Friday, April 25, 2008

Mary and Martha Book Study - Chapter 10

Chapter 10 - Mary's Extravagant Love

John 12:3
"Then Mary...poured it on Jesus' feet and wiped his feet with her hair.
And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume."

I know this bible story and have never connected the fact that this is the same Mary in the "Mary and Martha" passage. I have reread the passage in John and find that it can't really be a different Mary. The setting is in Bethany with Martha serving and the resurrected Lazarus is reclining at the table with Jesus and his disciples.

Weaver describes the significance of the jar of perfume. She explains that the bottle of perfume was probably (we don't know for sure, just traditional and historical references) her dowry - to be given to her husband in marriage. It was worth a years wages and would be estimated to be valued at around $30,000 in today's currency. The container that held the perfume was ordinary. Weaver writes on page 160

"What mattered most - what matters still today - is the treasure the container holds. And the treasure Mary poured out that day was more than an expensive perfume. She was pouring out her very life in love and sacrificial service."

We are those ordinary containers filled with the priceless spirit of Christ. Am I pouring it out is service to the one I love? Am I willing to share what is inside for the Kingdom?

Weaver goes on to compare two followers - Judas and Mary. Mary choose to be changed by Jesus and Judas was not. Here is what Weaver says on Page 163.

"Instead of just sitting passively and listening to the Savior, instead of being overwhelmed by grief (referring to Lazarus' death), this time Mary responded. She gave herself in worship to the One who had given so much to her and her family."

"Though Jesus knew the disciple's weaknesses, he had given Judas chance after chance in the three years they had traveled together...But Judas had remained unchanged. Imagine spending three years of your life with the Messiah, yet walking away more or less the same - or even worse than when you started. Judas did just that."

The best and most amazing thing about this passage is Jesus' response. Mary was vulnerable and extravagant, risking her reputation and chances for a husband. I can see Jesus gently looking at her with approval and tells those mocking her in Mark 14:6

"Leave her alone," said Jesus.
"Why are you bothering her?
She has done a beautiful thing to me."

To be praised and loved by my savior - what a prize!

Dear Jesus- You have laid down you live sacrifically, without complaint or regret. I am so thankful that you love me with a never-ending and extravagant kind of love. Lord, help me to worship you and be changed by you that my "perfume" will fill the air of the room. Amen

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