You’re attending a party. The guests of honor are Jesus and Lazerus. The host of the party is Simon the Leper (see Matthew 26:6-12), a man that Jesus must have healed from the horrible disease. What a festival, the Son of God, a man who had been dead four days who is alive, and a man who had been healed from a horrible skin disease, all in the same house. Can you imagine how incredible this get together must have been. The people enjoyed a great dinner, and some incredible discussions.
But something happened that changed the whole feel of the party. As you are sitting and listening to Jesus, Lazerus’ sister Mary sits down next to Jesus and takes out this jar. She begins to pour the oil on Jesus feet, and then uses her hair to wipe the oil from His feet. Just when you begin to think that this is a weird thing, you realize that the jar of oil she is using is incredibly expensive. In fact, the oil is from India and is worth about a year’s wages. Someone worked for a year to pay for this perfume oil, and now Mary is pouring it on Jesus feet.
While Mary’s actions may not be normal for a party, they teach us quite a bit about worship and love for our Savior. First of all, we should be amazed at the cost of her offering to Christ. For most of us, when we talk about giving offerings to the Lord, whether it is in money, time, or our passions, we give Jesus the leftovers. We don’t give him that which costs us greatly. We feel pretty good if we drop a few bucks in the plate, or give a day once a year to do a “mission project.” But Mary’s offering was incredibly costly, and she poured it out completely.
We also ought to be amazed at the fact that Mary was so overwhelmed at the presence of Jesus that she didn’t give a rip about what others were thinking about her. Mary sits at the feet of Jesus, pours out the oil, and wipes his feet with her hair. While it may seem weird and kind of gross to us, Mary was so enthralled with what Jesus had done for she and her family that the only thing that mattered was her worship. How different this is from us when we worship. For most of us, the most important thing that happens in a worship service is for us to keep our dignity.
Mary’s worship also draws us to the cross. This perfume was usually used in burials after someone’s death. Possibly, Mary had this perfume around because she had planned to use it on her brother’s body. By using perfume and oils, the smell of death could be held back for days so families could visit the tomb for quite a while. But now, because of Jesus, her brother is alive. But something in Mary’s soul realized that the raising of Lazerus was not the most important thing Jesus would do for Mary. Somehow she realized that Jesus would die for her. Her worship ultimately was a recognition of Jesus death on the cross. When she understood the price to be paid by Jesus for her, Mary could do nothing less than pour everything out for Him. Ultimately, this is worship. Giving all we are and all we have because we realize the price He paid for us. We need to learn to worship like Mary.