Now when Jesus was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, 7 a woman came up to him with an alabaster flask of very expensive ointment, and she poured it on his head as he reclined at table. 8 And when the disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying, “Why this waste? 9 For this could have been sold for a large sum and given to the poor.” 10 But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a beautiful thing to me. 11 For you always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me. 12 In pouring this ointment on my body, she has done it to prepare me for burial. 13 Truly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her.”
Where do you see yourself in the story?
Before we can answer the question, "where do we see ourselves in the story," we need to familiarize ourselves with the characters. From the synoptic gospels, we believe this to be Mary, Lazarus's sister, who anoints Jesus, but there are other characters in the story as well. There is Jesus the incarnate Christ, His disciples, which would include Judas, Simon the former leper, Martha, who is Mary's sister, and Lazarus the brother of Mary and Martha, the very same Lazarus whom Jesus had raised from the dead. So, we have the Incarnate Christ, the creator and sustainer of all things, two powerful women, a former leper, a man raised from the dead, and the disciples who don't have a clue as to what is going on.
If this is our story, then where are we in the narrative?
This is a powerful story within the Passion Story, yet we must use caution to not separate it from what is happening in the Passion narrative as a whole. Mary makes a statement of value as she anoints Jesus with all that she treasures in this life. More than her treasure, this is a scandalous act for her even to touch Jesus as they are not married. She risks not only disdain for what the disciples deemed a waste of funds but her reputation as well. How much value do we place on Christ in our lives? Actions denote value! The things that we love are the things that hold value in our lives. Actions matter in moments where we have an opportunity to establish value.
Judas was not the only one in the room disdaining Mary's sacrifice; all of the disciples were indignant toward her. Is it possible that you can attend church, hear Christ's words and see His miracles and still miss His preeminence in your life? This is about what is really important in our lives.
How could you miss who was in the room? They’re in Simon's house, and he is completely healed of leprosy, which was considered incurable. Then there is Lazarus, for which Christ had reversed the finality of death. There are former fishermen, called to be fishers of men, a former tax-collector, a zealot and, Judas, a thief.
Is it possible that Mary is the only that has not lost sight of who was in the room?
Mary has to be overwhelmed by those in attendance, not because of who they are but because of what Christ has done in their lives. She does not ask anyone's permission to anoint Jesus. It's as if she could no longer hold back her worship which would express her overwhelming value of Him. Actions are important, but more than that, they are revealing. In the same room, you have the dichotomy of the human condition, the heart of Mary and the heart of Judas. The totality of all humanity in one room at the exact moment.
The disciples don’t understand, and Judas condemns. What do you do when someone directs discouragement, harmful words, and glares of disdain your way? Do you pick up those words and rub them into your heart, allowing them to become a part of your identity? Maybe you remain focused on who’s in the room, who’s most important in the room? Perhaps you stay focused on the one, the only one that can set a true value on you, and that is Christ. Mary does not respond to her critics because she remains fixed on Jesus, and no devaluing words from the disciples will obscure her view of who’s in the room.
This is your story! What are your eyes fixed on? The opinion of others, or do you value the opinion of your Lord above all other opinions? Today you are valued by the one that has placed the ultimate value on your life. Who's in the room? The Savior and lover of your soul!