Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. Then Mary took about a pintof pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.
But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.”He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.
“Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. “It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.” John 12:1-8
Mary's radical act of pouring out of the perfume as an offering of love foreshadows what would take place on the cross. Jesus gave His life not out of drudgery, obligation, or duty, but rather compassionate love for us.
Forgiveness is free, but devotion requires a sacrifice. We cheapen God's gift of grace when we can accept it and then go about our business as if nothing has changed. To truly experience the freedom Christ provides, we must die to ourselves to live for Him.
Moved by His sacrifice, we offer every part of who we are in worship. We do so not to prove we're worthy of His love, but instead as a declaration of thankfulness for already being fully known and fully loved.
For Mary, the perfume that now soaked the feet of Jesus was much more than just a fragrance. Contained in the bottle was a year's worth of wages. It represented financial security and provision, and, more than likely, served as her most prized possession. But, it was her joy to open the cap and empty every last drop at the feet of the One who she worshipped.
The extravagance of her actions took everyone by surprise. Some questioned Mary's boldness. Others saw what she did as short-sighted and irresponsible. Living a life of radical generosity will never make sense in our me-first culture that values comfort and convenience above all.
Even in the church world, we often settle for a manageable faith that has no problem putting limits on our sacrifice. We want all the grace we can handle, but very little of the stretching and molding required to reflect Christ's heart of kindness, humility, and sacrifice.
Be radical in the way you give of yourself - your time, your attention, your resources, and your ability. Do you desire to see God move in your life? Do you yearn for deeper faith? Then ask yourself, what do you need to pour out?
Where is God calling you to live a life of audacious generosity?
What do you need to pour out at the feet of Jesus?
God, You gave all You had so I could walk in freedom. May I respond to Your sacrifice by offering my life as an act of worship. I will look for ways to give and empty myself as I rest in the security of the love only You can provide. In Your name, Jesus, amen.