Text: John 12:1-11 (also Mark 14:1-11)
Who do you identify with? Mary? Martha? Judas?
Where? When? Who?
1. Mary, v3
Mary approaches Jesus with a jar of expensive perfume.
She anoints not only his head (kingship) & body…
…but also his feet and wipes them with her hair – scandalous!
(Mary anticipates the servant-heartedness that will be taught in the foot-washing incident, Jn 13)
(Do we, like Mary, look for opportunities to express our gratitude to Jesus? Mk 14:8 – “She did what she could”)
2. Judas, v4-6
Judas: the perfume could have sold & given to the poor.
Plausible, though insincere – not only was he a pilferer, v6, but he betrayed Jesus for 1/3 of that amount!
(Are we at risk of throwing away our privileges and opportunities?)
Apologetics: if the raising of Lazarus really happened, why not mentioned in the Synoptics? v9-11 helps to answer – ‘protective anonymity’.
3. Jesus, v7f
Mary may not have known how to reply, but Jesus did.
(a) v7 ‘She did it in anticipation/preparation of my burial.’ Jesus is not only anointed, but also embalmed! He is not only a King, but a King who must die! He would often say, “I must” do this or that. He knew that he must be in that place – Jerusalem, at that time – Passover. To be sure, it was ‘with the help of wicked men’ that he was ‘put to death by nailing him to the cross’. But it was also ‘by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge’ (Acts 2:23).
(b) v8 ‘You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.’ Deut 15:11. ‘There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be open-handed towards your brothers and towards the poor and needy in your land.’
There are some good deeds that can, and should, be done at any time. There are others that can only be done at a particular moment.
(c) Mk 14:9 – “Wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what Mary has done will also be told, in memory of her.”
There will be ‘good news’ to be shared.
Nothing done for Jesus is ever wasted or forgotten.
Mary did what she could. What would you have done?
She risked the disapproval of others. What are you prepared to risk?
She threw caution to the wind in expressing her love for Christ and in giving the best she had. What will you offer back to the One who has given so much to you?