From Disappointment to Worship
John 12:1–11 (NIV): 12 Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. 2 Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. 3 Then Mary took about a pint of 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.
4 But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, 5 “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.” 6 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.
7 “Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. “It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. 8 You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.”
9 Meanwhile a large crowd of Jews found out that Jesus was there and came, not only because of him but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. 10 So the chief priests made plans to kill Lazarus as well, 11 for on account of him many of the Jews were going over to Jesus and believing in him.
This is the second time Jesus has had a similar anointing. Luke 7 has Jesus at the house of Simon the Leper, also known as Simon the Pharisee, a person Jesus had healed. Simon showed poor hospitality and when a “sinful” women used her tears to wash Jesus’ feet, Jesus had to correct Simon of his poor attitude towards this woman.
In our story today, a couple of years has passed and now we are winding down the ministry of Jesus. Jesus is back in Bethany and had brought Lazarus back to life and now Lazarus, Mary, and Martha are throwing Jesus a party. Lazarus is reclining with Jesus, Martha is again working the kitchen, and Mary again is at the feet of Jesus. But what Mary does is cultural taboo.
Mary let’s down her hair and uses it to wipe Jesus’ feet. Why was this so significant?