April 19

Anointed for Burial

John 12:1-8

John 12:1-8Imagine this scene. A woman walks into the annual church rummage sale with a beautiful collection of designer clothes worth thousands of dollars. She says, “I want to give this clothing to the Lord.” Then, as people nod in agreement, she drops the items on the floor and sets fire to them.

You would probably think, What a waste! That’s how the disciples reacted when Mary of Bethany anointed Jesus’ feet with an entire bottle of perfume. For almost three years, the disciples had lived on the donations of wealthy women and other generous people. And this particular bottle was worth about a year’s wages for a rural worker.  Proceeds from its sale could have supplied the needs of Christ and His followers for weeks.

Judas spoke up, criticizing the apparent waste, and the other disciples joined in scolding Mary. But her liberal use of the fragrance wasn’t a mistake. Jesus explained, “When she poured this perfume on My body, she did it to prepare Me forburial” (Matt. 26:12). By using the entire jar at once, Mary released an aroma so overpowering that it filled the whole house (John 12:3). Every breath the guests took reminded them of her extravagant, seemingly imprudent gift.

From Mary’s day until now, the call of God has always inspired His followers to act in ways that others don’t understand. In doing so, we release the fragrance of Christ to everyone we encounter (2 Cor. 2:15). What has God called you to do as an expression of your devotion and love for Him? 

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Used with permission from In Touch Ministries, Inc. © 2009 All Rights Reserved.