"It is in the process of being worshipped that God communicates His presence to men."
Quietly, humbly, with the footsteps of a gentle servant, the woman drew near her objective. Several men, in repose, were gathered, honoring the Messiah, perchance conversing about His wondrous miracles and stunning parables that left so many in awe. Surely, vibrant discussion arose concerning one of the most recent wonders, the resurrection of Lazarus, in whose home they were all now gathered.
As Mary proceeded to the table, toward the men, who were immersed in much discourse, Christ must have been watching her, knowing that this divine moment had been determined before the foundation of the world. Holding her precious alabaster box, Mary meekly knelt at the feet of Jesus. Her long, beautiful hair, bound on top of her head, she now let down. All eyes must have turned to her.
Such a shocking move! A move of nerve! A move of dishonor! One so inappropriate, unthinkable for a respectable woman! Were there gasps? Whispers? Outright objections? Or, . . . was their silent disbelief? Expectancy being raised and discomfort being marked, eyes remained fixed on this lovely follower of Christ, whose very volition was only set on pleasing her Lord and worshiping Him.
The men noticed the alabaster box in her hand. In amazement and perplexity, they watched as she broke it open, pouring the precious oil over the feet of her Savior and wiping his feet with her hair. The aroma of the spikenard spread throughout the room, the costly oil infusing the home with a prophetic pause, a subtle, yet somber sign of the passion awaiting Christ.
Amidst the rich fragrance, the awe of the moment, and the quiet, broken, profuse worship of a humble woman, a voice projected in radical defiance, "Why wasn't this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year's wages" (John 12:5). This disciple could not see the value, the purpose, the veracity of Mary's love. Judas had no concept of or desire to worship Jesus. As the "keeper of the money bag," thieving Judas found Mary's act unbearable.
"Leave her alone," Jesus replied. "It was intended, that she should save this perfume for my day of burial. You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me" (John 12:7-8). The Lord's words were a sharp rebuke, a quickened reminder of His coming death and resurrection. And His words bear encouragement for us today, worshipers of Christ, who believe in faith that He is the Son of God, who bore our sins, sacrificing His life in a shameful, excruciating, ignoble death, and rising again after three days to be forever glorified with His Father.
Yes, Christ's rebuke speaks now to us, telling us worship is our gift to Him. It is an outward expression of an inward work of love and grace in our hearts and lives. It is a heavenly connection to our beloved Lord. It feeds our souls and empowers us to live godly, spirit-filled lives. Worship is sweet communion with the lover of our souls and a blessed time of intimate peace and reverent awe for the giver of all life. Worship is where faith meets feeling, where voice leans to victory, where questions die and rest abides.
When voices of cynics cry, when thoughts of doubt arise, when objectors accuse, and mockers curse your faith, remember Mary, the passion of her faith, the costly, selfless offering she gave to Jesus; and remember His unfailing love for her and for you, His abiding affection for us all, and His defense of a humble woman, whose primary goal was pouring herself out to her Master. Remember, and then reject all disparaging voices. Put ill opinion of those who are of this world behind you.
Mary's life, her testimony, her pure worship, are a picture of grace, the substance of a beautiful woman of God. Her adoration of the Lord flowed from depth of dedication and a heart helplessly surrendered, desperate to know Him, seek Him, and give everything she had to Him.
Will you join her legacy? Will you ask the Lord for a renewed focus on Him and a sweet dedication to communing with Him in spirit and in truth? Not for a moment only, not just for Sundays, not for a few short sacrifices of time, but for all of time and eternity, with everything you are, giving all you have? Will you worship Jesus?
Text quoted and reference material is from Archaeological Study Bible, NIV