Leave Her Alone
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Why does John mention the time? Six days before the “Passover”, He mentions this time because Christ is the spotless lamb of God. The people of God would purchase their spotless lamb and keep it in preparation for the Passover feast. (NRSV)
Mary Anoints Jesus
12 Six days before the Passover Jesus came to Bethany, the home of Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. (NRSV)
2 There they gave a dinner for him. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those at the table with him. Notice now, as we look at the following scriptures, they all want to throw a party for Jesus but they do not have the same idea of how the party should go. Martha does what she always seems to do, prepare the meal. We are Methodists we love to eat, and we have many good cooks. Lazarus and Mary are caught up in the entertainment stage of the party, as one sits with Jesus and visits. Often times I spend time at events speaking with the guests.
3 Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus’ feet, and wiped them with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. Martha’s way is no less important than May’s way, one is about service. We all need to be serving the Lord. Mary’s way is more spiritual in nature, as she anoints the feet of Jesus.
First of all, the perfume was very expensive, as we should never skimp on our gifts to our Lord. $20,000 is how much Mary pours on Jesus’ feet as they gather for dinner. The oil, according to John’s gospel, is worth 300 denarii. 300 times a laborer’s daily wage. In today’s currency that’s $8/hr, 8 hours/day, for 300 days is $19,200. $20,000 of precious perfume poured out on Jesus’ feet. And the smell filled the whole house. https://immanuel-amherst.org/a-20000-gift/)
Secondly, Mary uses her hair to wipe the oil from the feet of Jesus. This is a grand show of humility. Mary sits at the feet of the Christ and anoints his feet, not his head. She is giving of herself to her Lord.
The house was filled with the fragrance. This is what we hope for when we come to church, isn’t it? To be in the presence and fragrance of God?
Judas complains about the waste of money, but John is quick to point out that Judas was really complaining because he was a thief. (NRSV)
4 But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (the one who was about to betray him), said, (NRSV)
5 “Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and the money given to the poor?” Ask yourself, do thieves concern themselves with the care of the poor? Judas was apparently gifted with a talent of handling money and yet it seems as though his talents are costing him his honor. Perhaps his life. Did John know this about Judas before Judas betrayed Jesus? Most likely not. Judas knew, didn’t he. So boldly he speaks up about the waste of the money that went in the purse, which he handled, yet his intentions are merely concerned with what he could not get his hands on.
Jesus defends Mary from the onslaught of Judas, as Judas accuses her of being wasteful and quite unkind, because she could have been supporting missions into the community. (NRSV)
7 Jesus said, “Leave her alone. She bought it so that she might keep it for the day of my burial. Jesus tells us that Mary bought this perfume for this very day. Ask yourself, how could she have known? For people who have a personal relationship with Jesus, they are usually more perceptive of what is going on. Martha was so busy preparing the meal that she could not take time to be at his feet. Lazarus was perhaps just happy to be alive, and yet Mary spends her on money; a years worth of savings, just to sit and anoint his feet. Leave her alone