You usually cannot go to church, ladies’ bible study or mom’s group for very long without hearing about the story of Mary of Bethany. In this story we see a woman who breaks open her alabaster jar full of oil & pours it over Jesus head. As we unpack this story in all the gospels, we see so much more. Even though the recounts of the story differ a little, it’s safe to say that they are all the same story of the same woman on a mission to prepare a body for death.
Simon, who’s home they were at, had formerly experienced the healing power of Jesus, the forgiveness of sins, the act of being unclean & now cleaned as he was no longer a leper. He had experienced the restoration of his life because of this encounter with the power of Jesus. Simon valued Jesus enough to prepare a meal for him, but he didn’t fully understand the worth or the depth of what Jesus had done for him or what a relationship with him meant, much like Christians today. Yes, I said it!
We are grateful for the healing, thankful for the whole “not burning in hell for all eternity” thing that salvation brings, we lift our hands & get emotional during service, but we are really good at saying “Ok Jesus, thanks for that “all to raw moment”, let me compose myself & I’ll check back with you soon, OK? Love you, Bye!” But the heart posture of Simon, the disciples & others in attendance should bring some level of holy conviction to your heart. You see Jesus didn’t endure the cross so we can invite him in and then discredit his plans in our next thought. See Jesus knew their thoughts, he felt the stab in his heart as they thought that Mary was too unclean to touch him and the perfume was more costly than his presence. Oh, she can’t come to Jesus because she’s too whack, even for him. She’s too far gone, she doesn’t deserve to be here. Do you know what she has done Jesus? Do you know how much money that was? What a waste!
The religion in them even spit up taking care of the poor even though their hearts’ motives were far from that. Simon even thought that he had gotten the wrong guy because Jesus allowed himself to be touched by a known prostitute. But oh how this unclean woman touched the heart of Jesus. Simon experienced the freedom of forgiveness in Jesus but was still caught up in a religious spirit that wouldn’t allow him to see the full expression of love that was reclining at his table, waiting to be known by Simon & the others. They couldn’t perceive the sacrifice of worship that Mary had made or the death that she was partaking in.
Mary was the sister of Martha & Lazarus and she was also a prostitute. Mary knew, much like the woman with the issue of blood, that if she could just get to Jesus that the shame, guilt, condemnation, fear & the weight of the world would fall off. There was something in the fiber of Mary, like the demonized people who threw themselves at the feet of Jesus, that cried out!
Nothing could stop her at this point! No religious spirit, no leader telling her to leave, no disciple scolding her, no accusations, no one’s perception, no threat, no lies of the enemy could have stopped her. The love & the kindness of Jesus drew her to such a place of desperation that it didn’t matter the cost to get there. Propelled by this love, this trust, she gave her all to Jesus.
All of herself, all her dignity, everything she had sold her body for, everything she had saved, everything she had for her future, possibly even her earthly life, every sin, every choice, every area of Mary, she gave to Jesus. Her heart was postured in the full trust, full transparency (just like the alabaster jar was transparent) that Jesus is who he says he is & he can do what he says he can do!
She saw Jesus in such clarity & felt the depth of his forgiveness so much so that she broke into the room of religion, that didn’t see him rightly, didn’t value him enough to wash his feet & anoint his head, even “religiously”. Mary’s heart grabbed a hold of his forgiveness & love & she was moved to action. She broke open everything and anointed Jesus head, as a kingly anointing, & washed his feet with her tears streaming down her face, with her $25 dollar mascara & Morphe eyeshadow everywhere! Boogers, snot, saliva everywhere. Without a Kleenex in sight or under the seat in front of her, she dried Jesus feet with her hair & anointed his body for burial.
She knew the time was now, she couldn’t wait any longer! The old Mary had to die, the new Mary raised to life with Jesus, where she could be found at the feet of Jesus continually! His kindness compelled her to repentance and his love triumphed over the law of religion and her reckless sacrifice so touched the heart of Jesus that she went into all 4 Gospels to set an example for us today. This woman, in total abandonment of herself, burst into a room of religion and put on display one of the most extravagant acts of worship we see in the bible. Why did she do this? Jesus tells us in Luke 7:47:
“She has been forgiven of all her many sins. This is why she has shown me such extravagant love. But those who assume they have very little to be forgiven will love me very little.”
I pray today that the spirit of religion, pride & arrogance is broken off of the church in the mighty name of Jesus, Holy Spirit come & breathe a fresh revelation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Anointed One into our hearts. Holy Spirit remove the scales of religion off our eyes and give us Dove’s eyes that lock eyes with the only one Worthy of our worship & adoration. I pray that as this blog is read, people everywhere rush to the feet of Jesus & pour themselves out on him. That freedom is found in the name of Jesus, lies are broken & replaced with the truth of Jesus, that love conquers over law, kindness draws to repentance & mercy triumphs over justice. Let the worshippers of Jesus partake in his death & be raised to life again & pour out their worship as a sweet-smelling sacrifice before the throne all the days of their lives, in the precious name of Jesus Christ. I love you Jesus, let this blog, and my death be a sweet aroma to you!
Written by Lindsey Garcia