John 12: 1-8
I imagine in today’s passage that people made Jesus supper, all of them chopping up things for the stew while Jesus sat and watched them. Martha was in charge. The others did what she told them to do. Lazarus maybe was still clumsy and even stiff from his four days in the tomb.
No one noticed that Mary had gone again until she came back, holding a slender clay jar in her hands. Without a word she knelt at Jesus’s feet and broke the neck of the jar, so that the smell of spikenard filled the room—a sharp scent somewhere between woody, spicy, and musty. Most of us may be so moved by the scene that we overlook the eccentricities while we do not read this story within its context.
However, what Mary did to Jesus was extravagant and excessive as Judas was quick to note. “Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and the money given to the poor?”
Whatever Mary thought about what she did, and whatever anyone else in the room thought about it, Jesus knew that it was a careful, but prophetic, act by Mary. None of them did not realize what would happen to Jesus soon, but Mary knew, and her prophetic action revealed the truth of what would happen not only to Jesus but also to them.
Mary was anointing Jesus for his burial, and while her behavior may have seemed strange to those standing around, she acted out the truth that no one else could see.
Mary could have anointed his head and everyone there could have proclaimed him a king, which was the traditional way to install a person as a king. Probably, that was what other people in that room wanted Mary to do. But, Mary did not do that.
I’d like to draw our attention to the two characters: Mary and Judas. Mary is the one who is willing to take real and prophetic action, even this is costly for her personally.
How about Judas who was one of the twelve disciples? Judas was the one who claimed to follow the way of Jesus, and wanted to be regarded as just and compassionate, but his action revealed quite the opposite. He was stealing from the community’s funds. He later betrayed Jesus to the religious authorities and Roman Rulers. Judas represents those who claim to follow Jesus seriously, say they want to do something about it, but don’t really mean it, and don’t really live out to it.
In today’s passage, Mary got the message and acted on it. While some of those thought that
Mary was crazy and wasteful, at least, her action prophesied the truth, who Jesus really was,
the one who came for us to be the Lord and our Savior, not to be a king.
Now, we got the message. And the choice lays down for each of us either to act out like Mary or Judas.
Thanks be to God.