“Mary came to Jesus with an alabaster jar of costly perfume, and she poured it on him as he reclined at the table…” Matthew 26:7

Can you see her?

She had wanted to do this all day, ever since Jesus brought her brother back to life. That morning she bought the jar in the market with all the money she had saved up, a year’s paycheck. All day planning out the right time to open the jar and anoint her beloved Friend’s head. Her Savior’s feet.

A room full of men.

I just want him to know I love him.

But I’m not supposed to be heard or to stop and hang out with them. I don’t really belong.

But it’s Jesus, maybe he will understand.

Nervous, she took a deep breath and entered the room. She was met by laughter, the smell of roasted lamb, and the conversations of the disciples reclining with Jesus in candlelight. No one looked up. She was just a servant girl.

Jesus looked up.

Maybe this was a bad idea.

Somehow she couldn’t turn around. His eyes twinkled; he smiled at her.

She walked up to Jesus and knelt beside him. The men noticed and their conversation quieted down.

She broke the seal of the vase.

Whispers. Questions—

“What does she think she’s doing?”

“Isn’t that stuff worth a lot of money?”

Mary tipped the jar and took his head in her free hand. Jesus closed his eyes, not grimacing but receiving. Not until the perfume soaked his hair, and when she held his calloused feet in her hands and poured some on them, did the aroma of the gift hit their noses—vulnerability strong, warm, heavy, and sweet.

She forgot a towel. Panic rose in her throat. But she couldn’t leave now. Trembling, she unwrapped her head covering, letting her hair fall free, and began to dry his face then feet with it.

The disciples turned to each other mocking and condemning—

“What a waste of a gift.”

“She could have grown our ministry with that gift or helped the poor with that money.”

“I can’t believe she just did that to Jesus, how humiliating.”

Listening, tears welled up in her eyes; she got up to leave.

 They’re right, that was stupid, what was I thinking? Maybe my heart was in the wrong place. Maybe it doesn’t even belong, and all that my gift should be is profit for others.

She looked at Jesus before turning, expecting a look of pity, disappointment. He probably thought it was a nice gesture but not the right one, a little immature.

But his eyes, they were also filled with tears—tears of awe and honor.

“Wait,” he told her.

“All of you stop and leave Mary alone!”

Everyone grew silent.

“Do you not see the beauty, the humility, the sacrifice and risk in this gesture? Can you not see she loves me? She was not foolish. This woman has given me the greatest gift, and she is to be honored, a woman who will be remembered in history for her love toward me.

“Do you not see? Her heart and love give me strength for what is coming. I came into this world because I knew there were hearts like hers who longed to love me and be loved by me. She is the reason I came; she gives my death purpose!

“Yes, I came to bring life to the masses that follow us, but I came for her. I came to give life to each one of you, personally. Can you not see that she took a risk to proclaim that she chooses me, isn’t this what I’ve been teaching you, the Gospel you have been preaching?

“Even I came in vulnerability, taking a risk that you would choose me. I give you all of me for the chance that I would feel and know your love in return, and here is Mary, quietly showing that she understands, she gets it.”

Jesus could have simply thanked her, but he defended and praised her. He always matched vulnerability and humility with his own.

The aroma of the perfume and the truth of Jesus’ words filled the house, sinking into the pores of their souls.

He looked at Mary, overwhelmed with gratitude. Mary’s vision blurred from the tears that now flowed freely down her face.

He loves me.

For the rest of the week, Mary smelled like Jesus, and Jesus smelled like Mary. The sweet fragrance and their eyes locked in each other’s memories, forever affected by that night.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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