Mary of Bethany Honored Jesus
Mary of Bethany was the sister of Martha and Lazarus whom Jesus raised from the dead. Mary’s greatest Act of love was offered to the Lord just before His crucifixion (Matthew 26:1-6; Mark 14:3-9; John 12:1-8).
In honor of the Lord, Simon prepared a feast for Jesus and the disciples. There, Mary broke open an alabaster jar, poured the perfume on Jesus’ head and feet, and wiped them with her hair. Mary’s action was first protested by Judas according to John 12:4, 5. The other disciples apparently joined him in the criticism, which was probably circulated around the table.
According to Mark 14:5, the estimated value of the perfume was more than 300 pence which would be practically equivalent to the annual income of an ordinary laborer. Judas resented the fact that the perfume had not been sold and the money deposited in the communal treasury, where he could personally have access to it, “because he was a thief” (John 12:6).
Jesus’ disciples did not realize that the Master will give His life in the coming days! Only Mary seemed to understand, even though dimly, what lay ahead. Her earnest desire to do “what she could” (Mark 14:8) was highly appreciated by Jesus as He faced the hour of crisis.
Mary’s original plan was to use the spikenard in preparing the body of Jesus for burial (Mark 16:1), but the Spirit of God impressed her to use it upon this occasion instead. Jesus said that her act of love will be written down in the Scriptures as a memorial for her. Sadly, Jesus’ commendation of Mary’s act of love at Simon’s feast, prompted Judas to betray the Lord (Luke 22:3) for 30 pieces of silver.
Mary’s act of love and sacrifice reflected the very same spirit that had moved Jesus to come down to this evil earth to redeem humanity. “Who, being in the form of God, did not consider it [a]robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross? (Philippians 2:6–8).
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In His service,