“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. Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard [rose-colored fragrant oil], 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 12:1-3
What does complete, humble, extravagant worship really look like?
- “Truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what [Mary] has done will also be told, in memory of her.” Mark 14:9
What it looks like is giving everything you have with the most immense humility, with a disregard to cost, and all that you are. With this kind of worship, it impacts many, and it blesses the Lord.
We are not sure if this Mary was the woman who was caught in the act of adultery earlier in John, and hence was pardoned from her sentence of death by Jesus, but even if it was not, this Mary was fully aware of the sins she had committed in her life and also fully aware of the level of forgiveness and love she had received from her Savior, Jesus Christ. She knew of no other way to repay Him then to anoint him with the most precious thing she had… a pearl-like bottle full of rose-smelling expensive perfume… a perfume that cost her over one year’s salary.
Prior to getting to the dinner party, Mary may have been sobbing in her own home, thinking about how no one loved her like her Lord and how no one accepted her like her Lord. She knew the things she had done, and so did others. They did not accept her, but her Lord did. What could she do for Him that would show Him how she felt? She gathered what she had in her small room, a bottle of perfume that, if sold, would supply her entire needs for over a year. She could give this gift, because her life would be nothing without the forgiveness and love that she had received. Without even thinking, she grabbed the bottle and ran to the home of Lazarus where she knew Jesus would be. She burst into the room, tears of gratitude streaming down her face, focused on her one goal… to worship her Lord. She knelt at His feet, her eyes going to the floor, eyes from around the room fixed on her. She could not even bare to look at His face as she thought about her unworthiness next to Him. She opened the bottle and generously poured it all out on His glorious feet, the feet that had come to her rescue to save her. She thought nothing of how she would survive the year without this income, only that she was alive because of Him. The smell of roses filled the room as all the onlookers had stopped what they were doing to wonder. As the perfume bathed his feet, she knew she had not a cloth to absorb the fall-off, so without a thought, she took down her hair, which, in her culture was immoral in public. Mary did not care what her culture thought of her, she only cared about giving all that she had to her Savior, the very giver of her life. Others did not understand her extravagant worship.
- “…Jesus said to them, “Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you,but you will not always have me.” Matthew 26:10-11
Jesus should be our first priority, our first worship. Without Him, we are nothing and have nothing. How I long to feel as Mary felt and be able to worship as she did. I believe the Lord has given us this example so that we may strive to let our guard down to be able to worship Him with all that we are.
Father God, Forgive us for not giving you our whole hearts and our whole lives. Our intentions seem good, but our lives and our actions often fail our intentions. You are our all in all. Help us to worship you more fully and completely and help us to realize what it really meant to give your life for us. Take our lives to be a sweet fragrance to you. In Jesus Name. Amen.