Dear friend in Christ.
As we journey with our Lord towards the cross, it is good to remember that which Apostle Peter wrote at the end of his last epistle: 2 Peter 3:18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever.
It certainly is our desire to grow in grace and in the knowledge of Him as we read, listen to, pray over, meditate and have fellowship with others upon the work of God for our salvation through Jesus the Christ. As we look into the life of Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus, we are given insight into her life and of how she through hearing Jesus and watching Him do His ministry came to understand that in order to become the Giver of Life, He had to experience His death.
She sat at His feet hearing HIm speak,(Luke 10:38-42) she struggled with His lack of action in preventing their brother Lazarus from dying, not yet understanding that He had a greater purpose in mind through the death of Lazarus. She wept bitterly at her brother's tomb, saw Jesus weeping at the death of Lazarus and then after four days heard Jesus speak the words of life to Lazarus: "Lazarus, come out!" (John 11:1-46)
KJV John 12:1-8
What joy must have reigned in the house where the dinner was prepared in honor of Jesus, where Lazarus, who had been dead, now sat alive and well amongst the guests. They must have been pinching themselves as they remembered how shortly before the stench of death had been around the tomb of their dear brother Lazarus, but now the aroma of life filled the room as they sat together for table food and fellowship. Out of worship, honor and praise to Jesus, Mary then took a very expensive ointment, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair, and the house was filled with the aroma of the ointment.
Some of those sitting at the table wondered for what purpose she did that, for it was a whole year's wages of ointment that she had poured upon the One she loved and worshipped. Not only Judas was opposed to such waste, but in the accounts of Matthew (26:6-13) and of Mark (14-3-9) even the disciples did not understand what she was doing. But Jesus in all three accounts clearly explains why Mary did what she did for Him.
John 12:7 Then said Jesus, Let her alone: against the day of my burying hath she kept this.
Did Mary understand the significance of her act beyond her worship of Jesus? Did she at this point understand that He would die even as Lazarus had died, and would rise again and through His death and resurrection, He would bring life to the world? Not just physical life, but eternal and forever life! We don’t know for sure, but we do know that her act of kindness born out of love would be remembered and spoken of in the coming ages wherever the Gospel is preached, as Jesus said it would be.
KJV Matthew 26:13 Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, there shall also this, that this woman hath done, be told for a memorial of her.
It will be remembered because that which has been done for the world is done out of the great kindness of our Father’s heart, for where can there be found any greater message of love and kindness than this message: Jesus Christ has taken your sin upon Himself, your sin debt has been paid in full by Him, so believe in that what God has done for you in Christ Jesus! Believe all your sin(s) forgiven!
One more thought on this text comes from a memory of a number of years ago, and it has left a lasting impression upon me. We heard in our text of how when the ointment was upon the feet of Jesus, the room was filled with the fragrance of the ointment. That is not hard to imagine in a physical sense, but let us consider the spiritual implications of the filling of the room with the aroma of the ointment. And I will do it by remembering an occurrence of the past.
A young man and his family were visiting, and as they got up to leave he made a comment that went something like this: “How good it is when we have visited and had fellowship in the Lord with one another, that after we leave the aroma of Christ in the minds and hearts of those who have been together . How good it is that Christ and His forgiving kindness towards us is left in our minds and hearts, and that as a result love for God and others smolders in our minds and in our hearts.
May we grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever.
Pastor Orval Wirkkala