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Spiritual Reading

Why Did Mary Put Perfumed Oil on Jesus’ Feet and Wipe Them with Her Hair (John 12:1-11)?

John the Baptist said he was not worthy to untie the strap of Jesus’ sandals (Luke 3:16). Mary felt the same way when she poured the expensive perfume on Jesus’ feet and wiped them with her hair.

“Mary wanted to be a blessing by getting her hair dirty,” says James, 7.

Using her hair to wipe Jesus’ feet was more humiliating in the Jewish society in which Mary lived. It was considered improper for a woman to let her hair down in public. Mary laid her woman’s honor at the feet of Jesus. She used her hair as a towel to wipe Jesus’ feet. These were the same feet that carried Jesus to the tomb of her brother, Lazarus, where Jesus brought him back to life.

“Mary loved Jesus so much that she wanted the honor of washing his feet,” says Vanessa, 8.

“Honor of washing his feet?” Yes!

Most people associate lowly jobs with a lowly status in life. In God’s kingdom, any job can be turned into a kingly job. The Christian view toward work should be one of service to God. There is no job too low when you do it as unto the Lord.

”And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men,” (Colossians 3:23).

Christians are a people with a heavenly citizenship passing through Earth as sojourners toward their heavenly home. They should leave a heavenly fragrance wherever they go. In that way, they are a “peculiar people,” (I Peter 2:9 KJV).

Wise, old King Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes 3 that there is a time for everything. With Jesus in her house, Mary knew that this was the time to be lavish. The perfume Mary used to anoint Jesus’ feet cost a year’s wages.

“Mary perfumed Jesus’ feet because that was all she had,” says Hannah, 9.

Remember the story Jesus told of the poor widow who gave two mites to the temple (Mark 12:41-44)? Although a copper mite was less than a penny, it was all the widow had. Because of this, Jesus said she had given more than anyone.

God is the ultimate giver! He gave us his Son to die for our sins. We cannot give God anything to receive his gift of eternal life. God’s love is one-way. It in no way depends on our worthiness to receive it. The entire point of God’s gift is that no one is worthy of it. All we can do is receive eternal life by believing in Jesus Christ as our savior.

Have you ever noticed that love produces love? We usually love the people who love us. When Christians meditate upon God’s unconditional love, they cannot help but love God, which overflows to people around them. They want to give, not to earn God’s love, but because they have received God’s love.

Think about this: God’s love for all is so extravagant that he sent his son to die on the cross to pay everyone’s way to heaven. Some people think that serving Jesus is preaching to thousands of people in packed churches or stadiums. Actually, serving Jesus usually means doing small things behind the scenes where no one but Jesus sees them.

Memorize this truth: ”But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us,” (Romans 5:8).

Ask this question: Is God calling you to some extravagant act that will glorify him and make people wonder what caused such generosity?

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