In John 12 we read the story of Mary coming to Jesus and taking “a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard” and anointing Jesus’ feet with it and then wiping them with her hair (Jn. 12:3). What everyone was probably thinking, Judas actually says out loud: “Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” He sees this as a senseless waste of money. In today’s dollars this ointment was worth about $20,000. That is an expensive bottle of perfume! Jesus, however, not only accepts the kind and generous gesture from Mary, but then rebukes Judas saying, “Leave her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of my burial. For the poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me.” Jesus’ point was simple. Mary was expressing her great love for Jesus and was desiring to honor him in the greatest why she could think of. There was no length to which she would not go, no cost she would not expend, no effort she would withhold. It was not a matter of being practical. It was a matter of expressing to Christ the honor and glory and worship he so richly deserved. She gave Christ her most and her best. Are we doing that? So often we give God our leftovers. We give him what practically makes sense. If Jesus were here today in the flesh, how many of us would honestly be willing to pour out $20,000 worth of perfume on his feet? Or, would we think to ourselves, ‘Well, that’s a bit excessive. Jesus knows I love him without having to pour out $20,000 dollars’ worth of perfume.’ This is probably more true of most of us than we care to admit. We see it in other ways. ‘God knows I love him even though I don’t attend church.’ ‘God knows how important he is to me even though I only give 2% of my income in tithes.’ ‘Jesus knows how special he is to me even though I get more dressed up for a funeral than to worship Christ on Sunday morning.’ It’s a good thing Mary did not think this way, otherwise we would not have this story here to be blessed by and to spur us on to show our love and honor and worship to Christ in greater ways.
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