I have taught the Gospel of John in Young Adult class at my church for the past several weeks. Yesterday we began chapter 12 which is a sort of hinge between the first part of the book which focuses on the sign miracles of Christ and the rest of the book which focuses on the glorification of Christ. These last chapters also focus on the last week of Jesus’ life on earth.
This chapter begins with a story that I think brings into focus the theme of extravagant worship. As the story begins, Jesus and the disciples are in Bethany on the Saturday night before the crucifixion and they are at the home of Lazarus, Mary and Martha. They are having a dinner, supper where I come from, and Martha as usual is cooking a feast. Martha reminds me of my Mom because every Sunday, mom prepares lunch for all of us and I mean cooks a feast. This is a lot of work for her, but it is the highlight of her week.
While they are reclined at the table, which is an interesting way to eat, Mary goes and gets a bottle of very expensive perfume. We are told in the passage that this perfume was worth around 300 denarii, which was about a years wages. Mary takes this perfume, and poured it on Jesus’ feet and begins to wipe His feet with her hair! We are told that the smell of the perfume filled the entire house. That sort of reminds me of the perfume counter at any major department store. When you walk anywhere close to that counter, your nose is filled with all the fragrances that have been tested that particular day.
Mary also unbound her hair and used it to wipe Jesus’ feet! This was something that Jewish women did not do in public. One other note, attending to the feet was the work of servants. I have two observations about this story and how it relates to our worship of Christ.
First of all mary gave the very best she had to christ. The cost didn’t matter to her only her worship of the Savior. Second, Mary was willing to humble herself publicly to worship Christ.
I’m not saying that we need to go out and buy something expensive to give to Christ to worship extravagantly. What I am saying is that we need to worship extravagantly by give God the very best we have regardless of the cost and regardless of how much we must humble ourselves. We are missing at times the true extravagance of worship. We are missing blessings as a result.