Then Mary took a pound of very costly oil of spikenard, anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair.
And the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil.
For me this is one of the most revealing moments of Jesus’ life and a revelation of how a woman understood what men did not. As far as I can tell not one man or male disciple of Jesus understood what Jesus meant when He spoke of being betrayed and dying on the cross at Jerusalem. Several times Jesus spoke of the coming events of His dying but none understood. However, this woman Mary got it and got it right. Why?
Please read the following scripture about Mary and Jesus.
Luke 10:38-42 Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone?
Therefore tell her to help me.”
And Jesus answered and said to her,
“Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. “But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”
Long before this time, Mary and her sister Martha had welcomed Jesus into their home with their brother Lazarus.
Martha had served but what was Mary doing?
Sitting at the feet of Jesus hearing His Word.
She not only heard the Word of Jesus but understood it and believed it!
This is a love story. She had spent all the time with Jesus hearing His words and feeling them. The other disciples had heard the same words but they did not feel them as this woman did. How pleased Jesus was that at least one person understood Him and His mission.
Men often only hear words and if they don’t understand them with their logic then we dismiss them. Women often feel with their hearts as well as the words and understand the soul.
Every person wants to be understood. Jesus found this understanding in Mary.
Within days Jesus was to face the cross, it seems that Mary was the only person to understand this word from Jesus.
She knew her Lord and the object of her love was about to die. Fear did not grip her, she believed in the mission of her Savior.
But love filled her and the pain of His suffering that was to come moved her. In one of the most awesome moments of the Bible Mary burst into action.
Supper is being served, Lazarus and many of the disciples are eating and Martha is serving as usual.
Mary had prepared something special. She brought her treasure of fragrant oil and poured it over His head and anointed the feet of Jesus! She gave her best to her Lord, Savior and Friend. Even if this were not enough she wiped His feet with her hair!
She had truly heard His Word and now was preparing Jesus for His coming burial. Everyone had missed it but this woman. And still to this day often women are more sensitive to Jesus than most men. This is just one of many times that women lead the way in the ministry of Jesus.
Now let’s read the story.
John 12:1-8 Then, six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was who had been dead, whom He had raised from the dead.
There they made Him a supper; and Martha served,
but Lazarus was one of those who sat at the table with Him. Then Mary took a pound of very costly oil of spikenard, anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair and the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil. Then one of His disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, who would betray Him, said,
“Why was this fragrant oil not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?”
This he said, not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and had the money box; and he used to take what was put in it. But Jesus said,
“Let her alone; she has kept this for the day of My burial.
“For the poor you have with you always, but Me you do not have always.”
By letting Mary do this act of anointing Jesus had opened himself to criticism. It’s the same today, for every good act in the name of Jesus and love there is a critic ready to blast you. It is even more true if that revelation is given to a woman and not a man.
Judas who was to betray Jesus in a few days was the one speaking out, why waste the money?
Here is the other scripture telling the same story with some added details.
Mark 14:3-9And being in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper, as He sat at the table, a woman came having an alabaster flask of very costly oil of spikenard.
Then she broke the flask and poured it on His head.
But there were some who were indignant among themselves, and said, “Why was this fragrant oil wasted?
“For it might have been sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor.” And they criticized her sharply. But Jesus said, “Let her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a good work for Me.
“For you have the poor with you always, and whenever you wish you may do them good; but Me you do not have always. “She has done what she could.
She has come beforehand to anoint My body for burial.
“Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her.”
Jesus was so pleased and moved with her action that He said; “Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her.”
This is the only time Jesus makes such a statement. He made the statement to a woman. By her love and action she made a memorial to herself as she gave her all to Jesus.
Her actions were not for a reward but Jesus saw, felt and responded to her. The words of Jesus protected her.
Jesus commended her and said that the whole world would know of the actions of this woman. Forever Mary’s identity is connected with this act of costly love.
Sometime we serve Jesus as we serve others and at other times what we do is just for Jesus and the Glory of God. Like the times we sing to Jesus in the forest or dance in the glory of the Lord in the desert, or shout with joy in the rain. This is just you or me worshiping the Lord of Hosts.
So often as I carry the cross and I am climbing a mountain or some other tough walk I give my all and my best and it is for Jesus. No one else is around but I know the Presence of the Lord is there and I press on for Him.
Often I pray just for the fellowship I have with Jesus. Not asking for anything but expressing love and commitment to Jesus.
Dear one, is your life filled with religion or a relationship with God. Do you hear the Words of Jesus and they just pass you by or are you one that has truly heard and responds to Jesus with love and devotion and your best?
See in the scripture below this is how Mary is remembered.
John 11:1-2 Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha.
It was that Mary who anointed the Lord with fragrant oil and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.
I pray that Jesus will remember me and the love we share and the understanding of Him in my life. I pray that my actions reflect Jesus as I serve others and Glorify God.
God bless you women!
Thank you Mary for preparing the Body of Jesus for His burial.
Pilgrim followers of Jesus,
Arthur and Denise Blessitt