Welcome to April on the “Front Porch!” This month we will be taking a short break from our study on the Fruit of the Spirit in order to focus on Easter. This month we’ll study the events leading to the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. I’m anticipating a very rich and meaningful study, and I look forward to sharing it with you. This week we’ll begin with the anointing of Christ for burial.
Click HERE to read John 11:45-12:9
“But Jesus said, ‘Let her alone; she has kept this for the day of My burial. For the poor you have with you always, but Me you do not have always'” (John 12:7-8 NKJV).
After Lazarus’s resurrection, many believed in Jesus. Others, however, ran to tell the Pharisees. Their Jewish counsel convened and planned how to end Jesus’s ministry. They feared all men would be converted, and thus Rome would remove their position as a nation. Caiaphas prophesied, “‘You know nothing at all, nor do you consider that it is expedient for us that one man should die for the people, and not that the whole nation should perish’” (John 11:49-50 NKJV).
Therefore Jesus limited His presence to Ephraim, a city located in the countryside. As the Passover approached, the Jews sought for Him, wondering if He would attend the feast that year or not. The chief priests and Pharisees had issued an order that they be informed of His whereabouts so they could seize Him.
Six days before the Passover, Jesus arrived in Bethany. He stayed at the house of Simon the leper where they made Him a supper. Martha served, Lazarus reclined with Him at the table, but Mary did the most important thing of all: she worshiped. She broke a very expensive alabaster vial of pure nard and anointed Jesus’s head and feet and wiped His feet with her hair. The disciples and others criticized Mary for her act of extravagant worship, protesting that the perfume that cost a year’s wages could have been sold and the money given to the poor. Jesus rebuked them, saying, “‘For the
Many people congregated to see Jesus and especially Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. As a result, many believed in this testimonial to the divine power of Christ. The distraught chief priests planned to kill both Jesus and Lazarus in their plot to stop these conversions.
Beginning with Jesus’s arrival in Bethany, He was no longer “in hiding.” In fact, quite the opposite. Throngs came to see the dead man, now alive, and the Teacher who had performed this miracle. Now He invited the crowds to come and surround Him, continuing all the way to His final journey at the cross.
But He didn’t hold Himself up as a “superstar.” He dined at the house of one who would have been exiled for leprosy, but one now healed from Jesus’s touch. He was not surrounded by the elite of that city, but by commoners. Mary had a very important role on this occasion. She didn’t realize the significance at that time, but hers was the only anointing of Christ before His burial. She broke open the alabaster jar with its precious contents–a pound of ointment of spikenard made from an aromatic herb from the valerian family imported from India, Arabia, and the Far East. Its cost was so great that only the very wealthy could afford to purchase it. Even the alabaster jar, made out of a white Egyptian semi-transparent stone, was very costly.
Mary didn’t just pour out the oil on the head and feet of the Lord; she broke the jar so that not one drop would be held back. She gave it all. In that day, only guests of honor, including kings, were anointed. They washed feet with
As Mary wiped her Lord’s feet with her hair, the fragrance filled the room, causing a protest. The men, especially Judas, chastised Mary for wasting a year’s wages. “‘Why was this fragrant oil not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?’” (John 12:5 NKJV). Judas didn’t care for the poor, but he was a thief in charge of the money box.
Let’s learn a valuable lesson from Mary’s actions. The disciples didn’t understand the importance of what she did that night, but we understand. Nothing we do for Christ is wasted. We may waste other things in our lives–time, strength, money–but what we give Him is never wasted.
Have you broken your alabaster jar of sacrificial worship for Jesus today?
Dear Father in heaven, we come to honor and glorify the Name of Jesus. May our lives spill out our offering of sacrifice to You, and may we always be the fragrance of Christ to the world. In Jesus’s Name, Amen.
Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much ~ James 5:16.