After Jesus day of walking and teaching on the Tuesday, it seems that Jesus returned to Bethany to rest. we read the account of what happened in Mark 14 It was now two days before Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread. The leading priests and the teachers of religious law were still looking for an opportunity to capture Jesus secretly and kill him. 2 “But not during the Passover celebration,” they agreed, “or the people may riot.”
3 Meanwhile, Jesus was in Bethany at the home of Simon, a man who had previously had leprosy. While he was eating, a woman came in with a beautiful alabaster jar of expensive perfume made from essence of nard. She broke open the jar and poured the perfume over his head.
4 Some of those at the table were indignant. “Why waste such expensive perfume?” they asked. 5 “It could have been sold for a year’s wages and the money given to the poor!” So they scolded her harshly.
6 But Jesus replied, “Leave her alone. Why criticize her for doing such a good thing to me? 7 You will always have the poor among you, and you can help them whenever you want to. But you will not always have me. 8 She has done what she could and has anointed my body for burial ahead of time. 9 I tell you the truth, wherever the Good News is preached throughout the world, this woman’s deed will be remembered and discussed.”
This is my reading for today taken from the book A Year’s Journey With God by Jennifer Rees Larcombe
If Mary had simply removed the stopper from her jar and poured a few drops of oil onto Jesus’ head, everyone would have smiled and nodded their approval because it would have been an appropriate way to treat a guest of honour. She did not have to cause a sensation by smashing it wide open so she could scoop out all the precious oil that clung onto the inside of the jar. Yet that is exactly what she did, while everyone looked on, shocked by such extravagance. John tells us she not only covered his head but his feet too, and wiped up the excess with her hair. She wanted Jesus to have everything she had, with nothing kept back for anyone else! Perhaps we should all ask ourselves if Jesus has to make do with just a small part of our love, time and possessions.
Alabaster is tough, so Mary must have had a difficult and very noisy job smashing it. Some of us feel our love for God needs to be encased in a hard outer shell of respectability: we shouldn’t get too enthusiastic, emotional or “carried away,” and we’ve all heard sermons that stress the Christian life is not about feelings- but faith. Of course we can’t rely on feelings alone, because they can go up or down with circumstances or emotions, but knowing Jesus is a love affair, not a code of ethics! There are two kinds of Christian, those who confine God to carefully scheduled daily or weekly slots and others who want to love him with all they have and all they are!
“God spilt the life of His Son that the world might be saved; are we prepared to spill our lives out for him?” Oswald Chambers