Bible Society of South Africa

Jesus – Day 15

Bible text(s)

3Then Mary took half a litre of a very expensive perfume made of pure nard, poured it on Jesus' feet, and wiped them with her hair. The sweet smell of the perfume filled the whole house.

10I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and difficulties for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

2 Corinthians 12:10GNBOpen in Bible reader

28So there is no difference between Jews and Gentiles, between slaves and free people, between men and women; you are all one in union with Christ Jesus.

Galatians 3:28GNBOpen in Bible reader

It would only be a very expensive perfume that would fill the house with its aroma; and it would only be a very expensive perfume that would be good enough for her Teacher and Lord. Mary was clear that He was her top priority.

The extravagance of Mary’s gift was an unconditional outpouring of her deep love and devotion for this astounding teacher at whose feet she had sat and learned so much about truth, cleansing and freedom as she learnt about the true values of God’s kingdom, which opposed those of this world. Paul, in 2 Corinthians 12:10 would later say in the same vein: “That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” and in Galatians 3:28 “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female …”

What Mary does for Jesus is a pure act of devotion and worship. She has spared no cost in buying the expensive perfume and she spares no thought to humbling herself to the level of the servant who would normally be the one to attend to washing guests’ feet. She kneels before Him to anoint His feet and wipe it away with her hair, not caring that, in that society, this would be frowned upon.

Jesus, however, recognises more in her actions than devotion: He perceives that she is preparing Him for burial because He knows that His death is imminent. Although He had spoken of this to the disciples before, they would not accept it. So when Judas objects to Mary’s actions as wasteful, Jesus defends her with the words: “Leave her alone … It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.” (John 12:7-8) This is a very tender moment for Jesus who would find no-one to support Him when the time of His death arrived, as all His disciples would run away in fear. How precious for Mary to remember later that God had worked through her to anoint His Son for that day.

Do we have Mary’s heart for Jesus? Would we do anything, no matter how humbling, to show our devotion to Him in spite of what those around us would say? Would we be prepared to spend an enormous amount of money – the perfume was reckoned to have cost a year’s wages – to lavish something precious on Him?

Are you extravagant in your expression of adoration of Jesus?

Bible Society of South Africav.4.13.12
Find us on