The Outpouring

The Outpouring

Mary held the bottle with trembling hands. She’d planned this for weeks. Martha saw her, smiled, and nodded. Deep voices bantered over sweet figs and salty cheese. Mary slipped into the room and knelt behind Jesus. The men reclining at the table gave her little more than a nod.

Until she broke the flask.

The fragrance of the nard overpowered everything in the room. The roasted lamb. The lamp oil. The body odor. The silence threatened to suffocate Mary as every eye bore down on her.

Jesus never flinched as a thin stream of perfume kissed his head, slid down his dark curls, and dampened his tunic. She moved to his feet. Flies buzzed around the figs but no one stirred. She drizzled his feet with the ointment and wiped them, not with a towel, but with her hair.

The first rebuke hit her like a slap in the face. Others followed, a verbal stoning. Her eyes scanned the room and caught Martha’s shocked face, Lazarus’ flashing eyes. These were their friends. Judas. James. Thaddeus. Guests in their home. Anger and shame battled within Mary. Their words rattled her.

A waste?

She looked at Jesus as tears threatened to join the nard.

Never!

 

The passage of Mary’s anointing of Jesus scares me. Scares me because Jesus’ twelve disciples as well as other followers condemn a dear friend’s extravagant act of worship. Honor, approval, and reverence for the gift given to the Master, I could understand. Perhaps even a spontaneous time of worship.

Instead, I see harshness and judgment.

From the insiders.

The intimates.

Over worship.

Over placing God ahead of need.

Over giving thanks instead of charity.

It scares me because I’ve been harsh and judgmental too.

They called it a waste.

Somehow they missed that God is into outpouring.

  • Jesus’ Blood: “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” (Matthew 26:28 NIV)
  • Holy Spirit: “Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear.” (Acts 2:33)
  • God’s Love: “And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” (Romans 5:5)
  • Grace: “The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.” (1 Timothy 1:14)

A waste? Never!

As Passion Week progressed, the aroma of Mary’s perfume lingered. Its fragrance drifted through the Temple court as Jesus overturned the tables. It mingled with the roasted lamb during Passover. It blended with His blood in Gethsemane and scented the thorny crown on the cross. A hint of it rose from the cloth folded neatly in the tomb. And those same disciples, minus Judas, smelled just a touch in the upper room when the resurrected Jesus appeared.

We serve an extravagant God. A God of outpouring.

Does He not deserve such outpouring from us?

A waste? Never!

Workout for the Week: The Outpouring

Memory Verse: Choose one of the verses above.

Meditation Passage: Matthew 26:6-13; Mark 14:3-9; John 12: 1-7

Just Do It: Pour out for someone this week.