Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries
Feb. 27, 2018
Read John 12:1-8
Mary therefore took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped His feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.
~ John 12:3 (ESV)
Put yourself in Mary's place. It hadn't been that long since she was weeping for her dead brother Lazarus at Jesus' feet. Jesus raised him from the dead, and now the family was giving a dinner party in His honor. How could she ever find a way to thank Him?
Martha did it through cooking and serving the dinner -- that was her gift. But Mary wanted to do something else. So she brought out a treasure -- a flask of pure nard ointment, which was probably the most expensive thing they had in the house. Then she poured it over Jesus' head and feet (see Mark 14:3, John 12:3). Finally, she knelt to wipe His feet dry with her hair -- unthinkable for a Jewish woman.
Why do this? Anointing was a custom they had for honored guests. It was also the way priests were ordained and kings were installed as rulers. The very name "Messiah" (or "Christ") means "the Anointed One." Perhaps all these things were in her heart as she honored Jesus.
When we think about what Jesus has done for us, we find ourselves in Mary's dilemma. How can we thank Him for what He has done? He sought us out, called us to be His own, laid down His life to save us, rose from the dead to give us everlasting life -- how can we ever love Him enough? It hurts trying to express such feelings. And so we look around for some action, some way to say "Thank You. I love You," when words fail us.
Thanks be to God, Jesus has given us ways to express that love. He has given us Baptism and the Lord's Supper. He has given us our neighbors, even the lowliest, and promised that "as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to Me" (Matthew 25:40b).
John tells us that the house was filled with the fragrance of the nard. As we seek to love the Lord like she did, may the world be filled with the fragrance of our own thank offerings.
THE PRAYER: I love You, Lord. Strengthen my love for You, and let it show in my actions. Amen.
Use these devotions in your newsletter and bulletin! Used by permission; all rights reserved by the Int'l LLL (LHM).
What would you do for Jesus if He came to your house as a dinner guest?