Six days before the Passover, Jesus arrived at Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honour. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him.
Then Mary took a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume: she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.John 12:1-3 (NIV)
Here we have Jesus’ friends, serving a dinner in His honour. They were the ones who had experienced and witnessed the resurrection power of Jesus, when He raised Lazarus from the dead.
I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?John 11:25
I can feel the joy and gratitude in their hearts as they once again share a meal with Jesus. I feel that same joy in my heart, that same gratefulness for all he has done for me. My Saviour. My friend. This is my Jesus – the One who is close, relaxed, joyful, attentive, personal.
I wrote about this in https://mistygullies.com/2022/03/16/poured-out/
At this dinner we see Lazarus and his sisters pour out their love on Jesus. Firstly, Martha is serving. Pouring her love on Jesus through her love language of hospitality.
I am reminded of an earlier interaction with Jesus, where in her desire to serve, Martha complained and found fault with her sister. At that time, Jesus reminded her,
You are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed.Luke 10:38-42
I’m hoping she learned from that and is now serving with a grateful and cheerful heart. Or is there another possibility? After all, in John 12:2 it merely says, Martha served. No commentary at all. Was there nothing more to say of her serving? Was this love poured out, or was she just fulfilling cultural norms?
You know – those expectations we place on ourselves because ‘that’s just the way it’s done’. Or was this an expression of her deep love for Jesus, now she, too, had learned to ‘sit at his feet’, as her sister already had? Was busyness still a struggle for Martha or had her lesson with Jesus taught her to serve with a heart of love and fellowship instead of anger or angst or other’s expectations?
Sometimes I find it hard to know why I am doing what I do. I am a people pleaser. I don’t like being in trouble. I like things to be nice. I love to bless, but I don’t always have the energy to do them all ‘in love’. Sometimes they just feel like chores.
Perhaps, we need to see what the ‘many things’ are that we are worried about and remember there is just ‘one thing that is needed’. Is it time to remove some of those things (stuff, activities, the wrong people in your life, wrong attitudes or focus…) or just a time to re-evaluate and put in perspective? Whatever our roles in life, we have a choice in attitude toward them and the people they effect.
None of us have ‘arrived’ and we all carry a mixture of motives and attitudes. Hopefully, Mary had adjusted hers. I hope to adjust mine, also.
Next, we read of Lazarus, reclining at the table with Jesus – such a lovely picture of fellowship, friendship and intimacy. I can’t imagine a person with more gratefulness than one who has been raised from death – to be given a second chance, more time with loved ones, and now the privilege of sharing this Life with those around him.
And yet, this is our story. We have been saved from death, raised to life. We, too, can have grateful hearts. The gift of eternal life is for us all. Our lives, in the hands of the Saviour can be safe, redeemed, rescued from death.
He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
Now it wasn’t all smooth sailing for Lazarus. He also became a target along with Jesus because of his experience and devotion. (John 12:10).
We too, are targets for the enemy. Which is why we must stay close to Jesus, resting in Him, fellowshipping with Him. He is our strength, our sustenance, our protection, our friend. We can trust Him.
Finally, we see Mary, taking perfume to pour out on Jesus’ feet. She took the place of a servant to anoint her Saviour. To declare her love. To anticipate His death. Instead of waiting for a funeral to express her love, she now poured out that which was prepared for His burial (verse 7). This was costly. A year’s wages saved to buy this oil.
Not everyone understood. Not everyone agreed.
Some will misinterpret our love poured out on Jesus. But He won’t. Some will be angry or envious, greedy or critical. They will twist our gifts into something selfish. They will demand that we should have used our resources, love, or giftings in a different way. Man’s judgement can be cruel.
No matter what ‘they’ say, let us pour our love out on Jesus today and every day, serve Him with all our hearts and sit at His feet, fellowshipping with Him. Let’s take the time. Let’s save and spend our resources in the honour and love and worship of our great Saviour, Redeemer and Lord.
He is worth it all.
- Read about fragrance in 2 Corinthians 2:14-15
- Listen to Cece Winans beautiful song, Alabaster Box https://youtu.be/Z3RO7n7a03g
Credit: Bread image from Bing Images