Listen to Sitting at the feet of Jesus: Mary of Bethany
Bold, courageous, and obedient to follow God’s prompting to anoint Christ before burial, a woman anointed the Messiah. God had chosen her, planned this purposefully and used it to glorify His Son. A woman’s heart, full of love and adoration for her Savior, anointed Jesus on her hands and knees, face to the floor and washed His feet with her hair. How long did she smell like Him? Would Jesus remember the sweet fragrance while in agony, prayerfully seeking God in the Garden of Gethsemane? If once again the nard poured forth, would the smell remind Mary of her dedication, her love for Christ? Can you picture this amazing, once in a lifetime, sacrificial scene?
As her hands clasped the beautiful alabaster jar, Mary closed her eyes for a brief moment and could feel His presence from the next room. The love for Him burned in her heart as she carried the perfume to her Lord. The hum of voices stopped as she stood near Jesus. Mary broke the jar, the nard dripping and pouring forth, her eyes locking with His as it trickled down His hair, His face, and His beard. The moment was so pure, so beautiful; it was as if time had stopped for her. Mary could smell the expensive perfume when the bottle cracked and could feel the hard, dirt floor as she knelt down before her King. A sweet aroma permeated the house, as it does to God, when a pure, sacrificial offering is made. Mary did not hear the disciples rebuke, she did not hear the whisperings of the crowd, nor did she see the astonished looks of some. As her own hair dripped with nard, never again would she be able to smell the perfume and not think of Him; the memory of anointing Yeshua would be with Mary forever.
John 12:3-8 inscribes, “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. But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray Him, objected, ‘Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.’ 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.
‘Leave her alone, Jesus replied. It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.’”
Mary ignored everyone around her and whatever the men had to say or murmur. She would be obedient, tears and perfume heavily pervading the house. Her lips and hair brushing His face as she wept with her heart full of love and joy, completely oblivious of how this simple, but spiritually overwhelming task would be penned and written for every Christian woman to read and pray for eternity. It was the promise of Christ,
“I tell you the truth, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”
This expensive perfume was probably held for her wedding day. Like a hope chest, Mary had treasured gifts waiting for the special one God had for her. This perfume, held by a woman with a pure heart, pure motive and obedience toward God, was intended for the wedding ceremony for all mankind. We are the bride of Christ and the church a representation of a beautiful wedding ceremony. We are to come to Him with open arms, a heart ready to spend a life time together, walking, loving and cherishing one another. God appointed this special task, the first union of a woman coming to her bridegroom for Mary. How beautiful, how precious God is to bequeath a woman the honor for His Son.
I do not know how God prompted Mary to anoint Jesus, but I do know she was sensitive to the Spirit for she had sat at the foot of Christ long enough to know and heed the voice of God. I encourage you to sit quietly at His feet. When you pray, go into a place where it is quiet, no distraction or electronics. Remember, prayer is communication with God. Do not make it complicated or repeat repetitious prayers, but pray from your heart. To break the alabaster jar means to give an offering to the Lord; to give your deepest strongholds, deepest desires, and your inner person that no one else sees, but God.
Do not waste another minute carrying around the burden, for you were born for such a time and season as this. You were born, chosen to be a living, breathing epistle for Christ. Have you given Jesus every part of your life? Whatever area may be holding you back, whether you’re ashamed, guilt ridden, addicted to substance or pornography, angry, jealous, or unforgiving to those around you? Break that stronghold, break that barrier, and anoint your King with your heart, your tears and your prayers.
As you develop a deeper prayer life, a deeper understanding of Christ and the power of His resurrection, sitting at His feet, soaking in His Word, those around you may not understand or as Mary, will rebuke you harshly. Woman, you may have a few who encourage you, but many will admonish you. Pray for the strength to follow the Holy Spirit, ignore those who do not understand, forgive those who mock your decisions, and love those who God gives to you for prayer, counsel, and guidance. Do not miss the opportunity the Lord has for you at a specific moment or time. As Mary was flagrantly in love with her Savior in the midst of men, we are to be unashamed of the Gospel. We are to follow Christ unashamed before men so our Father will not be ashamed of us as we stand before him to give an account for our lives.
It was a woman, full of love who anointed The Messiah. God used a beautiful, adoring daughter of His to pour a fragrant offering over His Son before His suffering. What are you doing in which God has chosen you for a special, specific task to anoint Jesus? Are you breaking the alabaster jar, anointing Christ on bended knee in prayer and petition, lifting His name on high and glorifying Yeshua? What will you be remembered for? Seek Jesus’ presence, sit at His feet, and immerse yourself in everything He tells you.
Pray the Prayer for Closeness with Christ on our Prayer for Every Circumstance Page. You can find the full teaching under our Resource Page, One a Day; 30 Days of Prayer with the Women of the Bible, Book 1