to let Him know how much she loved Him. This was her expression of that love. How do we express our love for Jesus? The best way we can express our love is to walk in the anointing of the Holy Spirit and touch other peoples lives with the gospel. We want to think the best way is by lifting our voices in praise and worshiping Him, and that is a good way But it is not the best way. Touching lives for the Master is the best way. Mary knew nothing about the anointing of the Holy Spirit, but she knew that she wanted too anoint Jesus, and the fact that she did that touched the whole house with the aroma. Is your act of devotion touching other people as well? Judas on the other hand, only smelled money in the air. While the intention of feeding the poor is good, it is not best. Never give up what is best for what is good.
Jesus is quick to speak out to Judas. He once again lets them know he will not be with them much longer. He even goes so far to say that Mary has anointed Him for His burial! This should have raised an alarm with the disciples, but none of them reacted to the words, or the bible does not record a reaction. We know now that His burial would be only 8 days later. This is at least the fourth time Jesus has told them He would die soon. In Matthew’s gospel, we see Him telling them He would be killed soon in 16:21-28, 17,22-23 and 20:17-19. Who knows how many other times He told them about this. There really should not be any surprise when it happens, but as we will see, there is.
Mary’s act is recorded in all 4 gospels, which is a rarity. There is no doubt in my mind that the fragrance stayed with Jesus all the way to His death. It was a constant reminder to Him that He was loved, and that Mary thought the world of Him. It was also a preparation for His burial, which Jesus knew was coming soon. I am sure He appreciated the actions of Mary that day, and that he enjoyed His meal with His friend Lazarus and his two sisters. The next week would be totally different picture, as we will start to see tomorrow.