Mary And Martha: Loving Without A Price

9th September

A dinner was prepared in Jesus’ honour. Martha served, and Lazarus was among those who ate with Him. Then Mary took a 12-ounce jar of expensive perfume made from essence of nard, and she anointed Jesus’ feet with it, wiping His feet with her hair…..But Judas Iscariot, the disciple who would soon betray Him, said, “That perfume was worth a year’s wages. It should have been sold and the money given to to the poor.”

John 12:2-5

Although this story may not have been directly after the previous story we read of in yesterday’s devotion, it bears a remarkable resemblance to it and highlights a very similar message. Yet again we read that Martha, the servant hearted sister, is busy serving and preparing food for Jesus and their guests. Although Martha’s servant heart may have been genuine and proper, Jesus’ once again commends Mary for her actions.

This time Mary takes an expensive perfume, which as Judas pointed out, was worth a year’s wages, and anoints Jesus’ feet, wiping it in with her hair. Again Mary’s actions would have been seen as completely inappropriate, un-cultural and wasteful. Yet Jesus doesn’t stop her. He realised that Mary was completely in love with Him (not in an erotic way but as her Master and Saviour). She knew that Jesus was so much more than just a Good Teacher.

As Mary let her hair down, (Jewish women never let their hair down in public except on their wedding day), poured the expensive ointment over Jesus feet and wiped it with her hair, she also showed that Jesus had more value to her than the perfume, than cultural dignity and people’s opinions. This a great lesson that we can learn too.

This is not to say that we should go and purposefully break cultural customs or waste expensive things in Jesus’ Name, rather it is an attitude that says ‘Jesus you mean more to me than my finance, my agenda, and my reputation; if I have to lose all for Your sake, then so be it!’. However, this attitude only comes from being completely sold out for Jesus, and willing to have a deep and intimate relationship with Him, through the Holy Spirit’s work of salvation.

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