1 It was now two days before Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread. The leading priests and the teachers of religious law were still looking for an opportunity to capture Jesus secretly and kill him. 2 “But not during the Passover celebration,” they agreed, “or the people may riot.”
3 Meanwhile, Jesus was in Bethany at the home of Simon, a man who had previously had leprosy. While he was eating, a woman came in with a beautiful alabaster jar of expensive perfume made from essence of nard. She broke open the jar and poured the perfume over his head.
4 Some of those at the table were indignant. “Why waste such expensive perfume?” they asked. 5 “It could have been sold for a year’s wages and the money given to the poor!” So they scolded her harshly.
6 But Jesus replied, “Leave her alone. Why criticize her for doing such a good thing to me? 7 You will always have the poor among you, and you can help them whenever you want to. But you will not always have me. 8 She has done what she could and has anointed my body for burial ahead of time. 9 I tell you the truth, wherever the Good News is preached throughout the world, this woman’s deed will be remembered and discussed.”
What an interesting dichotomous way people were treating the Messiah. While one group was plotting to Kill him, others were learning from him and one among them was pouring out her soul in loving sacrifice to bless and anoint him. How odd that some (men of course) among the group would be so callous to criticize her decision to make this great sacrifice to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Of course the scripture writer in other Gospels adds the explanation that the critic really just wanted the money for himself since it was known he always helped himself to the funds in their operations bag. How silly their complaint sounds in light of the millenia during which-- as Jesus predicted and willed-- her story has been repeated to her credit. When humankind tries to discredit, God can, nevertheless bring you glory for your obedience to Him.
Jesus even pointed out his awareness of what the first group was doing at that very moment-- plotting to kill him when he said that what Mary had done was 'for my burial. And the Lord was correct on both accounts-- it was for His burial and here we are, two thousand years later still discussion Mary's great deed of worship. She had no need to correct or retaliate toward her condemner since God defended her.
How like Mary we could be these days-- withholding our negative or defensive responses when we are attacked, injured, or criticized. Instead, we can simply continue to pour out our hearts in obedience to our Lord, loving even our detractors with His love. Unfortunately, among the members of the body of Jesus Christ, there are far too many who are more like the critic in this passage than like Mary. What if we simply laid aside all our reasons for criticizing another brother or sister in Christ-- regardless of what they have or have not done. What if we just asked God for His love to love them with? And what if, as He gave us that love, we exercised it in measurable, and observable ways? What if?
Your Servant in Christ