( A Commentary on John 12: 1-11)
Daily Reflection – 3/29/2021
Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. There they made him a supper; Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those at table with him. Mary took a pound of costly ointment of pure nard and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the fragrance of the ointment. But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (he who was to betray him), said, “Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” This he said, not that he cared for the poor but because he was a thief, and as he had the money box, he used to take what was put into it. Jesus said, “Let her alone, let her keep it for the day of my burial. The poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me.” When the great crowd of the Jews learned that he was there, they came, not only on account of Jesus but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. So, the chief priests planned to put Lazarus also to death, because on account of him many of the Jews were going away and believing in Jesus. The next day a great crowd who had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. (John 12:1-11)
Gathered around the dinner table, Lazarus’ family seems to know what is coming. They are about to lose their dear friend. They may even know that Lazarus’ new life is at stake. The time is short and the grief is plentiful as they break bread together in Bethany.
In gratitude for her brother’s life, in grief for her friend’s life, in total fear for the future, words fail Mary. So, instead of speaking, she lavishes her Lord with an absurdly abundant gift: perfume that would cost as much as a year’s total wages. To many, it is an act of extravagant giving. For those who measure their lives by accounting terms, there is absolutely no cost benefit analysis in her actions.
But Mary’s action was motivated by one thing, and one thing only, namely, her love for Jesus and her gratitude for God’s mercy. She gets it. She understands the enormity of the love that has been poured out by God.
God, the source of all love gave us Jesus Christ. Jesus is the overflow of love into the world. It’s a divine moment when Jesus comes to earth. It is God beyond God. It is an overflowing of God’s divine love. That is profound in itself. But think of this. Jesus then lived out another love. He gave his body, his very self to and for others.
As humans, we have been confronted with two loves of a magnitude that we almost can’t comprehend. The overflowing of the most complete love, the most profound love which takes place in the flesh of Jesus Christ who then magnifies that love by giving his very self for all.
How do you price that?
Someone once said, “Love expressed is not sufficient; it needs to be heard to have any meaning.” In other words, it is not adequate for you to say you love your wife or your husband or your partner or your children; though that’s a good start. You must get into the mind of the beloved and find out what is most meaningful to him or her in receiving love and then give love in that way. How do you do that for God?
God doesn’t need your most valuable possession, but you need to give it, or at least make it serve a greater purpose. How extravagant is your love? Is it extravagant at all, or do you simply go through the motions? You sing the hymns. You utter the prayers. You listen to the preacher. But then do you love others in the way that Jesus loved–as much as you love yourself? Do you make a place for the outcast, the rejected, the oppressed, the homeless, the victimized and marginalized souls whom Jesus loves? Remember, love expressed is not sufficient. It isn’t good enough to say “I love you” by singing hymns and attending church. As good as those things are, love expressed is not sufficient. It has to be heard to have any meaning. “They’ll know we are Christians by our love.”
Prayer of The Day
“Lord Jesus help me to be more aware of all the good you have worked in my life. Help me to look with the eyes of faith that will bring me to an unshakeable belief in you, a faith like that of those who witnessed your raising of Lazarus.?
The Lord Jesus showed us the extravagance of his love in giving the best he had by pouring out his own blood for our sake and by anointing us with his Holy Spirit. The Apostle Paul says that nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:39). Do you allow the love of Christ to rule in all your thoughts and intentions, and in all your words and deeds?