Posts Tagged ‘Mary of Bethany’

An excerpt from last week’s message at Epic Life Church.

John 12:1-11 paints a beautiful true story of extravagant worship from a woman named Mary of Bethany. Read the account here for a deeper understanding of the following.

Jesus and his disciple came for another extravagant dinner prepared by the marvelous cook Martha. While eating with his friends Lazarus and Simon, Jesus was talking about the past few weeks of Lazarus’ new life and the events of his favorite village to visit, Bethany.  The meal was wonderful and after dinner Martha and Mary joined them at the table to listen and learn.

After listening to Jesus speak about the past couple of years of his ministry, with John, Peter and some of the others reliving some of the great times as people who were blind where given sight in many different ways, Jesus now started looking at the future and the coming week of the Passover celebration taking place in Jerusalem just two miles away.  In his continual way of teaching Jesus discussed why the Passover was so important to the Jewish people and now how the Pharisees had started to make it an event that was very commercially driven. He also started to explain that the fulfillment of the Passover was about to take place and that the spotless lamb the people would be sacrificing in just a week would no longer be needed because the final Spotless Lamb was arriving.

Mary new of whom he was talking about.

She quietly excused herself and hurried into the next room. Going straight to the small wooden box in the corner of the dimly lit room she lifted the lid. It squeaked slightly as the wooden hinges turned on each other. With shaking hands Mary reached into the box and lifted out a small object wrapped in a white clothe. Closing the box she set the precious package carefully on the lid and began to unwrap it, revealing a hand made piece of pottery with a leather top. Mary picked it up gently. She was a bit nervous and her heart pounded within her chest, but she knew what she had to do.

Mary entered the room with the others chatting about how they were going to select the Passover lamb in the morning of the next day and some were telling stories about how some families would sacrifice lambs who were slightly imperfect, just so they could have the better ones for breading. As Mary walked in, the eyes of the room began to turn to watch her and quickly the small talk drifted off to silence.

Mary approached Jesus with her eyes down, in a reverent silence she knelt down beside Jesus who was still laying on a pillow next to the table with his feet stretched out to the side. In a slow and intentional motion Mary set the pottery on the table and lifted the leather lid. Instantly the intoxicating fragrance of pure nard filled the whole room and soon the entire house smelled of the concentrated oil of the Spikenard plant from the far East.

The room was quiet. There were looks of confusion, of surprise, of question, but no one uttered a word as they looked at the pound of oil sitting on the table. Then in a shocking move Mary took the oil in her hands and lifted it above Christ’s head and poured it out.  The oil ran over his head and into his hair and flowed down through his beard dripping off onto his clothes. Mary then moved to Jesus’ feet and poured the remaining nard from the jar over his feet.  Not knowing exactly what to do as the oil dripped off his feet and not being prepared with a towel to wipe the excess off, Mary did something that would have been a move of embarrassment and shame in any other setting; she reached up and untied her long black hair, allowing it fall around her. She took her hair in her hands and proceeded to wipe his feet off.

Judas was daydreaming out the window for most of the evening, but when he saw this shameful act and in his eyes a waist of an expensive oil he felt he had to say something, after all no one else said anything and this oil was worth at least a year’s salary. So he rebuked Mary and some of the others joined in on the discouragement. But Mary continue as if she didn’t even hear the discouragement. Jesus put in a good word for her though, telling them all that what she was doing was a prophetic move; anointing the purest Passover Lamb.

These are things the disciples didn’t understand until after the coming week.

The coming week in Jesus’ life would be full of many different events, emotions and happenings that would fulfill hundreds of prophecies and would at last bring the Kingdom of God to earth.

The oil that Mary annointed Jesus with was an extremely strong smelling ointment that was potent enough to last a week. It is very likely that as Jesus went through the coming week that the fragrance of Mary’s extravagant worship continued with him. Shortly after this anointing happened Jesus would find a young colt and ride into Jerusalem as the people shouted, “Hosanna!”  Did the fragrance of Mary’s worship rise to his hose? Soon Jesus would be in an upper room breaking bread with his disciples as he knelt to wash their feet, and example of being a servant, did the fragrance of Mary’s worship rise to his nose? As Jesus knelt to pray in the garden late at night calling on his father for strength. Did a slight breeze move his hair releasing the fragrance of extravagant worship? As the guards hauled him away to a mock trial dragging him between Caiphas, the king and Pilate, was there an aroma following him?

When jesus was cruely beaten over and over did his blood mixed with the fragrance of spikenard release an aroma of pure devotion and love? The fragrance of Mary’s worship would have likely rose off Jesus’ garments as he lugged his instrument of death through the streets as men and women mocked him. Did the aroma of extravagant worship rise to Jesus’ nostrils while he hung on the cross high upon Golgotha as the ultimate act of worship?

I want to live my life in such a way that my worship rises as a sweet fragrance to my Savior and to live a life of extravagant worship, of an Epic Worship.

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