“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.”
Simon could hardly believe his newly restored eyes. He scanned the room, amazed that he, a former leper, was hosting a meal for Jesus and his friends in his home. The room was buzzing with conversation, heaping dishes of food crisscrossed the table, and Martha was delivering fresh loaves of bread.
It was a supper party of has-beens. Sitting across from the once-deformed social outcast was the once-dead Lazarus. The two men laughed and cried as they retold their stories of Jesus’ miraculous restoration of their lives and limbs.
“Simon, what was it like to see your gnarled fingers and limbs stretch out into wholeness?”
“Lazarus, what was it like to be dead and then suddenly alive?”
Everyone was so enthralled in the conversation, no one noticed when Mary quietly slipped away from the table.
Moments later, she returned with an alabaster flask of very costly spikenard and knelt down at Jesus’ feet. She broke the long neck of the flask, and the fragrant oil began to spill over the jagged top. The conversation stopped, and all eyes turned toward her as she poured the oil over Jesus’ head and feet.
Jesus sat still as the oily perfume cascaded down his hair, pooled on top of his eyebrows, and dripped down into his beard. Mary unfastened her hair and as she knelt over his feet, her long locks tenting her face from the bewildered stares of the supper guests. The once-lively room was quiet except for the soft sound of her crying as she used her hair to wipe away the excess oil at his feet.
The musky perfume filled the air when Judas broke the silence. “Why was this fragrant oil wasted? For it might have been sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor” (Mark 14:4b-5)?
Like a window had been opened that sucked all the air out of the room, the mood changed instantly. Mary, suddenly embarrassed, sat back on her heels and stared at the floor. Several disciples chimed in their support for Judas’s noble-sounding objection.
It did seem like an over-the-top and wasteful thing to do.
Where Your Heart Is, Your Treasure Is Also
But Jesus knew Judas’ motives. He cared nothing for the poor and had been embezzling from the group for years. It was clear to him now that Jesus wasn’t going to overthrow Rome and usher in his earthly kingdom. Judas might as well squeeze every last drop of money out of this deal while he could. The proceeds from the vial alone would’ve at least made up for one year of his wasted time!
Jesus rebuked him and affirmed Mary’s actions and priorities. He said, “Let her alone; she has kept this for the day of my burial. For the poor you have with you always, but me you do not have always” (John 12:7-8). This extravagant act wasn’t a waste, it was worship, and it revealed everything about what both Mary, and Judas, treasured.
What Do You Treasure?
Judas who knew the price of everything had no idea of the infinite value of the treasure right in front of his eyes. As far as he was concerned, Mary had just wasted a fortune’s worth of oil and needlessly poured it onto the floor.
But Mary knew that no earthly treasure was worth having if it kept her from lavishly pouring out her love for Jesus. It only made sense that the cost should compare to the value of the object of her worship. She saw Jesus as a treasure hidden in a field and was willing to give all that she had in order to attain it (Matthew 13:44).
Worship is Never Wasted
While Mary’s expensive spikenard was used one time, Jesus said it would never be forgotten. He said, “Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her” (Matthew 26:13).
Nothing given to Jesus in worship is ever wasted! How can a life poured out in sacrificial love to the one true Treasure, ever be lost? The preciousness of the Treasure is displayed for all the world to see in what we’re willing to “waste” for it.
Are you “wasting” your life for what is truly valuable? If we pour out our lives and our worship for the all-surpassing Treasure that’s found in Jesus Christ, we’ll never be left wanting. Waste not, want not. Let’s pour it all out for Jesus, for he alone is worthy!
Seeking to treasure him above all else,
P.S. This is the first post in a new Easter Series, The Wonderous Cross. Download the free coloring book and follow along as we inch closer to the Cross.