Mary’s eyes moved from Lazarus to Jesus to Martha and back to Jesus again. He had given them so much. Life from the dead for the brother she loved, and words of life for their hungry hearts. Mary’s eyes searched the face of the man she believed to be the Messiah. She recognized the love that always shone from it. But she also sensed a somber mood, a preoccupation with something very serious. She had heard Jesus describe what would happen to him in Jerusalem. Things that others had dismissed as symbolic she took to heart. She was fully aware of the power of the Sanhedrin and the degree of danger that confronted Jesus. She had heard of how his mood had changed and how often he spoke of frightful things that would soon happen in the Holy City.
The reality of his death pierced through her heart. How she would miss him, how she longed to express her gratitude for all that he was and all that he had done. How she wished to honor his sacrifice, a death that she could not fully understand. She decided at that moment that it was time.
Mary held the rare and valuable pound of perfumed oil, a gift she had saved for a long time. She rose from her place, walked to where Jesus reclined at the table, and knelt by his feet. She anointed the oil on his feet and then she bent close to the ground and wiped his feet with her hair. The fragrance of the perfume filled the house as the room slowly became entirely silent. All eyes were fixed on Mary and then on Jesus.
“Why was this perfume wasted? It could have been sold for a year’s wages.” It was the quietly indignant voice of Judas. “Why wasn’t this money given to the poor?”
Mary froze in her bent over position at Jesus feet. Then slowly she knelt upright. She looked to Jesus, and then cast her eyes to the earthen floor.
“Leave her alone,” Jesus spoke a sharp rebuke as his eyes swept the room and rested briefly on Judas. He felt deep anger and sadness in his heart as her heard Judas criticize the act of love he had just witnessed. He knew that Judas concern was not for the poor, but for his own personal benefit. Jesus knew that he frequently stole from the treasury purse for which he was responsible. “The poor you will have with you for the rest of your lives. But I will not always be with you.” He looked straight into Mary’s face and his voice softened. “She has done what was in her power to do. She has saved this perfume to honor the day of my burial.” Mary dared to raise her eyes from the floor to her Master’s face. The troubled look in her eyes melted into peace and joy. Her gift had been accepted, and cherished.
He has deep appreciation for what we pour out to him from our hearts.
Hear his appreciation in the face of misunderstanding and criticism from others.
GIVE this appreciation to our Brothers and Sisters as we each offer what is in our ability.
And when the voice of the accuser is strong, let us hear the voice of Jesus: Leave her alone: she is doing what is in her power to do.
I will focus on the voice of Jesus and do what is in my power to do!