READING: Leviticus 11-12, Matthew 26:1-25
“By pouring this fragrant oil on My body, she has prepared Me for burial.”
We know from John 12:3 that she was Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus. Apparently, she and her sister and brother went with Jesus to the home of Simon, a leper whom Jesus likely had healed. There, Mary did something both unexpected and elaborate: she broke an alabaster jar of expensive perfume and poured the perfume over Jesus’ head and feet (Mark 14:3-9, John 12:1-8). I can only imagine how strange it must have seemed to the disciples when Mary covered her Lord in perfume – perfume that the disciples, particularly Judas for wrong reasons, thought could have been sold for money. Now, though, no such option existed. The aroma of the perfume may have wafted through the room, but any option of anyone benefiting further from the perfume had vanished, it seemed.
That was not the case, though. Jesus rebutted the disciples’ concerns with these words: “By pouring this fragrant oil on My body, she has prepared Me for burial” (Matt. 26:12). It’s doubtful that Mary understood she was doing that, though we can only wonder if she sensed how intense the opposition to Jesus had become. Surely she knew that her act was an expression of extravagant love, a sacrifice of almost unexplainable proportions – the equivalent of almost a year’s salary poured on her Lord. Nothing stopped her, though, from pressing past the others and their concerns to show her love to Jesus. Sacrificing all she had for Jesus was worth it.
Within days, her act would gain new significance when Jesus would indeed face death. He would be broken and then buried in a tomb He would borrow for a few days. Mary’s “anointing,” recorded in three of the Gospels, would be remembered to this day. Our telling her story through this devotion is, in fact, evidence of what Jesus said would happen (Matt. 26:13). Her story today forces me to ask, “Am I willing to give to Jesus the most precious things I have?”
Some years ago, I heard for the first time a Steve Green song based on this woman’s story. That song still echoes in my head as a reminder that Jesus was broken and spilled out for us. For you and me, in fact.
When I consider that truth, it’s much easier to give to Jesus everything I have.
- What thing(s) in your life would you be most unwilling to give up for God? Be alert to idols in your heart. We all have them.
- Genuinely and specifically sacrifice for Jesus today. Watch and listen for opportunities.
PRAYER: “Jesus, thank You for Your willingness to be broken for me. Make me willing to give up all for You.”
TOMORROW'S READING: Leviticus 13, Matthew 26:26-50