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.
This is one of those times where if Jesus WASN’T the Son of God, then Him letting Mary do this to Him would contradict everything He had taught. Judas’ logic would have been true if Jesus was just a Rabbi. No Rabbi deserves such excess luxury in the context of Jesus’ teaching about not having a place to lay His head, the world hating Him, and giving your second coat away.
Of course the point here ISN’T the nard, as Judas suspects, or maybe even as John suspects (since he comments on the yummy smell filling the whole house) but the point is that Mary is giving it to Jesus. The point is NEVER what or how much, but how it’s being given. I have a friend, we’ll call him Mr. Gray, who you might judge because he has a nice Toyota Minivan. “That money should have been spent on the poor, and he can drive around in an older, lower priced van”. But what if I told you Mr. Gray took that van, filled it with gas, gift cards for restaurants and gas stations, roadtrip toys and healthy snacks for our kids, and let us have that van for 4 weeks one summer so we could go to some cross-culture training in Colorado (1,000 miles one way)?! Wow!
Jesus just will not accept religious activities aimed at anybody for the purpose of bringing anyone else glory except God! Martha is still serving, but now in a new light, with new purpose, and with new peace. Mary is still at Jesus’ feet, but with new insight, new gratitude, new devotion. If you think about it, once Mary’s hair is soaked with tears and nard, she won’t be in ANY shape to help Martha with dinner. She’s burned her ships as far as helping Martha goes for this meal, but Martha makes no mention of it. Can I focus on Martha for a minute and say that her activity is as radical as Mary’s, because she’s doing the exact same activity she did before, except in a redeemed way? Sure, anybody can do something radical once Jesus rocks their world, but what if He calls you back to the same mediocre activity but with a new Spirit? That’s Martha in John 12.
Jesus didn’t call Judas out for stealing in front of all of those people. He knew full well that Judas’ heart was as wicked as the Pharisees, but He was still laying out chances for Judas to be transformed. He threw two important things at them in His reply, 1. that He had a burial to prepare for, and 2. taking care of the poor is secondary to being attentive to Jesus.
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