By CRAIG HARRIS
John 12: 3-8 (NIV): Then Mary took about 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. 4 But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, 5 "Why wasn't this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year's wages. " 6 He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it. 7 "Leave her alone," Jesus replied. "[It was intended] that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. 8 You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me."
This story happened the night before Jesus rode into Jerusalem on the donkey. He was at the home of Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. Lazarus’ sister Martha served Jesus supper, but then Mary poured a jar of expensive perfume on Jesus’ feet and wiped them with her hair.
I want to celebrate her act of true worship. Her worship was appropriate for the occasion. Jesus said her anointing of him was symbolic of his impending death. True worship is always appropriate for the occasion. It was costly. That perfume cost a year’s salary! And she poured it on Jesus’ feet. David said he would not make a sacrifice that cost him nothing (2 Samuel 24:24). So often we enjoy God’s blessings, but true worship involves sacrifice.
This act of worship was humbling. She wiped Jesus’ feet with her hair. In that culture and in any culture, this is an act of humility. David said he would become “undignified” for God (2 Samuel 6:22). Do we? Do we ever make fools of ourselves in our devotion to God? I love her example here. She was not full of pride, she was full of love. And her worship was timely: Jesus would be crucified in a week. If she had waited she would have missed her opportunity for this expression.
And typically, someone didn’t like it. When we go all out for God we can expect criticism and opposition. John tells us where Judas’ heart really was. But Jesus accepted her worship because God should be worshiped and Jesus was God.
Autographed copies of Craig's fiction novel “The Dead Peasants File” are for sale at Blaser's Books in downtown Palestine. Harris is the pastor at Brushy Creek and Mt. Vernon United Methodist churches.