Mary was the sister of "Lazarus ... whom Jesus raised from the dead" (John 12:1; John 11:2). The anointing of Jesus came after the raising of Lazarus.
The Lord Jesus had raised Mary's brother from the dead. Only Jesus could have done this for her. Only Jesus had done this for her. in view of this remarkable act of divine power and love, Mary now had a sense of inestimable debt. She felt that she owed her all to Jesus.
* She had been in the darkness of sorrow, and Jesus brought her the light of life.
* She had been in the pit of deep despair, and Jesus brought her into new hope.
* She had been in the depths of grief, and Jesus brought her unspeakable joy.
To the man who does not understand the grace of God (Judas Iscariot), her action seems very strange. To the Man who embodies the grace of God (Jesus), her action is seen as a deeply spiritual response to the grace of God.
If there's one word that describes Mary's act, it is this word - love.
* The motive of Mary's action was love.
* The manner of Mary's action was love.
* The lesson from Mary's action is love.
(1) The Motive
In this unusual action, Mary gave a gift. Like any other gift, this gift came from someone and was given to someone. Mary's action was done from the heart, and it was done to Christ and for Christ.
This is the two-sided beauty of Mary's action - it was done from the heart, and it was done for Christ.
(2) The Manner
Here, we notice the costliness of Mary's gift and the un-selfconscious nature of her giving. Mary's gift was given at great expense to herself. In the giving of this gift, Mary pointed away from herself to Christ. Mary's action didn't say, "Look at Mary. Look at how spiritual I am." Her action said, "Look at Christ. He is worthy of all your worship. Let Him be the centre of attention."
(3) The Lesson
(a) Giving from the heart and doing from the heart is the kind of giving and doing that the Lord seeks - e.g. visit the sick, visit the poor and needy. Think how much more would be done for the Lord, if we did what He puts into our hearts to do for Him. When you find, in your heart, a desire to do something for Christ, don't let your mind talk you out of it. Don't let a 'Judas Iscariot' dampen your heartfelt zeal (John 12:5).
(b) Give to Christ, and live for Him. the centrality of Christ in the Christian life - this is something that we can never emphasize too strongly. A great deal of what is done in the name of religion turns out to be useless, because it is not done for Christ. Don't try to do holy work while you're thinking, "What am I going to get out of this?" This is what Judas Iscariot was thinking (John 12:6) - and look at the mess he made of his life! Make this your one aim - to glorify Christ.
(c) As you give yourself to Christ, give Him your best, give Him yourself, give Him your heart. There is such a difference between our best and our second-best. We give our best to Jesus when we believe that He is the best, that He is worthy of nothing less than our best. We give our second-best to Jesus when we believe that He is the second-best - coming a poor second to our real No. 1 (ourselves). Give your heart to Jesus. If you don't give your heart to Him, what you give to Him will never be anything more than your second-best. We give our best to Jesus when we believe that He is the best - that He is worthy of nothing less than the best. we give our second-best to Jesus when we believe that He is the second-best - a poor second to our real No.1 (ourselves)."To be the best that I can be for truth and righteousness and Thee" - may this be the great goal of our life. Judas Iscariot gave his second-best to Jesus. He associated himself with Jesus and His disciples - but he remained master of his own life. Judas did what Judas wanted - not what Jesus wanted. How true this is of so many today. We are Church people, but are we Christ's people?
* Let us love like Mary loved
- with a love that comes from the heart;
- with a love that is love for Jesus;
- with a love that thinks of privilege rather than cost;
- with a love that finds its pleasure in giving and doing;
- with a love that points away from ourselves to Christ;
- with a love that gives our best - not our second-best;
- with a love that gives ourselves to Christ.
Amazing love! Where do we find such love? - At Calvary. it is the love of Christ. What will our response be?
"Were the whole realm of nature mine, that were an offering far too small. Love, so amazing, so divine, demands (shall have) my soul, my life, my all" (Charles Wesley).