The Costly Perfume

Six days before the Passover ceremonies began, Jesus arrived in Bethany where Lazarus was - the man he had brought back to life. A banquet was prepared in Jesus' honor. Martha served, and Lazarus sat at the table with him. Then Mary took a jar of costly perfume made from essence of nard, and anointed Jesus' feet with it and wiped them with her hair. And the house was filled with fragrance.

But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples - the one who would betray him - said, "That perfume was worth a fortune. It should have been sold and the money given to the poor." Not that he cared for the poor, but he was in charge of the disciples' funds and often dipped into them for his own use!

Jesus replied, "Let her alone. She did it in preparation for my burial. You can always help the poor, but I won't be with you very long." John 12: 1-8 (TLB)


Elizabeth Livingston lives in Maharashtra, India. She writes, Mary made her way to Jesus, poured costly perfume on his feet, and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance. The perfume was worth about a year's salary for a skilled laborer. She expressed the depth of her love and devotion to Jesus with an extravagant gift. Others misunderstood her act, but Jesus accepted it. He honored her gift and told those around him to leave her alone. In Mark's Gospel, Jesus told the others that her sacrifice would be remembered forever (see Mark 14:9).

Mary wasn't bothered by others' opinions or comments. showing her thankfulness for Jesus - who had accepted, loved, and valued her - mattered most. Mary showed us that the best form of worship is the one that most genuinely represents our love for God.

In the same way, we can pour out the praises of our hearts. We surrender our lives fully to Jesus through sacrifice and service. When we pour out our hearts to give fully of ourselves to Jesus, the fragrance of our love and devotion will fill our surroundings.

Prayer: Dear God, help us pour out our hearts to you and offer you our praise, in Jesus' name, amen.


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