Mary of Bethany

Background Reading: John 12

Mary’s account is a popular and rich one and every time we meet her in scripture, so much of her character and devotion to Christ is revealed. So much that we can apply to our lives or ask the Holy Spirit to impart in our hearts.This week, with fresh eyes, let’s focus on the account and allow the Holy Spirit to speak to us in new ways.

In the midst of the gathering at Simon the Leper’s house, Mary found Jesus, broke the head of an alabaster box that contained ointment of spikenard (perfume that cost a year’s pay), poured its contents on His head and feet, knelt before Him, wept and wiped His feet with her hair. She entered the gathering quietly. She didn’t make a grand announcement and  didn’t shuffle around so that others could see her anointing the One who raised her brother and had forgiven her. Her act hints to a common factor in worshipping Christ, humility. “It is your work . . . to humble yourself and not wait for God to humble you. God’s hand at times bears heavily upon men to humble them and bring them into a proper position before Him; but how much better it is to keep the heart daily humbled before God.  (Ellen G. White, Lift Him Up., p. 282).” Let us ask the Holy Spirit to grant us humility so that anything that we do for Christ or in Christ is not rooted in selfishness and pride.

As Mary wiped the feet of Jesus with her hair, she was silent. Still the Savior noted her deed and said that her gift will be remembered throughout generations. Her actions and tears said what her words limited her in saying. I am thankful that Christ understands our wordless acts….He isn’t impressed with our disclaimers, declarations and professions. Only our actions reveal the true devotion of our hearts and stand as powerful testimonies that can live on beyond our lifetimes. Let us aim to allow our actions to speak loudly and let us also remember that our tears and silent hurts are noted by God too.

You know how troubled I am; you have kept a record of my tears. Psalm 56:6

The disciples, especially Judas took notice of Mary’s honoring of Christ and complained that it was a waste of money. They reasoned that the money spent to purchase the perfume could have been better invested in helping the poor.  Mary heard the words of criticism and chose not to respond. She was publicly humiliated by the open rebuke and criticism of Judas, still she didn’t say a word in her defense. She allowed Christ to be defend her. Jesus defended Mary by saying, “Let her alone; why trouble ye her? She hath wrought a good work on Me. For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but Me ye have not always. She hath done what she could: she is come aforehand to anoint My body to the burying (verse 7, 8).” Not every voice that speaks against us deserves a response. Let us trust Christ to silence those who oppose, ridicule and criticize us and let us lavishly and unapologetically, express our love to Christ, even if our way of expressing our love to Him is different from others.

Love, peace and joy,