The Anointed One: Dec. 21
Six days before the Passover, Jesus therefore came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. So they gave a dinner for him there. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those reclining with him at table. Mary therefore took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (he who was about to betray him), said, “Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief, and having charge of the moneybag he used to help himself to what was put into it. Jesus said, “Leave her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of my burial. For the poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me.” John 12-1-8
The Passover was approaching and the lambs would be sacrificed in Jerusalem, just up the road from Bethany. In a beautiful literary and theological parallel, John sets the stage for the cross by reminding his readers that the sacrifice of lambs without blemish—that sacrifice that caused God to pass over His people in his judgement of Egypt—was about to take place.
And here, in the shadow of the ultimate sacrifice by the ultimate Lamb, the story pauses for a moment of deep emotion and profound worship.
There at the table sits Lazarus—who was rescued from death by the Savior who is about to lay down His life. And there is his sister Mary, full of affection and gratefulness for her Lord. The extravagance of her gift is beyond comprehension—and yet Jesus applauds her actions. Judas is appalled, looking to use the money for himself.
But Jesus agrees with Mary’s gift—because he knows that Mary rightly understands His true value, and His impending death. In truth, Mary’s gift is actually not extravagant but appropriate—in light of the glory of Jesus Christ and the miracle of His death on behalf of sinners.
Mary’s affection is what should fill all of our hearts as we consider this Incarnate One who came to live and die in our place. Mary’s worship should likewise flow out of our hearts and our lives as we consider this Lamb who was slain for the sins of the world and who will rescue so many of us, like Lazarus, from the grip of death.
May our hearts overflow and our songs rise as we tell of our love for the Savior.