4. Mary (John 12)
Nearing the end of His earthly ministry, Jesus went to visit His close friends Mary, Martha, and Lazarus in Bethany. They welcomed Him warmly, and celebrated His presence.
Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. – John 12:1-2
Martha's sister Mary, however, decided on a very different way to serve Jesus that night.
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. – John 12:3
This was an act of pure love. But some didn't appreciate Mary's lavishness.
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. – John 12:4-6
Jesus knew the oil she poured on him was expensive, but accepted her public display of faith and worship. Turning His attention to Judas, Jesus pointed out that it was the disciple who had the wrong priorities.
'Leave her alone,' Jesus replied. 'It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.’ – John 12:7-8
Jesus understood that Judas' heart was corrupted, and that he would soon be led to betray his Lord. But still, Jesus extended a measure of care to the wayward Apostle. And He used Mary's act as a way to remind the others that He was indeed the Messiah.
Jesus lived out the verse, "Speak the truth in love." (Ephesians 4:15)
His goal was not to bury anyone under condemnation, but to free them from their sin. People from different backgrounds, social classes and even nationalities had heart-changing encounters with the Lord, receiving grace for their sin and hope for their future.
If we seek Him through prayer, we can receive the same promise for ourselves today.
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Why and How Do I ‘Speak the Truth in Love?’
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