Lent Reading: John 12:1-8
The average wage in SA is currently around $75,000 pa. In our passage today Mary used a large amount of expensive perfume, to anoint Jesus’ feet. The estimation was its value was a year’s wages. It is difficult to find perfume that expensive. It is difficult to come to terms with using it like this.
Judas objected, “why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor?” As a betrayer, and thief, it is impossible to accept his complaint. But reflect for a moment, this woman poured her whole life savings out on Jesus’ feet. She used her hair to wipe off the excess oil. How might you have responded to this extravagance? What would it take for you to be as extravagant towards Jesus?
Judas’ complaint betrayed him. Jesus did not have his heart. Jesus had the heart of Mary. Her acts of extravagant costly worship left no room for doubt.
Mary had the heart of Jesus. Jesus defended her with these words,
“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
It seemed Mary knew Jesus had limited time. Jesus’ death was on his mind. Instead of receiving this anointing as an act of celebration, he saw it as preparation for his burial. The objections of the other disciples show, they missed this. Mary did not.
We can be as insensitive to the heart of Jesus as the disciples. We can use the appearance of righteousness to cover our own sin and hardness of heart, like Judas. I wonder though, is there a desire in us for Jesus to have our heart like he had Mary’s? With all the cost, extravagance and humility that might come with it.