Mary of Bethany

by Mar 30, 2021Devotional, Easter, Supporting Cast of Easter

Mary of Bethany

 A lone young woman in a room full of men approaches Jesus with a box. The box held a perfume so valuable and expensive that it represented this young woman’s total life savings. This box held enough money for her to live comfortably into retirement, and a dowry which would allow her to marry into a wealthy family. This young woman was Mary of Bethany.

She approached Jesus and, with no hesitation, poured the perfume over Him. As she watched her future drip onto His head, shoulders, and feet, the moment could only be described as profound.

Not all saw it this way. The disbelief of Mary’s actions immediately drew criticism from the crowd (John 12:5, Mark 14:4). But Jesus silenced their critiques, remembering the criticism Mary had received from her sister Martha for simply sitting at His feet and listening (Luke 10:38 -Luke 10:42). As the aroma of the perfume filled the space, it was clear that Mary had once again chosen to honor Jesus in an astonishing display of sacrifice. This moment is known as the anointing at Bethany and happened just days before Jesus would be crucified.

Mary knew something about the worthiness of Jesus. She realized her future would mean nothing without Him. She would have known Jesus’ teachings about His imminent death even if she didn’t understand it would only be days away. Traditions at this time called for the anointing of bodies both for death and also for kings at their coronation. Mary’s actions had purpose. As Jesus endured the suffering, torture, and pain of crucifixion there would have been moments he could smell the perfume anointing Him for both His death and His Kingship. He would have been reminded of the generous sacrifice of young Mary as He gave the ultimate price for her eternity.

In the Easter season we have the opportunity to position ourselves like Mary – we can choose to pour our worship at His feet and to surrender our futures to Him. As we commit ourselves to remembering the ultimate sacrifice He made, we have the invitation to honor Him like Mary did.

Our invitation from Mary’s life during this season is to empty the box of things we hold valuable before Jesus and, like young Mary, sit listening at His feet.

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