(Matthew 26.6-13; Mark 14.3-9)
1Six days before Passover Jesus went back to Bethany, where he had raised Lazarus from death. 2A meal had been prepared for Jesus. Martha was doing the serving, and Lazarus himself was there.
3 Mary took a very expensive bottle of perfume and poured it on Jesus' feet. She wiped them with her hair, and the sweet smell of the perfume filled the house.
4A disciple named Judas Iscariot was there. He was the one who was going to betray Jesus, and he asked, 5“Why wasn't this perfume sold for 300 silver coins and the money given to the poor?” 6Judas did not really care about the poor. He asked this because he carried the moneybag and sometimes would steal from it.
7Jesus replied, “Leave her alone! She has kept this perfume for the day of my burial. 8 You will always have the poor with you, but you won't always have me.”
A Plot To Kill Lazarus
9A lot of people came when they heard that Jesus was there. They also wanted to see Lazarus, because Jesus had raised him from death. 10So the chief priests made plans to kill Lazarus. 11He was the reason that many of the people were turning from them and putting their faith in Jesus.
Witnessing and testifying: two words that describe how Christians tell others about Jesus. Both involve telling personal stories about what Jesus has done for us.
Need healing? Jesus performs miracles.
Need your sins forgiven? Jesus already forgave you!
Want to avoid hell? Jesus is the only way to heaven.
It’s true that God’s incredibly generous love for humanity overflows into the many good things he does for us. And since many people first experience God’s love at their point of immediate need, it is no wonder that they tell others Jesus can meet their need too.
But we must be careful not to fall in love with what God does for us rather than loving God himself. Don’t treat him like a servant who is there just to fulfill your needs and wants.
In Jesus’ day, most people saw him as a holy man who could restore their sight and health. He was a wise man who could rule on family disputes. They hoped he would throw out the Romans and restore freedom to God’s people. Almost everyone had an agenda for Jesus, even his own disciple Judas, who enriched himself by associating with the Lord.
But today we read of one person who responded to God’s love and goodness with a sacrificial, loving act that demanded nothing in return. With a grateful heart for raising her brother back to life, Mary honoured Jesus with a gift of perfume worth an entire year’s wages!
Today’s reading suggests a challenging question:
Am I like Judas, using Jesus for my purposes and what he will do for me? or
Am I like Mary, loving Jesus because of who he is and his goodness towards us?
Be like Mary. Receive his love and blessings gratefully, and love and serve him unconditionally.
Jesus, you love me and I am grateful. Keep me mindful that you are also my lord. May I serve you well so you can say to me “You are a good and faithful servant.” You are the Lord of lords and King of kings. In your name I pray. Amen.