Reading: John 12. 1-9a
Mary’s outpouring of worship was the subject of divided opinion. Though deemed as waste by man, it brought tremendous pleasure to the heart of God. Her unparalleled appreciation of Christ was clearly manifested by way of this costly deed.
As Christ in all His intrinsic worth reclined before her, Mary simply recognized that she was in the presence of someone greater than herself. Praise be to God that, whilst this humbled her, it did not hinder her. Therefore, she came contritely, aware of her own unworthiness yet full of holy awe. Whilst Martha served and Lazarus sat, Mary stooped. The very word for worship, proskuneo, indicates a postural change. It is of no wonder, then, that we find Mary at His feet. She knew well that this was a sweet place to be, for she had been there before. This was the same ‘Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet’, Luke 10. 39. She chose, on that occasion, ‘that good part’ and here she does a ‘good work’, Mark 14. 6. The first time it was to learn, now to love.
I would surmise, though not adamantly, that this may well be the same occasion as recorded by Matthew and Mark. Whilst they will tell us of her worship upon His head, it is precious that, in the gospel of ‘the Son of God’, she rises no higher than His feet. In this we learn that she had an appreciation of this perfect man, from the crown of His head to the sole of His feet, Matt. 26. 6-13; Mark 14. 3-9.
Is it with a similar wonder and reverence that we approach Him?
Mary’s deep affection for His blessed person caused her to give all that she had. The true cost of her worship is calculated, not by what she gave but by what was left over. Indeed, we discover that ‘she hath done what she could’, Mark 14. 8, and held nothing back. Notice, however, that what she did pour out upon Him was exceedingly choice, among the chief spices, S. of S. 4. 14.
We read of spikenard in the gospel records, that it was ‘very precious’ and ‘very costly’. We’re thankful the scriptures give us both its weight and worth; quantified and qualified. One pound’s weight of unadulterated and undiluted perfume, worth in excess of three hundred pence, a year’s worth of wages. We are reminded of the words of David, who would not offer anything unto the Lord which had not first cost him, 2 Sam. 24. 24.
What a contrast Mary’s valuation was to the mere thirty pieces of silver that Judas exchanged, in betrayal of the Saviour.
To be continued …