Sunday, April 14, 2019

On a Saturday Sabbath in Bethany

From The Gospel of Saint John, Chapter Twelve:
Six days before the Passover, Jesus therefore came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. So they gave a dinner for him there. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those reclining with him at table. Mary therefore took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (he who was about to betray him), said, "Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?" He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief, and having charge of the moneybag he used to help himself to what was put into it. Jesus said, "Leave her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of my burial. 8 For the poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me."
Mary, the sister of Lazarus, was the one who for whatever reason, seemed to be far more spiritually attuned to the Christ as seen from the Gospel narratives.  While her sister Martha was seen as busy preparing for Jesus, Mary was commended for listening and sitting at the feet of the Master.  So, in this scene, we see a devoted, grateful Mary, in a moment of unbridled devotion to her Lord, in taking a very expensive perfume and anointing the feet of the master.  The very feet the next day, that would set off for Jerusalem.  I find a few moments in which to latch onto in these moments.

The Humanity of Jesus.  The "very God of very God" was also very human.  And like us, he enjoyed the company of friends.  I believe that we can reasonably conclude that this family group (Lazarus, Mary, and Martha) were personally known by the master.  He clearly loved them, as witnessed by his reaction to the death of Lazarus.  Now, before the consummation of his mission to Redeem fallen man, he comes to Bethany to rest an enjoy the fellowship of friends.

The Devotion of Mary. The discussions during that visit are known only to time and eternity.  Did the Master share with the siblings, what was to unfold in the coming hours?   We don't know. What we do know, is that Mary took the most treasured object in the home and anointed her friend and Savior.

Those who love, and know Jesus of Nazareth will someday share in that same closeness as did this family in Bethany.  As for me, I long for that moment.

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