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Mary Elizabeth Baxter :: Mary Anointing Jesus—John 12:1-8

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The raising of Lazarus caused an immense stir in the city of Jerusalem. The Lord Himself loved Bethany where Lazarus had been dead, whom He raised from the dead; and six days before the Passover "there they made Him a supper; and Martha served;" the spirit of service was still strong upon her; but Jesus no more rebuked her, for Martha was no longer cumbered with her serving; and Lazarus, the raised one, was "one of them that sat at the table with Him."

Lazarus had become by this time one of the sights of Jerusalem (Jhn 12:9, 12:17), and, of all men living, his very existence was the greatest testimony to the power of Jesus over death.

Jesus was with this little family for the last time, and His disciples were now with Him. While the company were yet at meat, the quiet Mary "took a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly," but not too costly for one who appreciated her Saviour, "and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment."

Mary had understood what none of the disciples had fully taken in-that Jesus must die for our sins. None but Jesus Himself understood her action. He was the Representative of men as the Sin‐Bearer, but Mary stood as the offerer of the offering, and, on the part of humanity, she anointed Him for His burial. The disciples did not understand her. Judas Iscariot, whose heart was after money, and who afterwards betrayed Jesus for thirty pieces of silver, remarked:

"Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor?"

Jesus knew the motive which prompted her; and he knew Judas had taken care, even in such a company, to be the treasurer-that he might help himself when he would.

O how awful that in the immediate company of Jesus, under the sound of His teaching, within sight of all His mighty works, in the atmosphere of heaven that was about Him, this wretched man should carry on his unrighteous deeds! But so it was. Jesus said:


against the day of My burying hath she kept this. For the poor always ye have with you; but Me ye have not always."

What a contrast there is between the spirit of Martha and of Mary. The one makes the house uncomfortable with her bustling self‐importance; the other fills the house with the odour of the ointment! The Mary spirit, which waits to do till she has learnt the will of her Master, is a blessed one in a house. There are some women's lives which have an atmosphere of heaven about them which everybody feels; unobtrusive, quiet, meek, no stir, seeming to do very little; and yet, some way, everything is done-there is nothing remarkable about their houses, yet everyone is at home there; there is nothing special about their conversation, but it helps those who hear it; it is the presence of the Master shining through them. No woman can make herself such as this! it is God only who can conform us to the image of His Son. But every Christian woman can yield herself to Him that the house where she dwells may be filled with the odour of the ointment with which she is anointing Jesus all day long in her actions as her King and her Priest, the One to whom she refers, the One whom she obeys, the One whom she honours.

Most houses have the atmosphere either of Martha or of Mary; some are full of hurry, pressure, bustle, others full of rest and quiet power. The Lord raise up amongst us many a Mary who shall sit at His feet and be "unto God a sweet savour of Christ." (2Cr 2:15.)

The Sisters’ Faith Tried—John 11:1-44 ← Prior Section
Sapphira—Acts 5:1-10 Next Section →

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.


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