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.
Reading over the verses that precede this one I am reminded of how after Lazarus was raised from the dead, how some of the Jews went off to tattle-tale to the Jewish leadership over what had happened. They didn’t need to do that, it was a decision they freely made. Mary, Martha and Lazarus must have had a lot of friends as we read in John 11: 45 Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him. 46 But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done.
This is course, led to a discussion among the Jewish leadership about what to do with Jesus and from that day forward they sought to take his life.
As a result, Jesus withdrew from being among the people. He instead stayed with his disciples in an area near the wilderness, a village called Ephraim.
When we come to this story, which takes place in Bethany, Jesus had taken some quiet time with his disciples. They were having a nice dinner together. A meal given in Jesus’ honor. Six day before Passover. Mary and Martha were serving the meal, then Mary comes out with a bottle of really expensive perfume. The most expensive thing she owned. In a day when perfume was kept in bottles that needed to be broken before they were used. She took it and anointed Jesus with it.
You know I sit here and wonder at that.
Thinking that wow…. could I have wasted perfume like that? But she simply did it. We dont‘ know the state of her heart and mind, whether it was done from the Spirit’s prompting, or out of the generosity of her heart, or whatever. We don’t know.
What we do know is that she put it on his feet. Feet that would have had contact with a messy dirty road, feet of a man used to spending most of his day walking around. But Mary paid that no nevermind. Poured the perfume on and USED HER HAIR to wipe his feet. Not an ever ready towel that women carry around to clean up messes and the like, but her hair.
Can you imagine doing that? Using your hair to wipe perfume over someone’s feet… even someone you cared about desperately? Would it be an easy thing to do?
This is what Mary did.
She gave of herself and her person to anoint the Lord. Jesus’ response was this : It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial.
Jesus knew he was going to die…and now his disciples knew it too. Did they understand it? Did Mary really understand it when she heard those words? I don’t know. I just don’t. I suspect the disciples didn’t really understand it based on how Peter stuck close to his side. I know that it sends a chill down my back reading it and I know that Jesus came to die for me. For my sin. To make me right with God. To know that it was foretold that Mary would keep that bottle so she could anoint him… just touches my inner part you know?
Makes me wonder a bit, what does the Lord know that I will do for him?
Will I know it when it happens?
Mary had learned to seek after the Lord, to cling to his words. Anointing him with this oil undoubtedly sprang out of this clinging to him. So when I consider what the Lord might have planned for me, clinging to him and his words seems like a vital step to take doesn’t it? I must continue to cling to him, to seek after him, to keep sussing out what the Lord himself would have of me. Join me?