Holy Wednesday is the fourth day of Holy Week. On this day, church history remembers two very different responses to Jesus.
- The disciple Judas is remembered as the betrayer of the Lord.
His loss of perspective, love of money, and ultimate suicidal path are iconic of those whose “treasures” are misguided. His lack of ability to “rightly value” his Lord precipitates the psychological disease that marks a life distant from God.
- Mary, however, is quite a different story.
John 12 tells us that it is she who pours a “pint of pure nard” – a very expensive perfume – on Jesus’ feet. Costing the equivalent of a year’s wages (according to Judas), the perfume runs everywhere. She begins to wipe Jesus’ feet with her long hair. As the fragrance of worship fills the room, Judas is disgusted, while Jesus notes that her lavish act of worship is alluding to his anointing for burial (v7). Mary, the one content to sit at the feet of Jesus, has chosen to make her worship lavish.
“And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.” John 12:4b
make worship lavish
CHOOSE YOUR BEST
to give Jesus as your worship
Are you going “over the top” with your worship, or are you withholding?
In John 12:1-3, Jesus is at a dinner party, thrown in his honor, with his disciples at his side. According to the Gospel of John, Lazarus, who has been raised from the dead, is at the meal provided by his sisters, Mary and Martha. “Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honour. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.”
In this graphic image of worship, a woman who has received more from God than she could ever give in return, has “lost her mind” in worship. Here, we see no restraint, no mitigating or piecemealing of resources. She has grabbed a jar of a very expensive perfume and has only one mission – to say thanks for all that Christ has done.
In Mary’s case, the raising of her brother from the dead might seem a fitting reason for her to pull out the stops and go over the top with the pouring out of the perfume. But wiping his feet with her hair? Her most beautiful trait as a woman is turned into a mop, a wiping cloth, to evidence to Jesus that nothing – absolutely nothing – is worth more to her than him.
- What do you have in your life that would be “over the top” if spent on an act of worship that was beyond belief?
- Even if it made you look foolish, what kind of gift goes beyond what’s easy to offer, and takes great faith to offer?
To withhold worship breeds cynicism, doubt, and lack of faith. To give it, lavishly and liberally, sets us free to truly believe and to take God at His Word.
for Holy Wednesday
Lord, I want to be known by you, not as one who withholds worship, but rather as one who freely gives you my very best response of thanks. Take me to that place of intimacy with you.
for Your Easter Reflection
- Is there a moment of worship in your past where you can honestly say that you gave God everything you had to offer without holding anything back?