Seated among his dearest friends, Jesus displays his vulnerability and receives the grace of love poured out upon him by Mary. In a hushed and poignant act of intimacy, Jesus risks living openly and vulnerably with both those who are trustworthy and those who are not. Love is costly, both to give and to receive. The extravagance of this gift is noted in the text but what of the smell itself? The whole home was filled with the fragrance of nard which in a Hebrew home would have been associated with the temple and death. Jesus, what does this poured out love on you look like and smell like in our own homes?
John 12:1-11 (NLT)
Six days before the Passover celebration began, Jesus arrived in Bethany, the home of Lazarus—the man he had raised from the dead. 2 A dinner was prepared in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, and Lazarus was among those who ate with him. 3 Then Mary took a twelve-ounce jar of expensive perfume made from essence of nard, and she anointed Jesus’ feet with it, wiping his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance.
4 But Judas Iscariot, the disciple who would soon betray him, said, 5 “That perfume was worth a year’s wages. It should have been sold and the money given to the poor.” 6 Not that he cared for the poor—he was a thief, and since he was in charge of the disciples’ money, he often stole some for himself.
7 Jesus replied, “Leave her alone. She did this in preparation for my burial. 8 You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.”
9 When all the people heard of Jesus’ arrival, they flocked to see him and also to see Lazarus, the man Jesus had raised from the dead. 10 Then the leading priests decided to kill Lazarus, too, 11 for it was because of him that many of the people had deserted them and believed in Jesus.
For Reflection and Prayer:
If something captured your attention - a word, a phrase, an image - let this simmer in you and allow the Spirit to expand its meaning for you. Journal what you hear and your response.
This passage lends itself well to immersing yourself in the story. It is filled with sights, sounds, smells and tastes. Notice what captures your attention and stay with it for a while. Savor your interaction with Jesus and rest in any consolation he brings.
The intimacy of this family reunion is palpable. What longings rise up in you as you observe this family with Jesus? Write about them in your journal.