Wednesday, April 12, 2017
To the End of the Road, Part 6
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. John 12:1-3, NKJV.
Mary, sister of Lazarus, sat all day as close as she could to the feet of Jesus, the Lord she loved so dearly. He was so wise, so good. He had restored the life of her brother, and He had almost always stayed at their house when He was in the area. Such an honor! The Lord and His disciples slept at their humble house!
She hung on His every word, even the sad ones, such as when He would say He would die. Please, God, He must not die! There was so much He still had to teach them!
But if he did die--the Master and His followers didn't have much coin. This very morning, she'd heard Judas say they were almost out. What would happen when Jesus died--he would have no money to buy the perfumes customary to anoint bodies with.
She would give Him her own burial perfume. She was young, only fourteen, and would live a long time. But He was so old--at least thirty. What if He died in Nazareth or the Galilean Lake? She couldn't get the oil of spikenard there before they would have to bury Him. She could give it to Judas to carry, but there was something about that man she didn't like, even though he was one of the disciples and the one who carried their coin.
Mary wiped her eyes. The thought of Jesus dying was too much to bear. It was time to serve the evening meal, and she didn't want Martha commenting on her crying again. It seemed every time Jesus came, she shed tears so much of the time--happy and sad ones.
She and Martha began bringing the food in to the low table where the men gathered, comfortably ensconced on the fat pillows. The smell of the fish stew made her stomach growl, but the women wouldn't eat until the men were finished.
There! He said it again! He said again that He would die. She stifled a sob and ran from the room, ignoring Martha's impatient cry. She threw herself on her blanket-covered pallet and released the tears. Her heart ached so that she thought it would break.
When she could control herself, she stood from the bed and walked to the enclosed cabinet near the window. She pulled the heavy alabaster jar from a shelf and walked again through the doorway to where the men sat. Wordless, she poured the costly perfume over Jesus's feet. She hadn't thought to bring a towel, so she loosened her hair from its braid and wiped His feet, crying again. The sweet scent of the spikenard filled the room.
Judas scowled at Mary. "That perfume should not have been wasted so. If you wanted to be rid of it, it could have been sold in Jerusalem. We could have given the money to the poor."
Jesus reached his hand across the long, narrow table to stroke Mary's hair. "Leave her alone, Judas. She just anointed Me for burial. You will always have the poor with you, but not Me."
Mary gazed at Him with gratitude. He understood.