“But Jesus said, ‘Let her alone; she has kept this for the day of My burial. For the poor you have with you always, but Me you do not have always.’ ” John 12:7–8
Six days before the Passover Jesus returned to the village of Bethany to attend a dinner, prepared by a Pharisee named Simon the Leper, to honor himself and Lazarus.
It’s believed that Simon had been healed of leprosy, that’s why he was called Simon the Leper. Simon wasn’t a leper any longer. If he had been he wouldn’t have been allowed within he village of Bethany, let alone to host a dinner in his home.
At some point during the meal, Mary, Lazarus sister, slipped into the room and, quietly approaching Jesus, broke open an alabaster box containing very costly spikenard perfume and poured it out on Jesus head and feet, using her hair to wipe his feet.
Within seconds the scent of the perfume had filled the whole house and everyone had turned their eyes upon Jesus and Mary.
You may have heard the witticism, “No good deed goes unpunished.” Well, it could be applied to this event. The gospels record that number of witnesses made critical comments. Some about Mary’s character, she had at one time been a prostitute and had been possessed by demons. Others commented on the extravagant waste of the perfume. Judas is recorded to have said that the perfume could have been sold for 300 denarii and the money used to care for the poor.
John points out that Judas didn’t really care about the poor. He was the holder of the money for the disciples and would, from time to time, steel money from the treasury and use it on himself.
Jesus’ reply to the critical comments was, “Let her alone; she has kept this for the day of My burial.”
It appears the Mary was the only one of Jesus followers that believed him when he said that he was going to be killed at the Passover.
Several times Jesus has tried to prepare his disciples for what is going to happen in just a few days, but they don’t want to hear about it. Mary too loves Jesus and doesn’t want to hear about his rapidly approaching death but she believes what Jesus has told them and in love and gratitude anoints him with perfume.
In less than a week Jesus will be fulfilling his purpose for coming to earth. Soon our sins, and the sins of the whole world, will be placed upon the sinless Son of God and he will die so they can be forgiven. Still he’s surrounded by worldly ambition, greed and intrigue. How beautiful Mary’s faith and gift must have been to him.
O Jesus free me from the distractions and temptations of this world and give me a simple faith that takes you at your word.