Today’s Scripture: John 12:1-11
12 Six days before the Passover celebration began, Jesus arrived in Bethany, the home of Lazarus—the man he had raised from the dead. 2 A dinner was prepared in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, and Lazarus was among those who ate with him. 3 Then Mary took a twelve-ounce jar of expensive perfume made from essence of nard, and she anointed Jesus’ feet with it, wiping his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance.
4 But Judas Iscariot, the disciple who would soon betray him, said, 5 “That perfume was worth a year’s wages. It should have been sold and the money given to the poor.” 6 Not that he cared for the poor—he was a thief, and since he was in charge of the disciples’ money, he often stole some for himself.
7 Jesus replied, “Leave her alone. She did this in preparation for my burial. 8 You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.”
9 When all the people heard of Jesus’ arrival, they flocked to see him and also to see Lazarus, the man Jesus had raised from the dead. 10 Then the leading priests decided to kill Lazarus, too, 11 for it was because of him that many of the people had deserted them and believed in Jesus.
This story of the anointing of Jesus is told in all four Gospels. The details are different, but the core of the story is the same. Something of great value was used to anoint Jesus just before his death. It was an incredible act of worship. And yet, people complained.
As I was preparing to write this devotional, I struggled with whether to focus on the worship or the complaining. To be honest I wanted to blast the complainer – to point out how he totally missed the point as we all do. But I found that putting too much attention on the complaint means I miss the worship. And I think that the worship is the point.
Mary decides here to lay everything out for Jesus. She knows how much the perfume cost. She certainly does not need Judas to remind her! She made an intentional choice to put worship above all other concerns. She held nothing back.
I think we sometimes see worship as a thing to check off our “to-do” list. And even then, only if it’s convenient. On some level it seems unwise to “waste” something expensive (time, energy, and yes, money) on worship. But this is true only if we see worship as a waste of those things. If we take the position of Jesus, we instead see worship as something worthy of our time and our resources. Worship is worth our best. Worship is worth it. Period.
This Sunday we are going to sing a new hymn. It’s called “Christ Our Hope in Life and Death.” I want you to click on the video below and listen to it. In fact, listen to it many times between now and Sunday! Take the time to worship today and everyday. Don’t listen to the complaints – from yourself or others. Worship is worth it.
Here is the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OibIi1rz7mw
God so often we let things get in the way of our worship of you. Help us to make worship a priority and to worship you in spirit and truth. As we listen to this hymn these next few days may the words and music be an offering to you.