Mary got it! Do We?
by Kim Larsen
John 12:3 “Then Mary took a pound of very costly oil of spikenard, anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped His feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil.”
Kingdoms would rise and fall, the names of monarchs and conquerors would be forgotten; but Mary’s deed would be immortalized upon the pages of sacred history. Until time should be no more, that broken alabaster box would tell the story of the abundant love of God for a fallen race. DA 563
It’s interesting that the other people around Jesus misunderstood His mission completely. They either wanted to kill him, or make him King. This was not the case with Mary. We don’t hear her speak, but we see her actions. What do we know about Mary Magdalene? We read about her struggles, she had been delivered from demon possession, not of one but seven (Luke 8:2,3). I believe Mary to have been the woman caught in adultery; she is referred to as the woman in the city who was a sinner in Luke 7:37. Magdala was a city by the sea which Jesus had visited.
She was also the sister of Martha and Lazarus of Bethany. Martha was quite upset with Mary for not helping her prepare food and asked Jesus to tell her to get up and help her. Jesus reprimanded Martha because Mary had chosen that good part….to sit at Jesus feet and listen to him. Luke 10:38-42. By choosing the better, Jesus meant that those whose priority in life is Christ, the knowledge of Him, and nearness to Him have chosen what will last through eternity, such as the “gold, silver and costly stones” referred to in 1Corinthians 3:11-12. From this incident, we learn that those who are distracted with the mundane and earthly are building upon the foundation which is Christ with “wood, hay and straw,” materials which will not stand the fires that come to us in times of testing nor will they be remembered in eternity. Mary’s silence, which we see again in another incident, indicates a lack of concern for herself, especially for defending herself. When we focus on Christ, He becomes our greatest passion and our tendency to self absorption dims and fades.
We see the same demeanor on her part, in John 12:1-8. A Meal had been prepared at the home of Simon the leper, a leper who had been healed by Jesus and had become one of his followers. At some point, Mary broke open an alabaster jar, poured a pint of very expensive perfume on Jesus’ head and feet and wiped them with her hair. In spite of criticism from some of the disciples of the waste of the costly substance, Mary said nothing. Just as in the first incident, Mary allowed Jesus to defend her, which he does, saying that she has kept this perfume for his burial and had done a beautiful act of service to Him.
I love the fact that we see a settled conviction and confidence in her Lord, so much so that she is not compelled to defend herself in the face of criticism. How often do we jump at the chance to justify ourselves in the eyes of others who criticize and mock us? Particularly where our faith is concerned.? But if we, like Mary, make sitting at the feet of Jesus and listening to Him our priority, we will have her depth of understanding, her passion for Christ, and her complete faith in His plan for our lives. We may not have Jesus sitting in our living rooms in person, but we have His Word, the Bible, and from it we have all the knowledge and understanding we need to live a life of secure and confident faith like Mary.