Truth: Jesus is the Son of God. Jesus was/is perfect in every way. Jesus loved everyone, even his accusers. Jesus knew/knows every heart. Jesus was/is not fooled at any time by what people do because of who they were. Jesus knew God, His Father, was in charge and in control. Jesus always went to His Father for direction before doing anything in His ministry on earth. Yes, we can learn a lot about from Jesus, who is Life, if we believe. Do we check in with the Father to be with Him before doing?
The community and surrounding towns people are in awe of Jesus who raised a man from death after four days. Imagine the chatter! The news got around quickly of this miracle that was beyond anything they had ever seen. People came in droves to see the Man who made it happen and the man who was raised. They needed to SEE the one who was dead but is now alive.
However, the religious leaders were angry, driven by fear of losing their own power over these oppressed people. The Jewish people were oppressed under Roman rule as well oppressed by the religious leaders who forgot God and mandated additions to God’s Law to gain power with benefits for themselves. Jesus is upsetting the norm. He is counter-culture, a revolutionary of love, mercy and grace. Jesus is Prince of Peace. Jesus has got to be stopped!
This is the scene as Jesus visits his friend Lazarus who is now sitting at the table with him in conversation. Only a few days earlier he was wrapped up in grave cloths laying in a dark tomb! Now he is sitting with the Light of the World in casual talk! I wonder what they are talking about? “So, how did you do it, how did you raise me from the dead?” I wonder how many times Lazarus and his sisters thank Jesus while he reclines at their table? How lavish the meal Martha must have prepared!
Then Mary comes in with expensive perfume, probably preserved for her own burial as was the custom in that day. It was worth a year’s wages! Mary brought out the precious oil, broke the alabaster jar and spilled it out over the feet of Jesus. She then rubs it into Jesus’ feet with her hair as another sign of her devoted love. This is the ultimate picture of gratitude and sacrifice from Mary. It will symbolize what Jesus will do on the cross, His body sacrificed, His blood spilled out for all our sins. The oils meant for burial is now used in honor of the One who gives Life!
“She’s anticipating and honoring the day of my burial.” Judas criticizes Mary and her act of indulgence. Jesus responds with great love in defense of Mary who loved him back. “Let her alone.” Mary is led by her God-filled heart. She shows great love to Jesus while He is still with them. I wonder, how many times do we take our loved ones for granted, rarely showing and telling how much they are loved—until the funeral? Those who love like Mary, who love Jesus with all their heart, mind and soul, love well.
John 12:1-11, The Message
Anointing His Feet
1-3 Six days before Passover, Jesus entered Bethany where Lazarus, so recently raised from the dead, was living. Lazarus and his sisters invited Jesus to dinner at their home. Martha served. Lazarus was one of those sitting at the table with them. Mary came in with a jar of very expensive aromatic oils, anointed and massaged Jesus’ feet, and then wiped them with her hair. The fragrance of the oils filled the house.
4-6 Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples, even then getting ready to betray him, said, “Why wasn’t this oil sold and the money given to the poor? It would have easily brought three hundred silver pieces.” He said this not because he cared two cents about the poor but because he was a thief. He was in charge of their common funds, but also embezzled them.
7-8 Jesus said, “Let her alone. She’s anticipating and honoring the day of my burial. You always have the poor with you. You don’t always have me.”
9-11 Word got out among the Jews that he was back in town. The people came to take a look, not only at Jesus but also at Lazarus, who had been raised from the dead. So the high priests plotted to kill Lazarus because so many of the Jews were going over and believing in Jesus on account of him.
As we walk through the words of John depicting your final days on earth, we have nothing but love and gratitude. There are not enough words in our language to tell you how much I love you and how grateful I am that you saved my soul. You love when I feel unlovable. You love when I am angry at myself or others who hurt me. You love when I mess up with precious words of restoration. Yes, You are God and we are not. We need you every hour. All I have is yours. I believe.
In Jesus Name, Amen