by: Cindy Ford
The Hour Has Come
Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. 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.”
“The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.
— John 12:1-8, 23-26
When Mary breaks open the jar of expensive perfume and anoints Jesus, Judas objects, saying the perfume could have been sold and the money given to the poor. “Leave her alone, Jesus tells Judas. “It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial.”
Another Passover is only five days away. It will be Jesus’ final Passover — the Last Supper, during which he will share his body and blood in communion.
Jesus probably still reeked of the perfume the next day as he rode a donkey into Jerusalem. The fragrance clung to Jesus four days later, as his final Passover meal became the first Communion. It clung to Jesus the day after that, when he went to the cross, and to the grave, fulfilling his prophetic declaration that Mary’s gift of perfume was intended for his burial.
Jesus becomes the unblemished, sacrificial lamb of Passover, whose blood spares us from death just as the lamb's blood spared the Israelites (Exodus 12:5). Mary’s gift is extraordinary. She gives Jesus the best that she has to offer.
How often do I give my very best to Jesus? How do my gifts and offerings measure up to Mary’s standard?
Thank you for the grace of your never-ending mercy, the gift of the precious, sacrificial blood of Jesus, which blots out the blemish of sin. Let my life and my prayer be as fragrant and pleasing to you as a precious perfume or a burnt offering whose aroma pleases you. Let us worship you without restraint, and without regard for what worship will cost us.
In Jesus name we pray, Amen.