Only days before His death Jesus is at dinner with Lazarus and his sisters. Mary walks over to Jesus where she breaks open a bottle of extremely expensive perfume. She pours the contents over Jesus’ head and feet. The observers are offended at the waste of such an expensive perfume that could have been used for more practical uses. They are offended that Jesus has not stopped this even before it started. But there is one thing of which they are all very much aware: The Scent of Perfume has permeated the entire room. (I have a candle that has close to the same scent of this mixture. I can only burn it for 10-15 minutes because it is soo strong.)
Jesus deflects their comments while making a predictive observation: her anointing points to His fast-approaching death and burial. How ironic that there would be a group of ladies carrying spices to anoint Jesus in the Tomb who would never get that opportunity! He had already Risen! We are not told whether or not she was aware of any of this particular significance. For Mary this was an expression of love, gratitude, and worship. She must have known that others would not understand, and even think this wasteful. Mary does not worry about their opinions nor does she open her mouth afterwards to defend herself. She keeps it simple: giving her best to Jesus in a public demonstration of her love and devotion!
The scent of her sacrifice permeates the air, speaking of the coming Scent of Sacrifice that Jesus was about to make — the pleasing aroma that would rise to the nostrils of the Father where it would become our Scent of Forgiveness (Ephesians 5:2). Jesus observes that this act of honor and devotion would be remembered wherever the Gospel would be preached. She was the first to anoint Him in preparation for Death.
Am I driven to such love and sacrifice for the One who gave Himself for me?? Do I hold back because my actions might be misunderstood or thought strange?
Take the Risk! Mary did … and permeated the whole room and the whole of history with the unashamed testimony of devotion to the One who died as a Sweet Aroma!
Pastor Stephen Willoughby
Pastor Steve grew up in Columbia,South America, where his parents served as missionaries for 25 years. After graduating from Capital Bible Seminary, he was invited to serve as Assistant Pastor at FBCP. He has served in that capacity for twenty years before taking on the position of Senior Pastor.