How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.”
Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.” He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.
Devotion: As the party goes on Mary does something extravagant. It’s outrageous actually and turns the whole atmosphere tense. People are angry. It’s absurd! It’s over-the-top! But, in her loving act, Mary reflects Isaiah’s words about the beauty of the Messiah’s feet by using every drop of that costly perfume to anoint them! Every drop. John tell us that Judas was the most upset (he had some thieving to do!). Here we see the contrast in responses to Jesus. Each reveals the focus of the person’s heart.
Just one chapter earlier Mary says that she believes Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of the living God, come into the world. This is no small confession! John has been building to this moment since the beginning of his gospel:
“The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world…[and] to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” —John 1:9-12
That’s exactly what happened to Mary. She lovingly responded to him without condition, and in doing so demonstrated her complete faith in Jesus’ provision for her. Judas’ response, however, revealed the small-minded man that he was; so wrapped up in the protecting his financial outlook that he completely missed the extravagant gift of God sitting right across from him! Mary poured out 300 denarii in worship. Judas received 30 denarii for his betrayal. Making the exchange rate between love and betrayal: 10 to 1. It’s scandalous, but it’s true!
The Big Question:
Again, John’s telling of this story is meant to evoke a response in us. Have we embraced the exchange rate in God’s economy which is costly now, but yields “an eternal weight of glory”? (2 Cor. 4:17) How will you respond to such an extravagant love and grace today? How will this shape your words and actions? Take a few minutes to pray and ask for wisdom to respond as Mary did.
– Pray for His Greater One Church – that we all will be compelled by the love of Jesus Christ to show and share Him with those around us.
– Thank the Lord for Pastor Bob, Paul and Mark and the teaching series they are doing. Thank the Lord for all our pastors/shepherds and their families. Ask the Lord to protect them and watch over them.
– Ask the Holy Spirit to search Your heart and see if there is any offensive way in you (anything You need to confess).
Lord, I want to know You like Mary knew You – up close and personal. Give me a captivated heart, enable me to be still before You. Cause my heart to be wide open to You as You speak to me. Make me like Mary who listened intently to every word You spoke. Cause my weak heart to be fascinated with You and drown out all the accusations in my mind, or from those around me, that say I am wasting my time or that I should be “doing” something. Draw me to Yourself. I say yes to You again in this place of intimacy. I want to know You better Lord. I don’t want to only talk about You or at You, but I want to talk with You. I want to talk to You. I want to listen to You. I want to abide in You. I want to live my life for You. Help me Lord to guard and protect my daily time with You. Incline my ears to hear Your voice of invitation. Give me a willing spirit and expectant heart as I meet with You. Help me to remember Your words today. Cause Your words to run swiftly in and through me, as I seek to bring You honor and glory in everything that I say and do. I ask in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.